Local, Small Businesses
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Finding potential customers is a demanding process for small businesses. Gone are the days of paying for a Yellow Pages advertisement and forgetting about it. Citation sites and online business directories have replaced those golden tomes. The more online exposure your business has, the more advantage it can gain.

Local marketing campaigns are now using these directories as a strategy for boosting brand. Listing businesses in online directories increases your company’s exposure. Your presence within these directories an mean a larger audience, more site traffic and potential customers. To save you time, I have provided links directly to the submission or sign-up page where applicable. Set a aside a few hours this week and submit your local business to these free online directories:

1. Bing – Although Bing is not as popular as Google, it still has millions of users and claiming your listings will have help your local marketing efforts. Bing also offers the option for bulk upload if your business has multiple locations. You can add photos and it allows you to update basic information about your business.

2. Google+ Local – Google is a necessary option to increase online visibility. It accounts for 90% of global organic search traffic and is easily the most used search engine. Google+ Local has a comprehensive directory and provides it’s users with many advantages as well. When a small business listed in Google My Business is searched, Google provides the direct link to them a map of the physical location, the business’s name and contact are displayed as well. Google earns a lot of traffic for small businesses and can increase sales.

3. Manta – With 20 million monthly customers, Manta is a good place for small businesses to be listed. Manta can help establish a good reputation online for the businesses it lists, it optimizes your online presence in mobile searches as well. Manta helps improve marketing by letting businesses connect with others to create a network.

4. Aabaco – Unlike Google, this is not a household name but you might recognize their parent organization Yahoo! Aabaco offers advertising, local marketing and the web hosting to local businesses. Although it is somewhat newer than the others, the Yahoo-run company offers all the necessary features to improve online presence.

5. Yelp – With more than 30 million visitors, Yelp is one of the largest review platforms on the internet. Yelp helps businesses connect customers and grow through variety of tools for local businesses. Yelp also offers its users to be a part of Yelp Ads which can increase revenue and showcase what the business has to offer. Because of its popularity and the fact that most internet users recognize it, this is arguably one of the best options when listing a small business just starting out.

6. Facebook – While Facebook might be thought of as more of a social networking website, has a lot more to offer than you might think. The robust traffic helps businesses get the necessary exposure and feedback they need to grow. It offers a wide range of features from adding photos to responding to what your customers have to say, which will boost your online presence. Facebook is influential as it has 400 million users globally; using Facebook for business listing can help numbers go up, and it plays an important part in the social media marketing strategy.

7. Yellow Pages – And if you want to display ads YP.com is your go to. It has become the alternative for the long lost yellow page directories. Owners can add listing and claim their business while adding all pertinent information. Sure, it may seem old-fashioned, there are a large number of baby-boomers still using the yellow pages, but online now.

8. White Pages – White Pages has a large directory database for Americans and Canadians and shows results when searching for information on businesses. It is a simple listing service and worth the time to use. It can expand your reach to 200 million potential customers.

9. Better Business Bureau – The free listing allows local businesses to gain a citation (vote of confidence) by listing their business. This directory is customer friendly and assists its users in finding a trust-worthy business, which makes it a good choice. This site has a history of increasing traffic for businesses as it provides an authoritative link.

10. Foursquare – Foursquare is a social media site for users to “check-in” at different places which help businesses get track users who visit their business and can helps improve their services. Since Americans use more than 70% of their time on social networking sites, businesses need to network this way as well.

11. MerchantCircle – Made to help small businesses, they provide a wonderful local directory. You can add maps, services, products and detailed descriptions for your business. Specifically for small businesses, Merchant Circle offers free promotional tools and networking opportunities. It helps increase visitors by giving them location-based search results and lets local businesses find potential customers in their own area.

12. LinkedIn – LinkedIn is easily the ultimate platform for professional social searches. People go to LinkedIn for business-related socializing. It has a reputation of helping small businesses build networks and find potential employees. The digital footprint you create through LinkedIn will a positive impact on your online reputation. Prospects and consumers can find small business LinkedIn profiles which can be a helpful tool growing your online visibility.

13. Dex Media – Better be quick about submitting to this directory. I fear the free option may be disappearing soon as it did for DexKnows.com. Dex Media can help businesses maximize their performance with advertising opportunites, if you want to spend the money. Dex Media assists its online consumers and helps them find the businesses they need. In turn, your business’s growth may be impacted.

14. EZ Local – Accessing business listings is as easy as updating a business’s information. The directory offers enhanced business listings for premium users but the basic free listing still gives local businesses an opportunity to be more visible online. They provide a link to your site and are a credible citation source.

15. Crunchbase – It’s not a traditional online business directory but it has the services of many types of business. Startups and new entrepreneurs can look for investors and other companies through this site. It can be confusing to sign up for your free account, so I have linked to the page that provides instructions how to do so on their site.

16. Show Me Local – Show Me Local helps establish an online presence when companies are just starting out and currently have 19 million businesses listed, but only 750 claimed. They help promote their services to find customers and investors for their businesses as well. It is a popular local business directory as well because small businesses can promote themselves in search engines, advertise and network.

17. Chamber Of Commerce – Chamber Of Commerce ensures that startups have resources they need and hopefully stay sustainable. It makes the operation of small businesses easier as they slowly make their way in the market. Membership packages range from free to $300/month.

18. Discover Our Town – Most people think that considering a website such as this for business listing may not be worth the time. This travel guide has many users that are on the move and for businesses who have these people coming in their area, they can easily grab customers and promote their businesses. This site helps people on the move discover more companies and small businesses to increase their marketing and advertising. Sure, it is more of a niche, but still worth listing your business.

19. Top Rated Experts – They provide important information for small businesses such as the website and a company address and phone number. This site shows customer reviews (up to three) for each business and provides links Facebook and LinkedIn for each business, if they have accounts. There is no cost to submit and editors will manually review your site submission. If approved, your business will be added and pertinent information will be curated by the staff.

20. City Slick – This online network of local business provides listings they can help search rankings through trust links, so SEO companies love them. Users can search listing by zip codes or just by typing a keyphrase. City Slick provides free and paid options and provide local advertising. Small, but still worth submitting your business.

21. SuperPages – SuperPages, powered by Dex Media, can increase exposure through local business listings and advertising options such as specials and deals offered. Companies can upload payment options on their sites along with NAP (Name, Address & Phone).

22. Local – This tool is for businesses targeting local clients in the US. Users find local businesses and their services according to zip code. Claim your business or add it here. It ranks highly for traffic, estimated at 1.4 million visits per month.

23. HotFrog – With over a million visitors every month, HotFrog has a decent audience for a true search engine that focuses on businesses only. You can add all the information about your business, including a link directly to your site. They can help with traffic reports and so on if you need additional marketing resources. This site has been on the decline, but I included it due to its ability to help in your search rankings.

24. City-data – Unlike other directories, this is only for businesses that have the actual physical presence and aren’t only on the Internet. A bit old-fashioned yes, but this site gives brick and mortar businesses the opportunities to expand themselves, and be a part of bigger networks. At over 6 millions visits per month, they have Google’s trust.

25. YellowBook – Business owners create searchable listings by adding more details in their business information including a link to their business site. They are owned by Hibu Business so don’t be concerned when the link shows that name. A bit on the small side with low traffic levels, there is no reason to invest a lot of time; add your listing and move on.

26. Express Update – Express Update also offers a variety of resources to improve local search marketing strategies. You get a nice business profile page and they make sure their listings are easily found and they claim to call and check on business to verify information.

Okay, so get out there and start claiming and submitting. It will take a few hours, but once you are done you can rest easy that you have accomplished a task that will have an impact on your online presence. And that is saying something in today’s world. Good luck on marketing your local business online.

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