August 14, 2015

Here’s how to get listed on local directories

There is a free and easy way for your business to be found online in multiple places.

All it takes is a bit of time and a lot of consistency.

The payoff is huge. Google will think your business deserves to be ranked on its search results, and human beings will learn more about you by seeing your business descriptions in a number of popular places.

Here’s how to become included in many of the directories that exist on the Internet:

Do your research. What online directories exist for your particular industry? We’ll propose a hypothetical business: chiropractic services in Fort Collins. If you search on that topic in Google, you’ll find the following directories with listings for chiropractors: Yelp, Health Grades, Yellow Book, WhoDoYou.com, Angie’sList, ChiroDirectory.com, Google Maps (also known as Places), and the Better Business Bureau.

Every one of these directories encourages participation by offering a few fields to fill in – and, voila! You are on their site, with a link back to your website, for free.

Brainstorm other directories that don’t show up early in your Google research. Consider your Chamber of Commerce, LinkedIn (the business-to-business social media platform), Manta, Dex (online), Yellow Pages (online), other search-engine maps such as Yahoo! and Bing, and your own industry’s publications and directories.

Make a spreadsheet of every directory that you discover in your research and your brainstorming. Put the URLs of the websites on the spreadsheet. Note the date you added your information into their fields – to remind you to go back in periodically to be sure you got listed and your information is current.

Simplify the process. Assign yourself or a team member a few directories every month to tackle – or let someone else do the work. To get correct, consistent and visible listings across the Web, without breaking a sweat, pay for a directory listing service.

Be consistent. Google will look for ranking signals for local search results in the NAP fields. NAP stands for “Name, Address, Phone.” So let your website footer be your guide. If you spell out “street” on your website, spell it “street” in every directory you choose to place your listing. Be sure to be consistent on your website itself as well. A consistent footer makes that easy; it just repeats exactly the same NAP on every page.

Be accurate. Check to be sure that your business always is putting its best foot forward. When you move, make it a priority to make across-the-board updates in all the directories.

Get productive. The more information you provide in the directory fields, the better found and appreciated your business will be. So go beyond the required fields. What optional information can you provide?

Encourage clients to review your business on the directories you’ve chosen. Ask them to review your business there. Give them a printed card that shows all the URLs for where you are listed. You mustn’t tell them to be favorable in their appraisal or ever suggest what to say – but you can absolutely make it easy for them to write a review.

You may have noticed that local search directories and maps show up prominently on your smartphone. So be careful: When you have five categories to choose from in describing your business on Google Places, be sure to make the first one the most important one! That’s literally what will put you on the map.

A real physical address, not your home and not a UPS box, is crucial to being listed on search-engine maps. When you select a service area, indicating that you don’t have a location for customers to come to, it makes you less likely to show up on Google Maps. They want people to be able to actually go to a store or office. My best advice? Purchase a mailbox in a real location, such as an executive office, for a small expenditure each month. Your criterion should be: Could Google (or Yahoo! or Bing) go take a picture of where I say my business is located?

Get listed! When you have your listing in multiple directories online, Google takes more notice of you and ranks your website higher over time. Further, human beings will learn about you in lots of places, all for free. Some of those human beings just might be your next customer or client. So go get listed!

Laurie Macomber, owner of Fort Collins-based Blue Skies Marketing, can be reached at 970-689-3000.

There is a free and easy way for your business to be found online in multiple places.

All it takes is a bit of time and a lot of consistency.

The payoff is huge. Google will think your business deserves to be ranked on its search results, and human beings will learn more about you by seeing your business descriptions in a number of popular places.

Here’s how to become included in many of the directories that exist on the Internet:

Do your research. What online directories exist for your particular industry?…

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