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With search engines being one of the top ways consumers find local businesses, you’ve likely given some thought to how to improve your search engine optimization (SEO). Though a huge part of making your business search engine friendly means ensuring that your website meets Google’s specifications and that your content is aligned with what people search for, there is another tool that can make a big difference in helping consumers find you in their local search: getting listed in local directories.
In order to understand how local directory listings can help improve your search engine performance, it’s worth taking a look at some of the cues search engines such as Google use to determine how to rank local businesses within their results pages:
- Technical on-page factors such as sitemaps, URL structure, metadata and tagging
- Keyword usage and content
- Mobile optimization
- Consistency of details such as your business name address and phone number
- References and online links to your business by other credible websites, which act as “link juice” or votes of recommendation for your site
The reason local directories contribute so powerfully (to the last few cues in particular) is due to the emphasis search engines place on citations and link building to learn more about your business. Consistency is important here, search engines look for the exact same details and format in references to your business, and taking ownership of your local listings can help you ensure your information is the same in all instances. Even if the listing doesn’t have a link back to your website, search engines count the instance of the consistent information about your business as a citation and use this as a signal of trustworthiness.
When your business appears in local directories, you also benefit from the credibility local directory sites have already built up with search engines. Reputable listings sites such as YP.ca, Yelp, Yahoo and Mapquest have spent years building up their search engine authority by collecting multitudes of links back to their sites and user reviews. This is why when you conduct your own searches for businesses, you’re more likely to see directory sites within the first few results.
Appearing on these directory websites also gives you more credibility and therefore increases your visibility. For starters, your website gets a boost from the “link juice” conferred by the listing.
Secondly, even if someone conducts a local search for your business category but doesn’t seek out your business by name, information such as your location and business category may help your listing to appear within the search results. (Also, if you don’t yet have a website, listings in local directories can get accurate information about your business, such as your location, phone number and hours, in front of consumers who are searching.)
There’s benefit in numbers too: the greater the number of consistent listings of your business that exist across reputable websites, the greater your chances of turning up. This makes Yellow Pages NetSync, which includes listings on more than 40 key websites, directories and apps, a great solution for businesses that want to reap this benefit but are too busy to coordinate the creation of a high volume of profiles.
Become more visible today
If you want to get your local business found by prospective customers using search engines, getting listed on reputable directories is a step you shouldn’t overlook. Yellow Pages NetSync makes it easy to get listed across dozens of key directories, with one-step profile updates across all platforms should your details change.