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!

 

Is Your Business Prepared for Voice & “Near Me” Search?Prepare For Voice Search


Nowadays, speaking to do a search is commonplace. People are using home-based devices like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or their cell phones to do it. That’s right, our phones can be set up with an app’ for Voice Search. And so the question business owners should be asking is, “are we prepared for Voice Search?”

Admittedly, I am ‘old school’ about my cell phone. Even so, the Google app’ offers such convenience for searching by voice it is now front and center on my home screen. In doing so, I allow Google to identify my location so that it can answer questions with hyper-localized search results. NOTE: Regardless of how a person searches (keyboard or voice app), the results are still coming from the same search index database. Those results are coming from a search engine like Google or Bing=Microsoft, so beware of those who suggest there is some otherwordly solution for getting great search results. As a business owner who wants to be prepared, you are still going to have to do some local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)!

What does a business need to know? We’ll cover what’s necessary as well as Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Home (or Google Voice Search) for you in what follows below!

Preparing For Voice & Near Me Search With Content!

If you haven’t optimized your business for voice-driven searches, including locally-driven “near me” searches, it is time to get into it. In looking at how you optimize for voice & “near me” searches, we need to look at the importance of website content and also at other elements (i.e. enhanced listings) of Fundamental Local SEO. Research shows “near me” search growth at over 1,000% in the last 5 years, including phrases like “contractor near me” or “chinese food near me”.

It starts with content: what is your target consumer’s intent and are you ready for them? We recently wrote on the subject here, “DOES YOUR CONTENT MEET YOUR TARGET CONSUMER INTENT ONLINE?” in order to get business owners thinking about their content. Using content to meet target market searches. To use a Google recommended strategy, it’s a matter of anticipating micro-moments and having published content that supports them. Google actually introduced the concept of micro-moments broken down into I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, and I-want-to-buy moments in order to remind business marketers to think about addressing ‘intent’ with their content.

As locally driven business owners, we need to think more specifically: what do they want to learn about my products or services? Under what circumstances do they want to learn about them? What are they doing with our products or services (e.g. Home Inspection, Home Addition, Liability Insurance, MRI, Rehabilitation)? Would education and/or instruction, maybe even ‘how-to’ content support them or build trust as the right resource for them?

Consider, are the answers to their questions available on my web presence? Do you reinforce this information through your listings and/or your social media vis posts when/where possible?


Preparing For Voice & Near Me Search With Local SEO!

Let’s look at locally-driven priorities with our websites, our content, our listings, and our citations. Note: search engines cross-reference the most specific information on directory listings & citations (that they trust) with your website. They do it in order to determine consistent accuracy.

A) Does the website communicate a business location? Search engines look at the location in order to consider a business for hyper-local searches.
B) Does website content leverage opportunities to mention the areas where products or services are offered? This requires experience, tactics & finesse, depending on how broad that geographic target is. For example, have a look at GEO-TARGETING AND LOCAL BUSINESS AUTHORITY!
C) Have we created consistent accurate business listings at the leading directory sites, at least, including each one’s verification process? This can be managed aggressively and efficiently, for instance, by pursuing Local SEO Services.
D) Have you created a Google my business profile, including listing? Do you leverage it’s enhanced information opportunities? This is the no. 1 off-website and most important listing!
E) Have you created a Facebook business page?
F) Can you clean up inconsistencies in any existing listing or citation? This can be a headache, Local SEO and/ or Search & Directory Listing services can make managing this more efficient.
G) Prepare to manage these listings, one by one, as is necessary.
H) Find and build niche (e.g. your associations) and/or location-specific citations (e.g. town directories).


Preparing For Alexa, Siri, and Google Home or Google Voice Search

Then there’s the question, “How Does My Business Get Into Alexa, Siri and Google Home or Google Voice Search Search Results?” If you have ever thought Local SEO Services That Support Optimization For Voice Search about how then this should help you.

A) Google Home, Google Assistant, or Google Voice Search: the answer is all of the above. Google draws directly from its vast & current index of web pages, including those in its locally-specific organized indexes. This can be managed aggressively and efficiently, for instance, by pursuing Local SEO Services!

B) Apple’s Siri: how do we prepare for when people ask their Apple devices & iPhones for local services like contractors, legal and/or medical help? First off, Siri draws on a few databases including its own Apple Maps, also Google for the lion’s share of its responses and it uses Bing for image-related search data. Note: this may change in time. If you are not an Apple device user and do not want to get into their setup process, a Local SEO and/or Search & Directory Listing service like ours will cover Apple Maps. If you are up to their setup process, you must have an Apple ID# or you can also go to Apple Maps Connect here: https://mapsconnect.apple.com and begin their registration process. Optimization for Siri also requires that other local directory listings be consistent. Good reviews are going to matter and, being that they are competitive, it’s likely Siri will not draw upon Google listings for any there.

C) Amazon’s Alexa: how do we prepare for when people ask their Amazon Alexa devices for local services and search “near me”? As with the above, our Local SEO and/ or Search & Directory Listing services cover Amazon Alexa. The belief is that Alexa draws upon its own and also Bing search results. Good reviews are going to matter! And feeling competitive, it’s not likely Alexa will draw on Google listings. Ultimately, Alexa is believed to trail in terms of its’ local search results.

And so we’re hoping this post answers any questions you might have had about being prepared for Voice Search via Google Home/ Google Voice Search, Siri, and Alexa. If not, please do not hesitate to get in touch with questions. Our Local SEO and/ or Search & Directory Listing services can make managing it affordable and simple.

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!