Guest post by Sanket Patel
Today, local business information is available at the click of mouse. The advancement in technology has helped people explore local services and products online – both via computers and mobile phones. It was found in one study, that before making a purchase, 97% of people use the Internet to find services and product in their local area. Therefore, it has become crucial for even small business to get listed in local business listings.
What exactly is a local business listing?
Local business listings mean that one can promote one’s business among the local audience, who are the most likely potential customers. Basically this idea has come from the age-old concept of advertising in the local newspaper or yellow pages. It is a listing on search engines that shows the physical location of a company or business on a map with all the relevant information namely the websites, contact numbers, services offered etc. In the 21st century, all major search engines, like Google, Yahoo or Bing offer local business listings.
How are SEO & local business listing are associated?
Search engine optimization or SEO has great relevance with local business listings. SEO basically means optimizing the website for better ranking on search engines and the goal is to get online visitors and find the potential customers. Local SEO means that you focus on getting local customers to visit your site versus those of your competitors.
However, if you don’t proactively do some SEO optimization of your site and it’s listings on the Web, often customers will not be able to find it on line. This may adversely affect one’s business as it could lead to drop in sales. Here is where on line business listings come into picture.
The best part about local business listings is that they are not only easy to set up, but they are also free of charge.
Adding and validating your business in local business directories can greatly help you by increasing traffic in your website, attracting more customers, reducing marketing costs and also assisting in the search engine optimization efforts.
Lets us see how Local Business Listings can help your SEO campaign:
1) They expand your site visibility
Setting up business listings gives you better visibility online. After claiming an existing listing (or applying to start one if no listing exists), you can add business-specific details to the listing, insert pictures and videos, select the applicable categories, and even choose available features like coupons and map tags.
This helps you by giving your business listing better visibility and content and helps your page stand out in the search results (which are dedicated to your category of company).
Doing local business listings, you don’t need the services of web developers to upgrade your website, or for that matter search engine spiders to crawl your web page. Thus, you have created an additional source that will deliver your business information to search engines directly via the local business listing platform.
2) The provide inbound links
There are many local business directories that allow website owners to add a link to their website. With the help of this link, you can actually improve ranking of your search engine as backlinks are used by search engines to determine the authority of your website.
3) They increase website traffic
By being a part of a local business directory and having a complete profile, you have the opportunity to rank when people search for your type of business. When someone searches for your niche and location with a keyword, your profile page is searchable and you might be on top of the search results. This in turn, helps to increase traffic to your website (when people click to learn more).
Free Local Business Listing Sites
A Google local listing has become all the more imperative as Google features the localized results much before the organic listing does.
If your physical business enterprise has multiple locations then you must make use of numerous Google Places Business listings.
If you want to maximize your local business on Google, You must make sure to be present at three places. You can submit your business in three ways.
- Google Places
- Google Webmaster Tools
2. Yahoo Local:
The local search results of Yahoo are available at http://local.yahoo.com. Local listings are available for free, however listing enhancements may coast you $9.95/month. You can submit your local listing here: http://listings.local.yahoo.com/ (you would need to have a Yahoo account).
Yelp is an online city guide made up of user-generated reviews. Yelp has a large user community, which is independent from popular search engines. Hence, it is necessary for your business to be featured on Yelp in order to gain attention from this completely different and targeted audience.
Local.com is a search engine that lists local US businesses and currently is home to millions of business listings. You can claim your business listing if it already exists on the local.com database or create an entirely new listing for free.
HotFrog is a nice simple local business listing site, active in several countries around the world, including the UK and Australia.
Tips for Maximizing Your Local Listings
- Work consistently on improving your listing. For this you can incorporate new content, innovative photographs or anything interesting and new that will attract your target audience.
- You can subtly encourage testimonials and reviews about your product or services by the users as this will enable to increase the credibility of your business amongst new shoppers. This is most important if you are a new company, trying to expand your business.
- Be careful about explicitly asking for testimonials or paying for testimonials. This is generally against the terms of service of the various sites and can cause them to remove testimonials that don’t seem “natural”.
When can you expect to see results from local business listing?
It is rather difficult to say how soon you can expect results from a local business listing. In most cases, it does not take too long before you can reap benefits in the form of increased sales from the listing. In the worst case scenario, even if, you don’t make use of any kind of SEO services, it should not take more than a couple of months to see positive results from the listing. You should remember it is not a magic wand. With a little patience and submitting your business profile to numerous local business directories, you will definitely reach a wider audience of potential, local customers.
To sum it up, it can be said that with the aid of business listing service, you can see your business receiving enhanced web based attendance, greater reliability, and earn more profits.
Sanket Patel is the Founder of Blurbpoint.com. Leading SEO Company since 2006 specializes in Advance Guest Blogging Services, SEO Services, Link Building, Online Reputation Management, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing and many more. He deeply researched and developed the successful Panda/Penguin ultimate recovery process. Find me on Facebook or Twitter.