A local business listing is an online entry that contains your business Name, Address and phone number (NAP) along with other details. There are a lot of directories and websites like Yelp, Foursquare and Yellow Pages where local businesses can create free local business listings.
Creating local business listings is the main work of any local business marketing campaign. Local Business Listings give more visibility for your business and every new listing that you create enhances your chances of being found online by customers. The more directories that you are listed on, the more visible you are. If your business is visible online, search engines trust the accuracy of your business data and thus, your chances of ranking on top for local searches shoot up. To simplify it all, business listings can be considered as an online version of business information in Yellow Pages.
A business must satisfy the following criteria in order to qualify for a local business listing in any index.
The concept of local business listing was originally borrowed from the idea of advertising in yellow pages (the book) and in the local newspapers. As search engines evolved, the need to come up with a process for helping customers find local businesses around them also had to evolve. In 2004, Google Local was introduced. It offered relevant neighbourhood business listings, directions and maps. In 2005, Google started offering driving directions and local information to people on the go. Since then, Google local search and how it sources information has undergone many sophisticated changes.
A lot of directory sites popped with a motive to help people find local businesses and to make money out of this process. Sites like Yelp came into existence when one of the founders got a flu and was not able to readily find a doctor in his neighbourhood. Hence, the idea of helping people find local businesses. After the Pigeon Update, Google wanted to provide more relevant, useful and accurate search results that was tied to the traditional web search ranking signals. The algorithm started ranking a business based on the trust signals it was getting from directories.
Now, local business listings play an important role in SEO. When an user is searching with a local intent, like “pizza in dallas”, search engines populate results from local directories. If you have incorrect details in your local listing or worse, if you haven’t claimed your listing at all, there’s a good chance that the user will not find the information about your business that he wanted.
Most of the popular online business directories let you list your business amongst millions of other local businesses for free. Follow the steps given below to get free business listings.
Business listings are very important when it comes to local SEO. If you want to see your business on top of local search results, you have to list it on at least the top directory sites. Here are the different ways to get your business listed on directory sites.
You can hire local SEO consultants who will get your business listed on major directories for your niche. Many people prefer to hire SEO consultants because they know where to get your business listed. But, here’s what you have to know if you are hiring SEO consultants to get your business listings done - they usually do it on a one-time basis. That means, one they have listed your website on directories, you still have to spend a considerable amount of time to keep the listings consistent.
To get one thing clear, freelancers are not SEO consultants. They might not be able to figure out on what sites your business needs to be listed. But, freelancers will be able to help you list your business on directory sites if you give them the right information and the list of directories. Again, once they have listed your business on various directories, you will have to keep checking if the information is up to date. Also, because most freelancers don’t have full time experience doing SEO, there are chances for NAP inconsistencies to creep in.
If you don’t want an external agency or a third-party filling in your business information, you can do it yourself. Though the listing process is easy, it will eat up a lot of your time. You’d rather want to spend this time managing your business.
This is the most popular way to get your business listed. Tools like Synup will automate the listing management process. Also, Synup offers you a central dashboard from where you can manage all your business information and listings from a single dashboard.