Local business directories are websites that list businesses that operate within a particular region or town. The lists provide basic information about the business, such as name, physical address, website name, and phone number. These lists can be filtered by type of business, location, or business size. The websites are optimized for local SEO such that local browsers are likely to find them when looking for particular businesses or services within a locality. Most directories only include small and medium-sized businesses in their lists.

Importance to Small Businesses

Local business directories give small businesses a strong online presence. For most small businesses, listings provide the only chance of increasing the online visibility of their business or brand. Appearing on a directory increases the chances of making a sale as research indicates that 81% of customers research online before making the purchase decision.

Directories offer small businesses an opportunity to engage in highly focused digital marketing. Local listings enhance the search engine visibility of small businesses. You can use them to optimize your business rankings on local SEO. Most of the directories have high domain authority, so adverts made on them are likely to be found by the target audience. It is highly likely that potential customers will find your business while searching on local business directories listing.

Having your business on these sites increases your credibility and chances of appearing on search results on major search engines such as Google. Listed businesses are also likely to rank highly on search results. This is because search engines have algorithms that give priority to the most relevant results for local searches.

As a fledgling business, you may not have the funds to advertise nationally. Featuring on local business directories can be an effective way of advertising locally. By placing ads and providing content on your pages, you can target and engage local customers with only a small budget.

Most directories are optimized for mobile applications.  The advantage of this feature is that your business has a high chance of being found by people browsing on the phone. This increases the traffic to your website while also enhancing the chances of getting leads and conversions.

Directories improve the reputation of your business by allowing customers to write reviews of their experience with your products or services. Accumulating several positive reviews enhances the credibility of your business. You can even share the positive reviews on social media and your website to make visitors know that other clients loved your offering.

How to Control the Information and Impressions on Small Local Business Directories

Start and Run Business Pages

Monitor all the information posted on local business directories and make sure that it is accurate. If possible, you should start and run the business page and provide information about the website name, URL, and a concise description of the products or services that you offer. Make sure that the information is optimized for local searches.

Most online directories obtain their information from aggregators, government websites, and other publicly available data sources. Some of the details may be inaccurate or outdated. Always make sure that the business details are updated to reflect the current addresses so that customers can call the right number or send mail to valid email addresses. If possible, lock the content so that it is not possible for unauthorized persons to edit it.

Make sure that your business appears on most of the leading local business directories in your area. This will increase the chances of your business appearing on search results. You can also use the directory to build inbound links or backlinks to your business. Such links direct visitors to your business websites. Backlinks are a great way of boosting the visibility of your business and its ranking with search engines.

Filling Up Directories with Descriptions and Images

Directories provide you with the chance to strengthen your profile. You can enhance the appeal and engagement on your pages by adding images and videos, social media links, and other content that helps visitors interact with the business. Add plenty of pictures of the products or services you sell so that visitors can have a clear idea of what you offer. You can also use the listings to promote content on multiple channels such as Facebook and Pinterest. This will grow your brand awareness and boost sales without increasing advertising costs.

Posting content on the directory is an effective way of coping with the ever-changing algorithms used by search engines. You can update and add new content to the pages without incurring any costs because most list sites allow businesses to list for free. Even if you hire a content writer who is conversant with the latest algorithm, it won’t cost as much as designing a new website or revamping an existing site. You can also make a few tweaks to the content on the directory as a way of helping your business rank highly on search engines.

Monitor and Respond to Reviews

Most local business directories listings include user reviews of the various sites on their pages. If your business has good reviews, customers are likely to trust you and buy from your business. Therefore, regularly read the reviews users post about your business. Make sure you respond to negative reviews and empathize with the aggrieved customer. Assure such customers that you will look into the problem and rectify it. Always express gratitude for positive reviews and engage all posters by clarifying issues and offering solutions.

Make sure you follow reviews of industry-specific platforms because most consumers rely on them to make a buying decision. You can use a review monitoring tool so that you may respond to reviews immediately after they have been made. Monitoring also helps you spot fake reviews made by malicious competitors and have them removed before they can cause damage to your business. This can save your business from devastatingly negative reviews that could morph into a public relations crisis.

Contributing to the comments in a directory can be one way of adding personality to your brand. Adding new comments and responding to complaints gives a human face to your business. You can use the comments to add humor or show that you are aware of the latest trends and slang.

Diving Bell Creative helps businesses create engaging websites that connect with customers and boost their online presence. Schedule a call to start the conversation.