The Top 5 Local Directories to Claim for Your Business
There is always another improvement to be made on your online presence. It is important to add fresh content to your website, fine tune your personal branding, and to make the most of your SEO efforts. With endless actions you could take to increase visibility and effectiveness, setting priorities is an essential task.
As a small business consultant, I advise clients that one excellent way to raise your profile is to get your business listed in local directories. Popular directories provide additional places where you can be found by people who are interested in what you do. Each new backlink from a reputable directory also gives your site a boost in trustworthiness across the web. If you have an established business, you may already have a listing in many directories. In that case, you should claim and optimize your listings. Otherwise, start from scratch and provide the directories you choose complete and consistent information. No matter your other online goals, make time to snag your listing in these five top local directories:
Google My Business
Since most people search through Google, get your Google listing right first. Claiming and optimizing this listing gives you control. Once you complete and verify your information on Google My Business, you will be twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers. If you have a public business space, you can list your hours and pinpoint the location so customers can find you. If you have a home-based business, you will have the opportunity to show only your service area. Once you finish with basic information, add some images and consider posting offers or updates periodically on Google My Business as you would on other social media platforms. Read more about the “Benefits of Claiming and Optimizing Your Google My Business Listing.”
Chances are you’ve encountered and maybe even decided to try out a restaurant or two in you travels based on Yelp reviews. Founded in 2004, Yelp was created to help people find great local businesses. Claiming and optimizing your Yelp profile will put you among them. Yelp has a very strong social aspect in that users are encouraged to read reviews, write reviews, share photos of businesses they’ve visited, and to follow others who visit businesses they find of interest. It’s not good protocol to pester people to leave you reviews on Yelp or to recommend what they might say. Yelp reviews have the best affect when they are organic. Make it clear to your customers that they can leave you a review on this platform and make it easy for them to find how to do so. The good business you do will lead them to leave you positive feedback that others will trust.
Nextdoor is the most local of the local directories. Individuals and businesses who join this site connect with others in their immediate neighborhood. Neighbors post items they have for sale or for free and people share information on crime and safety. Area events can be posted, and a formidable section is dedicated to reviews on everything from mechanics, dentists, and lodging, to pizza. Join this site, add your business, and stay engaged. Getting to know people and building trust in the local microcosm can lead to great connections and a good word-of-mouth reputation that contributes to your positive online presence. In addition, Google favors businesses that are well established in a locale, so taking part in Nextdoor can be another data point to help establish you in local search, and ultimately, beyond.
Thumbtack is an online service that matches customers with local professionals. Thumbtack currently lists over a thousand types of services. Do you offer web design, real estate law services, plumbing, singing lessons, or tattoo artistry? Whatever you do, there’s a place for you on Thumbtack. There are two ways you can use Thumbtack. The first is to simply keep your listing up to date and respond promptly to potential customers who contact you. Promote your profile for more visibility. Secondly, you can browse the jobs tab. Bid on jobs that potential customers have reached out to others about and bid on the gig. Read the details about getting started on Thumbtack for details on creating a listing plus bidding on, and accepting jobs on this platform.
Foursquare offers its City Guide app users personalized recommendations on places to go near the user’s current location. Based on previous browsing history, purchases, and check-ins, Foursquare helps find people who care about what you do when they are near you and prompts them to connect in real time. Foursquare boasts it helps its users “find the best places to eat, drink, shop, or visit in any city in the world.” Sign up for Foursquare to make sure you’re on that list!
Remember to choose the specifics of the information you put on the web and keep it consistent. Spelling, spacing, and even details of punctuation count! When your address, phone numbers, URL, hours of operation, and any other details remain the same, becoming a trusted business easily found in search engines becomes all the more likely. Sign up for these five local directories and you’re on your way.