Small Business Marketing: Improve Rankings with Local Directories

local directoriesAs a small business owner, you know how difficult it can be to compete for one of the ten hot spots on the first page in search engine rankings.  Large companies have the resources, traffic and inbound links to be recognized as trusted and therefore rank higher.  Long tail keywords with geographic targets is a great way to get started in the local search however we know that keywords/on page SEO only accounts for roughly 25% of the ranking process.  Local searches have become increasingly popular as when people begin their search, many are looking to weed out the large companies and seek local businesses.  Creating and/or claiming your business on the local directories in conjunction with long tail geographic keywords will improve your local rankings.  With so many to choose from, which ones are best?

While it is inviting to create or claim your business on every directory, this can be counterproductive as these sites rank very high and will push your actual site to the 2nd or even 3rd page.  The following is the top sites to create your local business listing.

5 Top Local Directories

1. Google Local.  This I find to be the best as you are required to have a Google user account however once you create and then create your listing, it provides statistics such as impressions, actions (# of driving directions requested, #of clicks to your website). Listings are set up quickly and an automated call is placed to verify your information through a pin that they send.

2. Yahoo Local.  As with Google local, you do need a Yahoo  account to set up your company.  They will verify the information via review of a human as they term this and once verified, the listing is submitted.

3. Bing/MSN. Quite similar to Google and Yahoo however despite reading that you can verify via telephone, I am set up to receive a postcard with a pin number on it.

4. Yellowpages.com.  Free listings tend to get lost on their site as paid listings will rank higher for each category but on the search engines, your site will be recognized and rank well on the search engines.

5. LinkedIn. Creating a company page further enhances your rankings on the search engines.  Traffic to the site may not be the most abundant but it is another way to rank.

These directories as well as many others will increase your rankings on search engines. If you are unsure and want to add your company listing to additional sites, be sure to do a search on them to see if others have provided feedback. This will help to determine if their site is the right place for your company.

Be sure to be consistent with your company description as many times your listings will appear one after another on searches and it can be confusing if you promote different parts of your business on each site.

Any additional directories that have worked for you?  Not sure what to say about your company?  As me, I can help.

photo credit: Robyn Gallagher