You say you want more customers and that you need to know how to improve your business appearing in local searches online? Then you’ve come to the right place.
First off, let me ask you this … have you completed basic SEO on your website yet?
If your answer is “no”, then please … bookmark this post, and then go and do basic SEO on your website, before doing anything else. Once completed, come back here so you can learn yet another simple way to increase SEO.
The Advantages to Being Listed in Online Directories
Please make sure that you read this entire post as there are GREAT tips offered here, and I want YOU to gain full benefits for the time you will need to spend increasing your SEO, using the suggestions shared here. So now, let’s get started …
If you think directories are dead, you are WRONG!
The printed versions of local directories that come to our doors yearly are becoming thinner and thinner, and now most business owners simply toss them into their recycle bins upon receiving them, knowing they can find what they are looking for faster online!
I’m certain those printed directories ARE suffering from our no longer being fully dependent on them and may be the reason they have decreased the geographic area of coverage offered in their printed versions … making their printed versions even LESS desirable … but … that’s their choice.
From what I have learned, many seniors are now saving their old, thicker (but outdated) printed telephone directories, or they are calling others who have the necessary devices to access the internet, in order to now find local businesses.
Online directories offer local businesses a great way to gain quality backlinks … the kind that search engines like Google LOVE … and another means of getting your business listed and out there in front of your potential customers.
Recently, I have collected a list of 39 local to southern Ontario, Canada, online directories (by NO means a thorough list as new directories are being created all the time!) and I will gladly share my list with you here. The spreadsheet was created using Excel v2007, and will be able to be used in this version of Excel and newer (but not older versions of Excel).
When submitting your listing to directories, first make sure the particular directory you want to list your business details with, is relevant for YOUR local business. In other words, if your business is located in Toronto, do NOT waste time trying to obtain a listing in, say, a directory for Kingston, Ontario.
However, for those of you who do NOT live in this area, here is what I recommend you do in order to create your very own, unique list of online directories that you can use for YOUR local business. You can try conducting an online search for, say, “online directories [your city name goes here], [your province or state name goes here]”, without the quotation marks, of course.
Done correctly, listings entered into online directories will gain your business so much new SEO that you will be very surprised. The reason I say that you will be surprise is that the directory listings provide your site with quality backlinks … and as a bonus, most (if not all!) of your competition still don’t get it … they are NOT listed in online directories!
The key to your online directory listings (some call “local citations”) is this … consistency. You must make sure your NAP is consistent and that ALL of your listings are done exactly the same.
What is NAP and Why is it Important to be Consistent?
NAP is short for Name, Address and Phone … and, it is important to your site’s SEO.
Here’s why …
Search engines use software called spiders to index the internet. Being consistent with HOW your business listings appear online improves the chances that the search engine’s software gives credit where credit is due.
Wavering even remotely on your business listings could cost your website the credit of a directory listing that you have spent time creating. So, when submitting your details to online directories you need to make sure your listings are done EXACTLY the same.
By this I mean that your province (or state) is displayed EXACTLY the same as is on your website. So … if you have abbreviated your province (or state) then make SURE your directory listings use EXACTLY the same abbreviation.
Same goes for your telephone number! If you like to write your telephone number down something like this: (102) 555-1212 or 102.555.1212 or 102-555-1212 … then make sure you use the SAME format EVERYWHERE online … and, YES, even on your website.
Do NOT offer different telephone numbers on different directory listings.
If for ANY reason, you have to change your business telephone number, then make sure your online directory listings are ALL changed to match the new number, as soon as humanly possible.
Personally, I have found it much easier to use my online business email account … one I’m NOT using to communicate with customers, that is … and do ALL my directory listings from. In this way, all directory listings will be using the same email address to communicate with me should there be ANY problem, AND I don’t have these emails mixed with any issues that might need my immediate attention (customer’s needs).
Using a spreadsheet to maintain EXACTLY what you do is the best way to ensure that you are consistent with your submitted entries to online directories.
The reason I stress the importance of this is that search engine software looks for consistency when looking to rank a website. Ignoring your NAP consistency COULD cost you when it comes to ranking in local search results for your business.
Now I have a great suggestion for those of you who would like to:
a) take a test run to see if your business is in fact listed correctly online or you have
b) decided that you want someone to submit and build your business citations for you because you are just too busy running your business to take the time to do this properly.
This is where I can recommend a service to you that I know can do either one … or BOTH: https://whitespark.ca/tools/ (link opens in a new window). Their services are sure to help your site rank improve, driving more business to your door!
If this post has helped YOU understand the need for consistency with your submissions to online directories then please DO share this post with your friends.
Credit for Header: image by animatedheaven improvement progress growth content on Pixabay