It’s no secret that many of today’s small businesses struggle to be noticed among the online retailers and big box stores. That’s why local directories can be so valuable to small businesses. Along with address and contact info, directories feature reviews, ratings and even photos to tantalize potential clients and customers.
As an added bonus, listing your small business on these sites can have a positive effect on your place in search engine results. The end result is that customers have an easier time purchasing your products and services online.
While local directories are undeniably important, small business owners often struggle when assessing which sites are worth their time. Here are nine directories that can get you the results you want.
1. Google My Business
Google My Business is the local directory of the world’s most popular search engine. Not only does listing your small business here help you get found by searchers, but it also ensures your brick-and-mortar location shops are listed correctly on Google Maps. All of this means that customers can find your store with greater ease. Google My Business also lets small businesses post photos, discount offers and answer clients’ feedback.
2. Bing Places for Business
Widely touted as one of the most popular search engines, Bing created Bing Places for Business as a way to help small businesses get found on Microsoft’s search engine. Not only does Bing Places let companies add up to 10 categories so customers can find them more readily, but it also features map locations, photos and customer reviews from Yelp.
3. Yahoo Local
Yahoo Local lets owners list their businesses for free, but charges extra for premium services and cross-listing across Yahoo’s network. As an added bonus, the directory offers easy-to-use tools for tracking impressions and evaluating overall search performance.
It’s no secret that many searchers turn to Yelp before trying a new restaurant or scheduling contractors, so it’s an important local directory on which to list your small business. Not only can companies collect and respond to customer feedback, but they can also post special offers and use the Yelp reporting tool to stay on top of trends.
Fifty million people currently use Foursquare, which lets users share information about their favorite businesses online. Unlike some of the other online directories listed, Foursquare lets users check in when they visit businesses and even comment on their experiences via their Twitter accounts. Additionally, businesses can use the mobile app to target and connect with customers on the go.
Designed with the needs of the small business owner in mind, Manta offers a variety of products including paid ads and a listing manager that lets owners supervise multiple directories from a single location. And with 20 million plus users searching for businesses, there’s a good chance that your website will get some attention.
Along with helping your company enhance its rankings on Google, Bing and Yahoo, MerchantCircle lets owners build out their business listings with coupons, photos, newsletters, event postings and even videos. Further, the MerchantCircle LeadStore provides owners with valuable tips on customers who are actively searching for products and services.
If your business isn’t listed on Citysearch, you might be missing out on an opportunity to grow your customer base. A popular choice among restaurants and entertainment businesses like spas, Citysearch goes beyond directory listings by regularly creating local guides to help customers find the best of the best in a given city.
9. Angie’s List
Featuring extensive feedback and reviews from customers, Angie’s List is a great place for primarily service-based businesses to showcase their offerings. With more than 2 million users, businesses have a strong chance of being found. As an added benefit, reviews are never anonymous, and must be verified by BPA Worldwide’s certification process.
It’s not enough to claim your listings on local directories. You must ensure that your contact information and business hours are up to date, provide information and photos about your business and review customer posts regularly.
Additionally, thank customers for their positive feedback, and reach out to those who offered criticism. The goal is to ensure your business is easy to find, and that any online listings present it as accessible and trustworthy.
Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.
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