Here’s one of the easiest ways to increase the chances of your business being found online: Claim or create a listing for your business with an online directory service.
Online directory websites such as Google Local Listings, Yellow Pages, or Yelp can drive traffic to your website — and more traffic is good not only for business, but also for search engine optimization (SEO) and where your business lands on a search engine results page.
Even if you don’t have a website, businesses that list a current address, phone, and operating hours provide valuable information to the 97% of consumers who are searching online for local information.
According to a study conducted by Constant Contact, 85% of small businesses said it was important to be found on major search engines and online directory services.
But here’s the rub — and you may be guilty of this — nearly half, 49%, of small businesses have never updated their online listings; while 50% have seen listings for their businesses that were inaccurate.
Stake Your Claim
There is a good chance that your business is already listed with several directories, and is just waiting for you to claim it.
Simply search for your business on the site–there’s usually a button or link asking “Own this business?”
Take the time to complete the entire profile; some sites even allow photos. If your business isn’t listed, create a listing.
Action Step: Get Found
Below are the top four online directory sites along with a link to each to get you started.
Google Places for Business: The top priority for online directories. Google is the number one search engine with more than 3.5 billion searches per day. It’s free and listings appear on Google Maps. Claim or create your Google Places for Business listing.
Bing Places for Business: Bing is Microsoft’s counterpart to Google and ranks as the number two search engine. Listings on Bing are free and easy to set up. Claim or create your Bing Places for Business listing.
Yelp: Yelp is a great review site, but it’s more than restaurants and hotels. It’s also free and they provide insights including leads and views. Claim or create your Yelp for Business Owners listing.
Yellow Pages: Remember when that huge phone book would land on your front porch? Okay, I’m aging myself. Yellow Pages is the online listing directory for this century. It’s also free and easy to set up. Create your Yellow Pages listing.
There are many others, including Merchant Circle, manta, Local.com, Citysearch.com, Angie’s List, and more, and don’t forget your local Chamber of Commerce or industry-specific directories.
If you’d rather someone else create your listings, companies such as Single Platform or Yext.com will provide the service from $99 to $999, depending on the directories selected.
Start with the top four free sites listed above — the only thing you have to lose is being found.