You might have heard that you need to list your business in lots of different directories if you want to improve your SEO. But why? How can putting your information on another website help you rank your own site?
In this post we’re going to talk about what business directory listings (sometimes called business citations) are, why they are so important for search engine marketing, and how you can make sure you are taking full advantage of all the platforms out there.
What is a Business Directory?
Business Directories are websites that compile information about a large number of businesses. They act as a sort of “yellow pages for the internet.” In fact, yellowpages.com is one of these providers.
Some of the sites are for all businesses such as Yellowpages and Yelp. Others are industry or niche-specific such as Houzz, Angie’s List, or FindLaw.
Your Business Name
Your Phone Number
Your Business Address
Your Operating Hours
Photographs of Your Business or Employees
A Brief Description of Your Business
Every directory allows for different information to be submitted, but some or all of the items above may be included.
You probably already use some of these platforms, even if you didn’t intend to list yourself in a directory. If your company has a Facebook page, that’s one listing you’ve already taken care of!
Okay, I get it. But Why Should I Care?
If you are looking to improve your local search engine rankings you need to pay attention to which listings your business is featured on.
Search engines, such as Google, have algorithms that use a ton of data from both on and off your website to determine your relevance to various search queries. In fact, they pull the information from more than five dozen trustworthy business directories specifically to gather information about local businesses.
So if someone searches for a plumber in their city, and there are 14 plumbers in that area, how does Google, Bing, Alexa or Siri decide how to rank the results?
Well, there’s way more to that question than we could cover in a single blog post but search engine experts have identified that business listings do play a vital role. Here’s how:
First, these directories and business listing platforms, want to know that you’re a real, operating business that’s ready to serve customers in your area. There are tons of websites out there that belong to businesses which are either not real or are no longer doing business.
One way that Apple Maps, Google, or other directories that provide information to voice search devices such as Alexa or Siri, verify that your business is legitimate is by pulling information from business directories and ensuring that the information is consistent and up-to-date across these platforms.
Google and Bing also want to show its users the most reputable businesses in their area. Business directories can help show these popular search engines that you’re reputable in a couple different ways.
First, the more directories you’re listed on, the more your business stands out as a big player in your industry. If your information is listed on and consistent across platforms like Facebook, Yelp, Google My Business, and dozens more, then the search engine’s algorithms can consider you to be a prominent, active provider in your local area.
Next, many of these platforms allow customers to leave reviews. Your positive reviews have a positive impact on your rankings as well as offering numerous other benefits for your business.
How to Get the Most Out of Business Listings
The most important thing when it comes to business listings is that you’re on them. You’ll need to make sure you are listed on all the most popular platforms, including the most trusted directories for your specific niche if applicable. In addition to making sure that your business information is out there, you’ll want to make sure it’s consistent.
We’ve mentioned consistency several times throughout this post, and for good reason. It is incredibly important that your information is accurate and up-to-date across every platform you are listed on. Your directory listings can end up doing far more harm than good if you have conflicting or contradictory information out there.
You’ll also want to avoid duplicate listings if at all possible. Many businesses create multiple profiles by mistake, or have had others create them on their behalf in the past without realizing it. Duplicate listings send a red flag to Google that suggests you might not be a trustworthy business.
Managing Your Listings
If you know you have several profiles active on many different directories, but haven’t looked at them in a long time, you’ll want to do an audit. An audit basically includes looking at all the places where your business has a current listing and ensuring that the information is accurate and matches your website and other listings. You’ll also be checking for duplicate listings and other errors.
You’ll want to do this periodically and every time any of the information about your business changes. It is important to actively keeping up on your listing and checking monthly so you don’t lose out on business.
Of course, you can also hire professional help. There are many marketing companies out there who will help you get listed on all the most popular directories and ensure those listings stay up-to-date for a reasonably low rate.
Have Additional Questions?
In this post we covered what business directory listings are, why they are important for search engine performance, and how you can ensure your business is taking full advantage of the various platforms on the web.
If you have any additional questions about business directory listings or the benefits they bring your business, just give us a call. Our team would be more than happy to help answer them for you.