When it comes to improving one’s online presence, most business owners think about designing a website or opting to run a paid online advertising campaign. While these two options will certainly drive traffic to your storefront, there is an easier (and more affordable) way to boost awareness for your business, and that is through local listing directories.
What Are Local Business Listings?
Local business listings are online directories that house the information of thousands or even millions of businesses. These directories are similar to your typical old-school, paperback Yellowpages book your family received in the mail every year. Each local business listing website will include crucial information that customers need in order to contact or learn more about a business, such as:
- Business name
- Business address
- Business phone number
- Hours of operation
With Google averaging nearly 3.5 billion Internet searches per day, it’s no secret that customers are hungry for answers or information about businesses. Local business listings are the key to ensuring that your business gets found during some of these searches. Not only do these listing directories boost your local SEO, but also help drive traffic to your website. The most popular local listing websites often receive millions of users every month, and visits to these online directories mean visits to business websites.
But how can you know which local business listings to add your company information to? Below is a list of the top 10 essential local business directories. The list is based on the sheer volume of users each site generates every month, as well as the number of listings they have and how much information they provide for customers.
Top 10 Most Important Local Listings For Businesses
- Google My Business. Free to use and relatively easy to get up, the Google My Business listing is perfect for those who have a brick and mortar local, or for those who deliver goods and services to customers. Business owners with multiple business locations will find it easy to manage and set up profiles for each one. You can edit the listing to include your company name, address, hours of operation, phone number, and you can even add photos of your products and services. Customers can also post reviews on your Google My Business page, as well as photos of their experience. This listing is ideal for any business.
- Yelp for Business Owners. Perfect for restaurants, bars, contractors, and shopping storefronts, Yelp for Business Owners is one of the most popular directories around. With a simple phone verification (Yelp will call your business line and provide you a code to verify your listing), you can quickly set up or edit your existing company information, such as name, address, phone number, year established, hours of operation, and even some information about the founder. Both business owners and customers can upload photos to this directory, which keeps information transparent. While this local business directory is free, many companies will often pay Yelp to advertise on their platform to generate more leads.
- Facebook Business. If you thought Facebook was just for catching up with friends and family members, think again. According to Statista, Facebook currently has over 2.27 billion users, many of whom use the social media platform like a search engine. Users will often perform local searches, such as “restaurants near me” or “clothing stores nearby”, which result in dozens of local search results appearing in the Facebook Business listing results. Many younger Facebook users also prefer to contact a business through social media instead of picking up the phone or sending an email, so it’s essential to have a business profile on this social platform. After creating a free business page, Facebook allows you to customize your page with a profile picture, cover photo, business name, address, and other information.
- Bing Places for Business. Not to be outdone by Google’s local business listing product, Bing launched their business directory. While Bing does not receive as much search traffic as Google, they still command a large portion of the search market. Businesses would be doing themselves a disservice to neglect their local business listing product. Bing Places for Business is free and allows you to add multiple business locations, photos, videos, and company contact information. The best part about Bing Places for Business is their verification process; you can either verify your listing via a company email address, via a phone call or through a mailed postcard.
- Yahoo Business Listing. Millions of people use Yahoo’s search engine on a daily basis, which means if you list your business through them, you are bound to see an influx of traffic on your website. The Yahoo Business Listing — like many major listing sites — is free to set up. However, the basic listing does not allow business owners to add or edit some information, which is why many opt to pay the $9.95 a month to add photos and a company description. Want more? Yahoo also has a $29.99 per month package which adds your business to more than 40 other popular business directories. With this premium monthly service, Yahoo is responsible for creating, updating, and maintaining your business listings, which is perfect for busy business owners.
- Foursquare for Business. Website design, local listings, social networking — Foursquare just about does it all. Foursquare is perfect for restaurants, retail shops, and other businesses that have a brick and mortar location because they have their high-powered map that users can take advantage of when searching for what businesses are nearby. This popular local listing site has more than 60 million registered users and over 50 million active monthly users. They also provide a mobile app so that users can comment about the experience they had at a local business. While the listing isn’t free ($20), business owners only have to pay a one-time fee to update their business name, phone number, address, and upload photos.
- YellowPages. Do you deliver goods or services to your customers? If so, YellowPages is the local business directory for you. YellowPages recently boasted an average monthly user count of over 70 million. YellowPages is also one of the oldest directories available (remember when they mailed those huge books out?), so you don’t want to miss the opportunity to add your company to this listing. With a high domain authority, YellowPages will often show in search results for local searches because the information they provide is relevant to the user. Yellowpages is free and requires a phone verification to claim a business listing, but once the listing is claimed, you can immediately add photos, product or service information, industry certifications, and more.
- MerchantCircle. The ultimate small business local listing site, MerchantCircle is a free network dedicated to making sure users find your website. One thing that makes MerchantCircle stand out against other business directories is their ability to connect businesses to other small businesses. Networking is a huge factor in ensuring you are keeping up with your industry, so this directory allows you to post business blogs and take advantage of free marketing tools. Claiming a listing is easy and only requires an email verification, though it may take a few days for your listing to become available to the general public. Don’t forget to update your company name, hours of operation, business photos, phone number and website URL.
- SuperPages. Free and user-friendly, SuperPages helps millions of users find what they’re looking for. SuperPages is ideal for small businesses such as salons, gift shops, clothing stores, restaurants, bars, sports clubs, and just about any local establishment. While not the most extensive directory on our list, they make up for this via their superb customer service. For any business owner who sees a mistake in their local business listing information, SuperPages displays their support number front and center. To set up your free listing, you will need to fill out a form detailing your company information. Once the listing is live, users can write reviews and upload photos of your business.
- Angie’s List. Often on par with the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List is a revered local business listing site that offers users a rare glimpse into how well a business provides a particular service. Businesses who want to be listing with Angie’s List will need to bay a monthly fee, but the return on investment is well worth it. The site is known for it’s honest company reviews and Super Service Award badges that businesses can earn for excellent service. With more than 720 industry categories to choose from and over 3 million active monthly users, there’s no shortage of information on this directory.
Adding your company to local business listings should be an essential part of any online marketing strategy. Boosting your site’s SEO and your brand’s visibility can help both new users and return users find your business online. Don’t forget that one of the best ways to ensure your listing is clicked on is by displaying a business logo. Adding a logo and other photos of your company will help online users better visualize what you have to offer. Start branding your business for local directories by designing a logo today!