Having a strong local presence on commonly used search engines such as Google and Yahoo is vital to your business’s health. Simply put, local potential customers need your products or services –so when they search for them it is important that you are visible in their search.
If you are having trouble getting foot traffic to your place of business consider optimizing your business locally. By doing so, your business will become highly visible for local searches that include your keywords. An easy way to optimize your business to claim and/or update your business directory listing on local search engines –and it’s free!
How do I know if my business has been claimed on local search engines?
Chances are if you are not sure, than your business listing has not been claimed or updated. The good news is you don’t have to guess. To find out if your business listing has been claimed visit Get Listed. By inputting your business name and zip code this site will check to see if your business has been listed on popular search engines including Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, City Search, etc. If you are not listed, no worries because you can claim your listing directly from the Get Listed website.
What directories should I make sure my business is listed on?
Claim your local business directory listings when you have the time because ideally you want to be on as many local search engines as possible. At the very minimum your information should appear on the most popular local search engines:
- Google Places aka Google+ Local
- Bing Local
- Yahoo Local
- City Search
- Yellow Pages
- Hot Frog
- Best of the Web
- Insider Pages
When claiming your business listing there are several elements that should be included in order to optimize your listing, these elements are as follows:
- Local Phone Number
- Hours of Operation
- Email Address
- Forms of Payment Accepted
- Images (of the product, service, location, staff, etc)
- Videos (when and where appropriate add relevant videos)
- Business Categories
- Location-based Keywords (instead of using “dog whisperer” use “Atlanta dog whisperer”)
- Bonus: Add an Irresistible Call to Action (this is a free business listing that can help get your business to the first page of Google and other popular search engines. Once you rank on page one of any popular search engine that still does not guarantee that “they will come”. Get creative and beat your competitors that are listed by adding a call to action that is hard to walk click away from! Most businesses do not offer anything special to potential customers on their business directory listings –this detail alone if done right, can bring a considerable amount of traffic to your brick-and-mortar or online store).
I’ve claimed my local business directory listings, now what?
Congrats, for making your business more visible online! There are two more things to do once your listing have been submitted; monitor the listings and request customer reviews.
It is important to monitor the listing by; adding new images and videos; making sure that phone numbers, email addresses, and website address are current; updating store locations if necessary; and take notice of customer reviews.
Ask your current customers to write a review on one or more of the directories that your business is listed on (you may have to use an incentive). The more reviews the better because they help your business to rank high on search engines. Respond immediately to both good reviews and bad. By doing so you are showing your community of fans and potential customers that you are accessible online and you value their business.
Potential customers in your local area have a problem for which you have the solution, if your business is not optimized locally there is a large chance that they won’t find you and you will lose business to your competitor that is already listed.