Why Bother With A Business Listings Directory?

Getting your business’ Name, Address, Phone number (NAP), and any other details into a business listing can not only improve local SEO for a web presence but it just might be found by that random searching buyer. NAP, including hours of operation, information is routinely cross-referenced by search engine algorithms; for instance, it will compare listings against a website’s information. A search engine will look to see that a business has local on and off-website information consistency.

And while there are as many as 200 ranking signals for a web presence and its target keywords, according to ‘Moz research’ – listing directories and citations are ranking factors that matter competitively for the local business.

 

Business Listings Local SEO


The Top Local Business Directories ( 18 ) 

 * list is part research, part our experience, and therefore part our opinion 
  1. Google My Business – Simply the most visible listing information, bar none and by far
  2. Bing Places – A lot of people use MSFT devices and they are being pushed towards Bing Search, Bing Images, and Bing listings
  3. Facebook – FB business pages are a lot of things, including important contact information and website back-links
  4. Apple Maps/ Siri, unless you register directly which can be a headache, draws on a few databases including its own Apple Maps, also Google for the lion’s share, and Bing for image-related search data
  5. Amazon/ Alexa – not so much a directory and really for when folks use an Alexa device, but Alexa draws upon its own and also Bing search results, but is believed to trail in terms of its’ local search results
  6. Yahoo – still relevant!
  7. Yelp – they developed a bad rap for using bad reviews as a sales tool “quid pro quo” if you will, but ‘bad rap’ and all and they still matter
  8. Yellow Pages
  9. Chamber Of Commerce
  10. HotFrog
  11. Superpages
  12. MerchantCircle
  13. Better Business Bureau
  14. Nextdoor
  15. eLocal
  16. DexKnows
  17. Alignable
  18. Local.com

Concerns With Business Directories

  1. Some directories will already have the business listing in their database, but whether or not  it does – it will still require registration, then some form of verification process to get in control of the listing…  and that can take a lot of valuable time;
  2. There are so many local business directories, their value with ‘people that search’ is often nil’ or irrelevant;
  3. There are so many directories that search engines may not value their content and/or its’ backlinks;
  4. Very few directories get meaningful traffic, so it is hard to know which directories truly matter or how much;
  5. The directory business model is typically to sell upgrades & advertising, potentially leaving a free registered listing in an obscure place or, worse, at the mercy of the directories advertising sales objectives;
  6. It is difficult to know which directory will value the listing content and which will abuse it as an opportunity to redirect visitors to their advertisers’ AND 
  7. In order for folks to give you a review, they will be forced to register personal accounts … discouraging many. 


Listing Services And Local SEO

With Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for Small Businesses, we’re talking about getting visible to qualified shopping consumers in a locally specific geographic area, including voice-driven search. Kinetic Knowledge is a small to medium-sized business digital marketing agency offering expert SEO, Copywriting & Blogging, Social Media Marketing, and Directory Listings Management. Ask us about getting your business listings under control and completely optimal today!

 

Does Your Business Have An Accurate Directory Listings Profile

Accurate Directory Listings & Citation Profile | Kinetic Knowledge Monmouth County NJ
Most business owners find that creating an accurate consistent directory listings profile is too overwhelming a project to thoroughly complete. No one enjoys going through a verification process one directory listing website after another only to then receive an advertising sales onslaught of calls & email. And while no one signal wins the local SEO battle, in what is a very competitive web environment, listings & citations do matter! 

It is important to understand that information inconsistency a) will often confuse consumers and b) be counted by search engines as a negative signal. Listings are an important local search ranking signal, but often they are left untouched due to the overwhelming task at hand. One must work through each, then be prepared for an ongoing (one by one) management process. So get your NAP/ business name, address, phone, website link, even hours of operation consistent between website and the relevant business listings. By doing so,  your online presence will present as reliable to search engine algorithms. That’s right, search engines cross-reference information on directory listings they trust with your website.

4 out of 5 consumers search locally (according to Google), so listings & citations matter when it comes to your business being found. NAP stands for name, address, and phone number, but at minimum assume it includes a website link and hours of operation. Listing sites like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yelp.com and/or some others can matter! In fact, anywhere your NAP is mentioned – that is considered a citation. If your NAP is on a town or an association website – that is a citation. 

The Downside Of Directory Listings & Citations

 

Maintaining consistent and accurate listings is time-consuming. Going through each listing one by one and completing what follows can take more time than most business owners have or wish to commit. What’s more, it puts you in view of each listing site’s advertising sales effort. To accomplish a consistent listing/citation profile you’ll need to:

  1. Create business listings at leading directory sites, one by one and each via a verification process.
  2. Create a Google my business profile, including listing, which is the no. 1 most important listing!
  3. Create a Facebook business page.
  4. Create a Bing Places account, including listing. 
  5. Clean-up inconsistencies and in any existing citations you have setup.
  6. Prepare to manage these listings, one by one, as is necessary. 
  7. Find and build niche (e.g. your associations) and/or location-specific citations (e.g. town directories).
  8. OR, if budget allows, find a service that offers Search & Directory Listings Management.


Directory Listings & Citations Pay Off


While it can be a long and tedious project (or an outsourced cost), having a complete and accurate citation profile is good for business! It’s certainly not the whole picture, not even hyper-locally and so far as search engines go, but your business will see an improvement in local visibility & rankings once everything is in order.


The Importance Of Directory Listings Is Clear


So if it wasn’t clear before, accurate business listings are valuable signals in the local ranking of your business. The competition is always coming online, so it is necessary to consider getting an accurate listing/citation profile. If the time necessary is too much we can help with Listing Plans, Fundamental Local SEO, broader SEO & Social Media Plans.
If listings are all that is needed, have a look at our Kinetic Knowledge Search & Directory Listings Management Plan

  • To get the most important citations accurate & consistent (59-60)
  • To gather website back-links
  • To generate review alerts
  • To be able to update or change information immediately across all listings when things change
  • To add enhanced service & management profiles, including images and back-links AND
  • More… have a look and please do not hesitate to ask any questions at all.

Small Business SEO MistakesSmall Business SEO Mistakes

In terms of visibility to the searching prospects that a business would want to attract online, there is no ‘one SEO fits all plan’. Throwing every imaginable signal at a hyper-competitive search engine result target isn’t always the best course of action, nor is it always necessary. Better to build the fundamental SEO signals correctly first. Then pursue an analysis of where the business sits versus its competition in order to determine what is necessary going forward. While most will fail to execute on even the most obvious requirements, some competition is going to be there and the analysis will show how much. What follows is a list of the most common small business SEO mistakes, the cost being leads & new business captured cost-effectively. Where is your business on these?

The Most Common Small Business SEO Mistakes

1. A lack of dedication to pages that specifically detail each service offered:

Google’s algorithm identifies, then ranks pages for keywords based upon what it sees as useful subject-specific content. The key being ‘is the page worthy of human consumption?’ One page with a list of services is a mistake, it ruins any chance of competing for the qualified traffic searching for specific services.

2. A lack of a commitment to timely content:

Google’s algorithm also seeks new & timely information and so it values websites that produce it. A website that never updates its pages or that has no blog to cover timely ‘question & answer topics’ related to its services fails to support what Google is looking to recommend.

3. No geographic specifics:

Most small businesses operate in a particular area and Google believes a local business is the better answer to a local search. If a business fails to demonstrate service authority for specific geography when Google is looking for those local answers, then the business is going to be compared to a much larger less specific set of competitors. As a result, it is less likely to be visible for them. Establish locally first, then build content to conquer more (towns, counties, state) geography.

4. Incomplete NAP contact information:

A detail like ‘hours of operation’, for example, matters to Google when ranking a local web presence. Many fail to show hours with their contact information and are, at certain times, ignored in search results because of it. All primary contact information is cross-referenced against local listings, so your website needs to have things like name, address, phone (NAP), and even hours all accurate & consistent.

5. Incomplete Google My Business Tools:

Google favors certain types of content generated with its’ own free tools. Once verified and properly executed, these Google My Business tools will matter a great deal. And don’t rule out posting to the listing or adding pictures, in some business cases it can add more value than social media.

6. Inaccurate search & directory listings:

Not to say they are more visible than a content-rich website, but some search and directory listings matter! Search engines will crawl these listings as a (NAP) name, address, phone, and more information accuracy cross-reference. If those listings are consistent with the website it is a positive ranking signal. Descriptions, categorization, the keywords used, and links back to the website may all matter. When a lead ends up on its business listing- if nothing else, that business certainly wants it to be accurate and useful.

7. Sending reviews to the wrong place:

Google still dominates search: it prioritizes reviews published on a Google listing in its Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Good reviews are hard to get so be smart and send folks to where they are going to be seen the most by far … and that is your Google listing.

8. Failure to present website page meta tags:

Search engines crawl meta tags. There’s even a description tag believed NOT to be used for competitive ranking; however and because it becomes a part of your search result, it still serves as a tactical means for enticing traffic … making it useful to your SEO.

9. Failure to leverage basic web page link opportunities & techniques:

Search engines crawl & evaluate all links, including a) to other relevant pages in the website, b) that link off the website to useful supporting information and c) that come in from other relevant websites. Do NOT fail to leverage these links! For instance, a link from a trusted search & directory listing or related industry association website.

10. Website solution choice:

Many website solutions limit fundamental tools, customer support, or worse, they trap a user’s web presence in its’ host environment. Why allow someone else to own the indexing, links, bookmarks, social likes & shares, and all the signals a website accumulates over time? A cheap or free website is likely serving someone, but it never prioritizes the average business using it. Business owners should own and control a website they can forever rely upon and grow.

11. Website Host solution choice:

The cheapest host solution is almost always shared too much; it limits bandwidth & loads too slow, and it offers minimal security. And good luck with any service that ever matters.

12. A lack of website & web presence assets management:

In this day and age, a serious business likely needs website and other web presence assets management. If assets aren’t managed in support of one another, any web presence will inevitably become a regrettable waste of time, effort, and resources.

In Summary

There is no ‘one web presence SEO fits all business plan’. It’s why it is always best to start with the fundamentals, to measure placement, & competition, and then to assess whether or not those fundamentals are enough to drive leads. They just might be, so getting the fundamentals right not only saves money versus throwing it at all kinds of unnecessary signals, but it sets the benchmark for determining whether or not managing them going forward is enough. Or, if competition is such, there is a need to build.

Ask us about our affordable fundamentals-based SEO Plan and also overall digital assets management options. Let us help you get organized, drive leads and save money!

Ever Wonder What Your Business URL Should Have Been?

 

local seo nj

Small Business SEO NJ

URLs or Domains are necessary, at least, if a business wishes to have a live website online. A Business URL or domain is also a marketing tool and it can support the business brand; however, URLs do not correlate to competitive search engine rank or visibility unless they are supported by many other important SEO signals. It is important to understand that Search Engines prioritize ‘the best answers’ to a search or a question! They will scrutinize so many other things (up to 200, depending on the level of competition) to rank a website’s pages. A domain, no matter how close to the ‘subject search’, does not equate to a ‘best answer’.

Generally speaking, a business URL or domain name can be the exact name of the business; it may only be related to the name of that business, or to its service. It can be both the name and service, but mostly it will serve as where the business is located on the web. For local service-based businesses, there are generally 3 types of domain names:

  1. Branded Domain
  2. Keyword Domain
  3. Hybrid Domain

See more detail on these 3 below.

Business URLs Matter Little When It Comes to Competitive SEO


Regardless of the business URL or Domain your business chooses, it is always important to understand that you cannot game Google’s system with it. Google, Bing, and the other engines only prioritize the best answers to a person’s search (or their question). A domain, no matter how close to the ‘subject search’, does not amount to a ‘best answer’.

“Just because keywords are in a domain name doesn’t mean that it’ll automatically rank for those keywords. And that’s something that’s been the case for a really, really long time.” – John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst – Google

Unless there is no competition for the answer to a search and that is 99.99% completely unlikely in a world gone online, a website or a website page’s status as the best answer MUST be earned. And that is going to be based on up to 200 competitive signals, none more important than the content of the page itself.

Given the choice of A) an unrelated domain name page with great content, great use/presentation of its keywords, trusted backlinks, supportive outbound links, lots of user activity (competitive measurable examples), and B) a keyword-based domain without, the latter or B) stands no chance. Sure a unique and memorable domain is good, but a unique and memorable domain that also supports people with the information they seek is infinitely better.

1. What Is A Branded Domain Name?

A branded domain is the use of a brand or business name itself. Like, for example, Kinetic Knowledge is both our companies name and our business URL.

Our name reflects a theory we had when we got started about 17 years ago. That was related to our belief that success online starts with and is directly related to knowledge-based content. If that knowledge could be published then moved out through different channels like search engines, social networks, and email then it could be ‘Kinetic’. Kinetic meaning ‘… of, related to or produced by motion’ and in our view relating it to and supported by the nature of the web. If so a business could, in theory, build visibility with and hopefully attract traffic to where it could be converted to leads.

And so ours is an example of a “Branded” domain name. Please note that kineticknowledge.net or kineticknowledge.org, for example, are also branded domains. In these cases, we are only referring to the root domain and not the “TLD”. The ‘root’ domain is the part before the dot. What comes after the dot is the “TLD”, or Top Level Domain, like “.com”, “.net” or “.org”.


2. What Is A Keyword Domain Name?

Many local businesses will serve one geographic area for a particular service. For example, consider a theoretical local contractor in Belmar NJ named ‘Jones Construction’. It might be common for this business to try and purchase a domain like “belmarnjconstruction.com” and this would be a keyword-based domain. An “Exact Match Domain” (EMD) would match a targeted keyword exactly, like maybe “construction.com”, if that was was even available.

The domain “belmarnjconstruction.com” might be the best idea in terms of a Keyword Domain used for identification amongst local prospects.


3. What Is A Hybrid Domain Name?

A hybrid domain name, obviously, is a mix of the two or ‘Jones’ and ‘Construction’. So a brand and a keyword in the domain like, for instance, maybe “JonesConstruction.com.”

Ask us about local SEO and getting your business set up to compete online successfully!