We have many small business clients that do their own search engine optimization. In fact, we encourage it if the client has the time to do it correctly.
I am saying this in the beginning because I get asked all the time why we give away information and teach our clients to optimize their websites when they could pay us to do it. The answer is simple, we live in the real world and we are here to support our clients in any way we can. They are going to do it anyway; they might as well learn to do it the right way. Then when they get so busy they don’t have time, they will call us. Now that business is out of the way, let us move on to this week’s post.
One of the most important aspects of local search is building up links that refer to your company’s information including Business Name, Address, Phone Number, URL, etc. Local Search Directories are the best places in which to add information about your business and by popular opinion, are replacing the big bulky phone books. Some examples are yelp, merchant circle, google local, yahoo local, and more. Here are 5 musts if you are going to go it alone.
Keep your NAP (Name, Address, & Phone Number) consistent across all directory listings.
This is the primary information used to build your name up for the area you are in. If you have inconsistent NAP data out there you will not get ranked as well. If you are starting with an established business first check to make sure that your listings are consistent. If not, claim the listing and correct the problem.
There are many providers out there that provide call tracking. The way they do this is use another phone number which forwards to your number allowing you to see how many people called you from that listing. When it comes to local search do not do it. This creates inconsistent phone numbers across your listings and can hurt your rankings. Providers such as CityGrid, ReachLocal, YellowPages, and a few others do it. If you have a little time you can request that the not add call tracking to your order. If you have already done it, call them up and request it be removed right away. If you need help with this let us know.
Many local search directories will allow you to upload pictures of your office, store, and your products. Add as many images as you can and spread them out across the different directories. Don’t make them all look the same. Chances are that the same person will come across your listing on two different directories.
Tip: Add new photos and remove old photos often. This updates the data on the directory.
Use Your Website URL
Post the link to your website in your directory listing. If someone wants to check you out they can click through to your website. You can check where your traffic is coming from in your google analytics account.
Use a working email address
Many directory listings also accept reviews and will email you when someone posts something about your business. It is a good idea to respond to online reviews right away if you use an email address that is rarely checked chances are you won’t know the review is there. Some directories will also send you updates on how often your listing was seen and how the person interacted with it.
Post offers if available
Posting an offer on your listing is the best way to get someone to click on your listing and take action. Make sure and keep your offers up-to-date so potential customers can see current offers and not just expired ones.
Tip: The goal of directory listings is to build up the links coming into your website. We do not recommend reciprocal listings unless it is absolutely necessary.
Directory listings are not hard to do, mostly they take time to add the information, verifying your listings, and keep the information up to date. Not all directories are created equal if you need a list of the ones we recommend based on your industry let us know and we will send it over.