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In fact, many businesses without websites are listed in Google for local search terms. But how?
The listing is linked to their Google profile page even when no website exists.
When you fill out your business’s Google local (and other pages) completely and thoroughly, you’ll have the advantage over those businesses with incomplete profiles. Trust me, every little advantage helps fuel your search engine marketing campaign!
How to Fully Complete Your Local Search Profile for Best Results
Now that you realize your company qualifies for a local search profile in many directories, and you understand the value of making it as complete as possible… it’s time to get to submitting!
Well, not so fast.
It’s critically important to enter all of your company information (even down to using “St.” or “Street,” etc.) in exactly the same way in all local directories to avoid screwing up your search ranking potential.
This is so important that it deserves its own article. With so many factors going into ranking, it pays to ensure that we hit every target. Your business name (very, very important), category, customer ratings/reviews, photos, videos, etc., should all be chosen precisely to craft a high-response local search profile for your company. Check GetListed.org’s brief but informative plain-English primer for help with that here.
Consistency is Critical with Local SEO. Here’s Everything You Need…
Thankfully, I didn’t have to spend hours going through the directories to compile all the info needed (and neither do you ;). Here instead is a very useful list, all in one place, sampled from this article:
- Business Name
- Phone number
- Hours of operation
- Email address
- Website URL
- Contact Person — name, phone number, email
- Photos – logo, of your office, products/services that you offer
- Number of employees
- Age of company
- Fax number (if applicable)
- Payment methods accepted
- Business description (160 characters in length)
To their list, let’s also add:
- Annual Revenue
- Green Initiatives
- Social Media Accounts
- Media Links (pictures, videos, podcasts, PDFs)
- Company “About” Information (usually a longer description than allowable in a “Description” field)
Fortunately, not all directories require this much info, but it’s nice to have it on hand when you get started so no one has to go digging.
How to Choose the Directories to Submit to for Maximum Website Traffic
Step 1. Start with the major national directories and engines that offer local segmentation.
For instance, Bing.com is one primary search engine; Bing.com/local is the geo-targeted subdirectory of their main engine where you’d build your local search profile. Cool, right?
So here are the top local directories to submit your website to, in alphabetical order.
**Tip: Citysearch has an annoying, hidden submission process these days, so this article by Matt McGee shows you exactly how to add or claim a listing.
After you’re done with that list of 20, you can also submit to the additional 10 sites listed at 30 Local SEO Citation Sources to cover all your bases.
Step 2. Seek out the highest-traffic directories for your region and your industry.
For instance, if you’re a beauty consultant in Raleigh, NC, you’d search for both Raleigh business directories and beauty consultant directories. Then, you’d add your business to the top directories from each search.
Importantly, please note that “top” doesn’t always mean the first results that come up during your search. For my clients at Excellent Presence, to cover all bases, we do select “first results” as well as the top-ranking directories in which your competitors are listed.
Hint: How do you decide which directories are “top-ranking” if not those that appear at the “top” of search results for a certain term?
Easy. Check the directory’s traffic rank (with Alexa), as well as its PageRank; then, order your directory list from most to least popular.
We’re getting there!
What to Do When Directories Don’t Disclose Where or How to Add a Listing
Yes, this actually happens. And yes, it will be annoying.
In many cases, it’s easy to simply overlook the submission page, as some directory interfaces simply have way too much going on. So, first, try scrolling to the very top or very bottom of any directory page and look for a link stating “Add Your Business,” “Add a Listing,” or, yes, even “Advertise with Us.”
Despite the wording, the vast majority of these sites are completely free for at least a very basic listing — even those submission forms you’ll from the “advertising” page. In those cases, you’ll usually just end up going most of the way through the listing process before you understand the “limitations” of your free-level listing. (For instance, as with all things AT&T, I find their listing process to be overly convoluted and a pain in the @#%$. But just near the end of the process, you’ll find that their stripped-down basic listings are free.)
Hint: Don’t worry about the “privileges” stripped from certain directory listings. When it all comes down to it, sometimes the “ranking weight” Google gives for the directory link matters more than the paltry amount of website traffic you’d directly receive from it.
While you shouldn’t expect an onslaught of website traffic from listings in local and industry directories, the website traffic you do receive will be more qualified, your website will gain more local credibility in the major engines (i.e., Google), and you gain locally relevant backlinks, all of which help with rankings for your overall search engine marketing campaign.
While your competitors are spending all their time on “the usual” means of online promotion (like submitting articles, press releases, and doing general/global search engine marketing within Google, Bing, and Yahoo), *you* can gain an edge by considering your business local — because it is — and beginning your local SEO campaign right away.
Pursuing less competitive local search avenues will give your Web marketing campaign a solid foundation, firm overall search footing — and “starter” website traffic. Score. ;}