Use Online Business Directories to Improve Local Search Results

by: | September 12, 2011

Search engine optimization can be time-consuming and costly. Creating fresh, new web content, fine tuning your keyword and linking strategies, and continually tweaking your website represent resource intensive work. Now with Google’s Panda update to its algorithm, your site needs to be useful, fun, and shareable, along with the baseline optimization techniques.

Optimizing is also highly competitive, so it makes sense for a small business to start by optimizing for brand-related searches (searches where users may already know your business name and seek your website by entering your brand name) and local search results (showing up high against local competition from your neighborhood, city, county, etc.). When optimizing your website and online presence, one of the simplest steps a business owner can do to help build local search awareness is to leverage the listings in the dozens of online business directories, which will be listed momentarily.

There are tons of these services out there. Generally, their free search listings allow you to include your business name, logo, business description, brands carried or specialties, phone number, hyperlink, and hours of operation. Google allows the addition of one video and a small gallery of images. For a small-ish monthly fee, Google let’s you run online specials or ads as well as giving you the ability to run search result ads for the maps. They also allow Facebook-like status updates for your business. Many of these services offer paid subscriptions. Upgrades to paid accounts allow you to add multiple videos, images, and other features, but it’s really not necessary.

These directories include directory listings like Dex or Merchant Circle, to geolocation services like Gowalla, and rating sites like Yelp.

Some of these directories are:

You can either create a profile on these sites or claim your business if it already exists. Getting your business in as many of these directories as possible helps in three ways:

1. You get a very small boost in authority from back links to your site.

2. This helps to get you on the map— literally— because it will present concise and uniform location information about your physical address.

3. Most importantly, it assists you in dominating local and brand related search engine ranking pages (SERPS). This means when somebody searches for your company, “Prestige Worldwide” or “Prestige Worldwide media,” that the results pages, at least the first one or two, should be dominated by your brand. In this scenario, will show up, but so will all the listings in these directories along with the social media pages, blog or news articles, and other press about your business. This helps decrease the possibility of competition and other similarly named businesses from clouding the results you should own.

Work to develop simple messaging for your business in its description, slogan or tagline, and brands and/or services. Place that copy along with accurate location info, phone number, and hours of operation in all of the free directories you can find, and you will cast your online net further while enforcing your brand.Marketing Zeus

Discover a variety of ways to improve your ranking on Google by going through all of the steps recommended by Prinzo in The Mystery of the Google Search Algorithm and check back soon for a full update on working these tips with Google’s Panda update.

Posted in: Affiliate, B2B, B2C, Branding, Campaign Development, Content, E-Commerce, Geolocation, Lead Generation, Link Building, Local, Local Search, Optimization, Rich Media, Social Networks, Usability

About the Writer:

John Prinzo is a Rollins College graduate and has an MS degree from Full Sail University in Internet Marketing. He began his digital career as a Project Manager for Lightmaker in Orlando, FL – a renowned digital agency. He is currently the Digital Marketing & PR Specialist for Orlando Health. John is an avid music fan and writes and photographs as a freelance music journalist. He collects his music coverage on his Orlando music blog, Kisses & Noise. His focus is on project management, digital strategy, copywriting, SEO, social media, blogging, and rocking out.

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