Increasing your brand’s exposure online can be as expensive or least expensive as you’d like it to be. One of the easiest ways to improve SEO for your website and get your brand in front of an online audience is to add your business to local online directories.
Local listing sites can be thought of as mini search engines; they exist to help customers find a business within their neighborhood, town, or city. While some local listing sites are only dedicated to helping users find a business in a specific industry, others will showcase just about any business in any industry as long as it has a physical address. No matter what industry your business falls under (whether it be a hair salon, restaurant, repair shop, or boutique), it is essential to create a profile on these directory sites.
The best part about adding your business information to local online listings is that it’s free — or at least most of them are. There are a handful of online directories that may require a small one-time fee to get your company listed or a monthly fee to have your business information routinely updated. However, there are thousands of other directory sites that you can add your business to at no cost.
Below are a few essential free local listing sites that you should look to add your business to as soon as possible. These sites tend to appear in local search results, have a positive reputation for being useful and resourceful, and have a high domain authority (which helps your SEO).
The Best Free Local Listing Websites
- Google My Business. The most popular search engine in the world also has a free local listing service for businesses. After claiming your Google My Business profile, when users search for your company name, this listing profile will appear on the right-hand side of their search results screen. This knowledge box will include reviews, hours of operation, website URL, and physical address.
- Facebook. Facebook for Business is a revolutionary way to expose your business to social media users. Setting up a Facebook Business account is as easy as setting up a personal account. Be sure to claim your Facebook Business page and fill out information such as address, phone number, and website. The more information you put on your Facebook Business profile, the more likely this page will appear in search results when users search for your brand name.
- Yelp. One of the most well-known local listing websites in the world, Yelp is free to set up and is one of the best listing directories for brick and mortar businesses. Restaurants, bars, salons, gyms, studios, hotels, venue spaces, clothing stores, handyman businesses, and more are listed across this site that welcomes millions of users every month. You can also opt to pay to advertise your business on their platform for added exposure.
- Foursquare. A location-based social platform that focuses on providing users with a map to see nearby businesses. Foursquare helps millions of people every month find local businesses such as bars, boutique shops, grocery stores, and contractors. The best part is that you can pay to create offers or promotions to attract more customers.
- Bing Maps. Another free listing directory offers by a major search engine is Bing Maps. Similar to Google My Business, claiming your Bing Maps profile is simple and straightforward and they welcome any business from any industry. Be sure to have images on hand to upload into the local listing profile, as well as information such as when your business was founded, your address, phone number, and website.
- Hotfrog. While not as well known as the first 5 local listing directories, Hotfrog is famous for its ease of setup as far as creating a profile is concerned. The listing platform will send you a confirmation email once you’ve added your company information, and then 24-48 hours later your local listing will be live for all to see. Hotfrog will also never try to upsell you on additional services, unlike some of the other free listing sites.
- MerchantCircle. One of the older local online business listings out there, MerchantCircle is perfect for business owners who aren’t looking to do anything fancy with their local listings but still want a quality backlink and online exposure. This listing site allows you to add all your standard NAP information while also giving business owners the ability to upload photos and even blog posts to the profile.
- YellowPages. Remember receiving that massive phone book every year that includes every business within your city? Today, YellowPages merely has taken all of this information and uploaded it online for all to access. Claiming your free YellowPages listing requires a quick phone verification, then you can add NAP information, photos, information about how your business started, and even list business credentials and awards.
- EZLocal. This free local listing site shows up often in local search results, which means creating a business profile on their platform is worth looking into. EZLocal allows busines owners to upload your standard business information (name, address, phone number) as well as payment methods and whether or not you offer free wifi at your location.
- LinkedIn. This networking site isn’t just for those seeking jobs or staying in contact with former university classmates. LinkedIn has become an essential business listing for consulting firms, lawyers, doctors, and philanthropists. LinkedIn for business allows you to upload information such as a bio, website, phone number, and you can even post blog posts or articles to your page.
How To Add Your Business To Local Listings
Ready to increase your business’ online exposure? To set up your free business listing profiles, all you need is a few hours, your business information at the ready, and a computer. For those who don’t have the time to sit down and add your company to dozens of free listings, there is the ability to have someone do it for you. For a small monthly fee, you can opt for a service that will create listings for you, update them when needed, and search and delete any duplicate profiles. Learn more about whether local listing service is right for you.