In part one of our local SEO series, we talked about how your business can reap the many benefits of local SEO by understanding what goes into ranking well. We mentioned one of the most important ranking factors for local SEO was backlinks.
One of the best ways to gain backlinks for your website is to add your business to as many relevant local SEO directories as possible. With a well-thought-out and researched local SEO directory strategy, you can put your business in front of highly targeted users and show up on the most important search engines.
Are Directories Valuable for Local SEO?
Adding your business to some, if not all of the local SEO directory listings below, will add value to your business, including both algorithmic and user benefits.
Generating backlinks for your site through directories can increase your chances of ranking well on search engines. Each backlink, a link that goes from one website to yours, essentially acts as a “point” in the local SEO algorithm regardless of what search engine you are trying to rank on.
Some directories will have higher point values than others due to their domain authority. When your site gains backlinks from directories, you are adding “points” to your site which will be a positive ranking factor that you will see.
Perhaps the most important and valuable part of adding your business to directories is getting your basic information in front of highly-relevant audiences. If you are strategic with your directory submissions, you can send your information to users who are lower down in your marketing funnel.
For instance, if you are a roofing business, you can add your company to local directories like Angi , HomeAdvisor, or Roofing Insights, a specific directory for those looking to get their roof replaced.
Local SEO Directory: Do’s & Don’ts
With all of the factors mentioned above, you can see just how important adding your business to local search directories is. You can boost your online reputation through various review sites, create backlinks to your site, and gain brand awareness. However, there are some do’s and don’ts when adding your site to directories.
Do’s: Be Consistent
Many of the local business indexes share data. That’s why it is important to have the same information displayed on each business listing you create.
At the absolute minimum, all of your local business listings should include the same:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Website address
- Short description
These names, addresses, and phone numbers (NAP) must be exactly the same across all the listings you submit to. Additionally, create the same message. Make sure your categories and taglines are similar to avoid confusion.
Local listings all require you to add a business description, and it’s best to provide a long and short version. Adding all this information over and over again is tedious, so create two descriptions of your business:
- A short description (about 125 characters)
- A longer description (about 300+ characters)
With the descriptions ready, all you have to do now is copy and paste them to each of the local listings below to properly reap the local SEO benefits for your business.
Don’t: Add To Spam Sites
A general rule of thumb when submitting to local SEO directories is to check for spamminess. If a site looks like spam, it probably is. One way is to check a site’s domain authority via Moz. Generally, any site scoring lower than 20 would be considered spam and having links on those sites will add toxic links to your site.
Do: Claim Your Listings
As mentioned above, you may find that you are already listed on many sites, but you need to claim your listing. You may also notice that some of the information is incorrect. Make sure to change that when you claim your business listings.
Don’t: Target Irrelevant Listings
There are thousands of possible directories to add your business to and you may be tempted to add your business to every single one of them. However, targeting irrelevant directories will hurt you. Not only are you deceiving search engines, but you are also providing misleading information to the user that found your site.
Do: Add As Much Information As Possible
In addition, add as much information as possible. The more information you add, such as pictures, logos, and staff photos, the better. You want your listing to stand out from the competition.
Don’t: Create Duplicate Listings
There are many reasons why your business might have duplicate listings. Maybe your business moved locations or a previous effort was placed on creating a listing on that particular site.
Whatever the situation is, duplicate listings can confuse users and search engines. As noted above, the key to creating a successful local SEO directory strategy is consistency. If possible, delete the old listings or claim and update them.
Best Online Business Local Directories
Take a couple of hours and add your business website to these top-rated local SEO directories.
While these listings are generally used for any business, we also highly recommend checking out Moz’s Directory Listings page. Here you can find the top industry-specific directories to add to.
If you don’t see your industry there, Tower Marketing’s local SEO team can help you find the best directories for your local SEO strategy.
Top Free Business Listings
While there are thousands of free business listings online to choose from, these are the ones we would recommend starting with regardless of your industry.
Google Business Profile (GBP) formerly known as Google My Business.
Having a Google Business Profile listing is probably the most important first step when trying to rank in the top local results. All you need to get started is a Gmail account and if you don’t have one, create one. Adding your Google Business Profile listing information here will help you to be found across Google platforms, including organic search results, and the Google Maps Pack.
It should be a top priority for any business to have its location listed on Google Maps. More users are searching for products and services with local intent and using GPS navigation as a way to guide them to different locations. Optimizing your Google Business Profile page will help your business to be found on Google Maps.
Bing Places for Business
This business listing is powered by Bing.com and operates in a similar fashion to the Google My Business listing service. Bing Places for Business is a Bing portal that enables local business owners to add a listing for their business. With Bing Places for Business, once you have your Google Business Profile set up, you can import that information directly onto Bing so you do not have to redo essentially the same work.
Apple Maps is one of the most used map platforms in the world. Local SEO Guide estimates that at least 75-100 million adults it. With your business listed, users can see directly in the app your reviews, photos & categories just like Google Maps.
Please note that you can submit a business listing for free on Apple Maps but often the information is pulled from other sources such as Yelp.
Yahoo Listing via Yext
Getting a Yahoo Listing isn’t as easy as Bing or Google. In order for you to claim your listing on Yahoo, you have to go through Yext.
These listings are very similar to Bing or Google. Use your same NAP across Yahoo as well.
Please note, you can claim your free listing on Yahoo via Yext but there are also more premium options that allow you to distribute your information across up to 50 platforms.
You will need to create a Facebook business page, which means you will first need to have a personal account on Facebook. Add your business name, description, and website, and connect with users socially.
Most people think you need to be a restaurant to be listed on Yelp. Not true. Any US business can be added to the local business listings.
Foursquare is a local search and discovery app and is a fantastic business listing to be included. Make use of their location data by adding your business.
Insider Pages is a web directory looking to offer users the best recommendations. Not only do you want your business listed here, but you also want people who use this site to recommend you.
TripAdvisor is great for B2C businesses. This free business listing online allows you to share your hours, upload photos, and more importantly, customers can leave reviews. There’s also a Q&A section where you can answer your most commonly asked customer questions. TripAdvisor profiles can also be shared across other directories online.
Best of the Web (BOTW)
BOTW is a general web directory listing for both commercial and non-commercial sites. Each listing is manually approved and, therefore, search engines value the citation of businesses listed here. This is one of the oldest internet web directories and is organized by category, offering content-rich and well-designed websites.
This is a great online that acts much like the Yellow Pages. Superpages is a local business directory including phone numbers, ratings, reviews, maps, driving directions, your address, website, hours of operation, and more.
While NextDoor is often thought of as a social media platform for connecting with your neighbors, it is also a great place to list your business. Here you can share posts with people in your community making it one of the more powerful local SEO directories out there. Your business can even interact with users much like Facebook or Instagram as well.
Citysearch is a web-based city guide offering information about local businesses using categories throughout different states in the US.
HotFrog is a commercial website directory sorting businesses according to location and category.
Yellow Pages is one of the most well-known off-site and on-site directories. Everyone has heard of it or used it, at some point. Having your business listed here is a must.
Top Paid Business Listings
Please note, as of the time of this writing, you have to pay to be on each one of these listings. Each platform additionally has multiple pricing levels with the option to pay for advertising as well. We recommend adding costs for the platforms into your marketing budget.
Angi FKA Angi’s List
Angi formerly known as Angi’s List, is one of the most powerful listings you can add to your local SEO directory strategy especially if you deal with homeowners. While Angi is free to join, the most powerful way to use Angi is to pay for lead generation. You can also send and build custom quotes, request payments, and integrate with QuickBooks making it one of the more forward-thinking business directories.
Better Business Bureau AKA BBB
The Better Business Bureau is a nationwide nonprofit organization with a self-described mission of “focusing on advancing marketplace trust”. Once again this is free to join but to become an accredited business in the BBB, that comes with a fee. With the fee, you show customers “that you are an honest, ethical business that they can trust.”
Within their listings, users have the option to search for BBB Accredited Businesses only OR all businesses which includes the free account. In each listing is a list of complaints from consumers, average star rating as well as your NAP.
HomeAdvisor is a great local SEO directory to add your business to if you deal with homeowners. Getting your business on HomeAdvisor is only paid and there are no free options so do careful research before deciding if it’s a good fit.
Chamber of Commerce
Listing your business on your local chamber of commerce website is a great way to reach local customers and network with other businesses. While each chamber of commerce has different pricings, you will most likely not be able to join for free.
To find your local chamber of commerce, visit the national Chamber of Commerce website.
Taking the time and effort to add your business to the listings above and to your industry’s niche directories will be worth it. There is both a local SEO algorithm and user value to adding to each website.
We at Tower Marketing have done this for our clients across almost every industry you can think of. We understand it can cost time and money to add to each directory. But we can help you find your industry’s niche directory and even do the hard work for you with our local SEO services.