Connecting with local customers is a crucial part of any business, and effectively applying the benefits of local listings is an excellent way to do this. As growing numbers of customers search for products, businesses, and information online when researching a purchase, it becomes increasingly important to focus on providing accurate information to the customers searching near you.
Luckily, there are a number of free local business listings that can put you on the map and give your potential customers all the information they need to discover your business. Online directories have replaced regional newspapers and yellow pages, allowing customers to search within an area or industry. All of the major search engines pull data from trusted listings that businesses can access and fill out.
Google results feature a number of local options right at the top of its search results, and this information is largely pulled from its local listings at Google+. You can give your business a sizable boost by filling out your online profile and appearing among these results.
Local listings can include a variety of information, including:
- Name, address, and phone number (NAP)
- Hours of Operation
- Payment Methods Accepted
- Description of the Business
- Customer Reviews
In addition to providing your customers with information when they search locally, these local listings also provide significant SEO benefits for your website. The vast majority of local business listings will include an area for a link to your website, providing a valuable back link. You can usually also include another link in the description text.
Ensuring that the information in your listings is consistent also provides search engines with trusted information about your business, which can improve your rankings.
Many businesses offer a local listing service to complete these profiles on your behalf, but proceed with caution. Companies that use an automated system for this task often end up with listings that are incomplete, inconsistent, or missed as they cannot be completed without a verification of some sort. Personal attention to your listings is worth the time spent and is the only way to ensure that they are all offering the most benefit. Ensure that the company you're considering will be giving every one of your listings personal attention.
Free Local Business Listings
There are hundreds of local listing directories available, with varying degrees of reliability and benefit to your business. Here are some of the top free local listings available for you to take advantage of:
- Insider Pages
- Best of the Web
- Merchant Circle
- YP (Yellow Pages)
- Super Pages
- Show Me Local
- Hot Frog
- Angie's List
- CityGrid | CitySearch
- Express Update
Taking the time to fully complete these listings is definitely worth the effort. Not only are you more likely to show up for customers at the top of a local searcher's results, but your website will also gain valuable SEO benefits.