Local business directories are responsible for generating leads for businesses. They’re the ones appearing in local searches, giving customers with more than just one business to interact. So, with mobile searches dominating the internet, they’ve become increasingly important for local businesses. Here are three steps to assess, search and claim the directories for your business success
- Finding the Right Directories
Time is one of the most important commodities for business owners. Investing time in creating local business listings is vital for your business. Moreover, you also have to manage these resources. To begin with, here are few tips to find the right directories.
Directories responsible for your ranking
Always start from the listings relevant to your business. These are the ones people use to view your business. If you’re a small business owner and don’t have a website or social profile, these directories become more important for you to claim. As you keep updating them, customers will get clearer information about your business, working hours and the products you offer.
In most of the cases, claiming these directories is quite easy, as the listings are already available. Then some of them also offer a link to begin the process. So, find the link that’s important to claim your business.
- The link is often available at the top of the listing.
- Sometimes, it’s hidden under the header or footer.
Directories that rank for competitors
Next, you have to look for new directories. You can start with those where your competitors are listed. It’ll help target and capture your share of audience. To find out which ones rank your competitors, see their profiles.
Those listings with complete profiles indicate that they should be claimed first. You can locate these directories simply by using your competitors’ name in Google searches. Then you can identify those where you haven’t claimed your business yet.
Directories that rank for search terms
Your SEO service may recommend you to begin from this stage, followed by other directories, but only the Keywords are the search terms people use to locate your niche. So take a while to search directories for relevant keywords.
You’d ideally find some of them you have already claimed appearing in top 10 results. Local keyword searches often lead to:
· Websites, yours or your competitors’,
· Business listings in local directories, and
· Categories on these directories
So, go through the results and see which listings are yet to be claimed. Divide the claiming process into two steps:
First step – claim the directories ranking for competitors.
Second step – claim the directories ranking for categories. You can also spend a little more on paid advertisements and sponsorships, making sure you rank better than your competitors for category.
Directories that rank in mobile search
Now, comes an important part – claiming for mobile searches. 50% of all the mobile searches end up in conversion (customer makes purchase), which means, claiming them is more than necessary these days.
Mobile users may have their favorite business directories to access local businesses. So, conduct a detailed research and try to claim all the directories appearing in mobile searches.
2. How to Claim and Create Local Business Directory Listing
The process is not that difficult but lengthy. Some directories might give you a tough time, but majority of them have straight forward process. Among all the aspects of claiming and creating a listing, verification is considered to be the most difficult part.
· Some networks tend to confirm email addresses,
· Some give you an automated call or send you a verification/confirmation code via SMS,
· Some of them want you to talk to their representative for confirmation. They’ll also offer paid advertising and upgrades.
· Some with really lengthy verification process require confirmation via postal mail. It means, you’ll have to wait for a few days or weeks to claim and complete your business listing.
Things required by local directories include:
· Your business address
· Your phone number, and
· Any extra information they need to verify or update in their listing
While claiming for local listings, you’ll need to contact support team of the local directory and update your information. If you ignore this step, you may not be able to claim your business via email or phone.
3. The Actual Cost
You know the process and you know how to find them. Now, it’s time to calculate the cost. Basically, it should be the step before you start to claim, but by the time you search directories to claim, you’ll also know whether they’re free or paid (for more than basic listings). Paid listings offer you any or all of the following features:
· Opportunity to add web address,
· More than one category,
· Ads-free listing,
· Capability of adding media.
Pricing varies with services, starting from $29 to $500 per year.
Some local directories sell listings alone, while others offer a group of listings on different directories. The latter is more suitable option since it saves time and gives an opportunity to claim more listings than one.
Don’t forget about Facebook, Google+ and Yahoo where listings are available for free. And that’s the best deal you can make.
Now comes the question of determining which listings you should pay for. You also have to figure out your chances of appearing in the first page by claiming these listings. Here’s how you can research about these directories.
1. Check the search traffic on directory.
You can do that by comparing the traffic on two local directories. You can also use Alexa to get an idea about the traffic inflow on these directories. The purpose is to find which directories get the traffic that’s relevant to your local business.
2. Check the reputation of the local directory.
Is it a scam? Is it a real one? If it’s real what’s there in it that appeals to business and customers? Avoid the directories with little traffic and bad user reviews.
3. Check the level of activity in a category specific to your niche.
See whether your competitors or other similar businesses are getting reviews consistently. If Yes, they’re good ones to claim. Category-wise searches are related to the business you’re doing. If it’s a photography business, the traffic will be higher. If it’s an air conditioning business, the traffic will be on the lower side.
4. For free web directories, assess them in the same manner.
Keep in mind that some local directories allow you to list your business for free, but take their commission when you get any leads through them. Be careful of their reputation. If they don’t have a good reputation, the customer they’ll be sending may not buy anything from you.
If you do the basics right and invest your time and money thoughtfully, these local business directories will return you big time. Keep on monitoring reviews and engagement. Keep an eye on stats and analytics and determine which of them is proving fruitful investment.