Why Bother With A Business Listings Directory?

Getting your business’ Name, Address, Phone number (NAP), and any other details into business listings can not only improve visibility to random searching leads but improve local SEO for a website. NAP (including hours of operation) information is routinely cross-referenced against a website’s own NAP information for local info-consistency by search engine algorithms. And while backlinks are only one ranking signal for websites and their pages, according to Moz research listing directories and local citations are still a ranking factor that can matter competitively for the local business.

 

Business Listings Local SEO


The Top Local Business Directories ( 18 ) 

 * This 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 even if not it will require registration and then some form of verification process that can take a lot of valuable time;
  2. There are so many local business directories the value (in general) may be diluted to irrelevant with the ‘people that search’;
  3. There are so many directories that search engines may not value the listing content or its’ backlinks;
  4. Very few directories get big 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;
  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 other content 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 Business, 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 and Social Media Marketing and Directory Listings Management. Ask us about getting your business listings under control and completely optimal today!

 

Business Citations And Directory ListingsCitations And Directory Listings | Google Listing Local SEO


For your business information, citations and directory listings are off-website references that typically include name, address, phone number (e.g. NAP), hours of operation, website URL, and more. In many cases, depending on the directory, there are options for enhanced detail information.  These references will support a business’s competitive SEO and entry into both the ‘map pack’ and organic areas of a search results page.

What Citations And Directory Listings Do For Your Business

 

Have you ever wondered why competitors rank high in search results for local keywords? For many local businesses, SEO is undermined by its listings because the owners have either ignored or simply allowed these references to become inconsistent.

Sure, there are an enormous no. of signals that Google counts when comparing your business to the next one so listings are not the only signal, but one important detail the serious local small to medium-sized business can use to improve its local SEO is by getting its listings and citations under control, detailed and fully accurate!

Wait, what was that? People search and find business websites on Google, SO WHY would a business owner with a website bother chasing other directory listings & citations? Or better yet, how many people ever search for a “Home Builder” on Topix.com, yellowpages.com, or Yahoo.com? Mostly, they don’t; however, Google is a search engine (albeit it also offers a business listings directory of its own) that is looking to satisfy every person’s search in the best way possible.

Google & Bing actually scrape these third party business directories in order to take the consistency & accuracy of your citations and directory listings into account when determining whether or not to include your business in locally relevant search results. They mean to find and then compare the most relevant information available on any subject, locally. When there are lots of accurate references to a particular business, especially when those references are consistent with the website’s info, that is where citations can add a great deal of value.

Logically, a business with a lot of accurate citations online will have a far better chance of ranking high in Google local search results because those references help to demonstrate an accurate local presence. And while Google isn’t disclosing which listing sites they trust or value the most, you can certainly do a quick business-specific search and draw your own conclusions. Many of the ‘search and directory site listings’ for that business are going to be there, especially Google!


Getting Your Business Listings & Citations RightLocal Ranking Factors Directory Listings And Citations

 

But who has the time to register, then manage verification and a per-directory learning curve of options in order to get more listings? Who has the time to update them, for instance, when a phone number changes? It’s even more challenging when you consider that no one knows which citations truly matter to Google, so where is an investment of time best spent?

It’s where a service like ours shines! It is also an easy way to build back-links safely, without running the risk of raising red flags. And while Google doesn’t necessarily count all listing back-links, its algorithm certainly counts some of them!


Our Listing Citation Service Benefits


For some, the management of listings is welcomed support. We can add a business’s information to most of the large meaningful search & directory listing sites, accurate & detailed. It will not only support a better competitive set of signals needed for higher Search Rankings but potentially more leads and customers. Check out our service, which can add that all PLUS a great deal more for your marketing mix! Also note, our Local Business SEO plans include Citations and Directory Listings!

Voice & “Near Me” Searches: Are You Prepared?Prepare For Voice Search


Nowadays, voice search is commonplace. People are using home-based devices like Amazon Alexa & Google Home, and they’re using iPhones & cell phones too. 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 old school about search, I have given in to that Google Voice Search mic’ set up on my cell phone. 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 search index databases. Those results are coming from a search engine like Google or Bing=Microsoft, so beware of those who suggest there’s a shortcut. As a business owner who wants to be prepared, you are still going to have to do Search Optimization!

So 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’s 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 Fundamental Local SEO. Research shows “near me” search growth at over 1,000% in the last 5 years, including for phrases like “contractor near me” or “store open near me now”.

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, if not warn, 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 Edition, Insurance, MRI, Rehabilitation)? Would education and/or instruction, maybe even ‘how-to’ content support them or entrust us as the right resource for them?

So PLEASE consider, are the answers to their questions available? 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 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? This is the no. 1 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 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. If you are not an Apple user and do not want to get into their process, our Local SEO and/or Search & Directory Listing services cover Apple Maps. If you are up to it, 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.

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 with them, 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.

LOCAL SEO, LEADS AND YOUR BUSINESS

local seo expert nj
Is a reliable local SEO (search engine optimization) strategy what is missing when it comes to driving more leads for your business? By optimizing a website, its pages, and various off-website citations you will build a means for targeting those people searching for the very services you offer. The consumers behind those searches are the most highly qualified potential leads on the web, simply because they are already looking for what you offer.

Let’s look at what you need to know about local SEO for your business.

SEO STANDARDS


Generally speaking, a successful SEO strategy must include important consideration for:

  • content or pages that answer the questions a visitor would be searching;
  • in-content optimization or pages that support how a search engine identifies & consumes those answers;
  • off-website optimization or reinforcement of the above from other trusted(?) websites via references, reviews & back-links AND
  • the analysis of what is working, what needs work, and what goals are or are not being achieved.

Visibility from an SEO effort requires work, including the build of the on and off-website signals that search engines value. And respect for a forever moving competitive set of search results is highly recommended! A search engine will re-weight any of the (up to 200) signals it uses at any time to compare one company’s website page to another. They do this in order to protect their search results and to be sure the answers to a search are the very best possible.


LOCAL KEYWORD RESEARCH

 

We cannot recommend good content enough, not to mention active content covering the business and its challenges; however, all of the above also requires keyword research. You must identify the words & phrases that qualified leads search! Then it is necessary to use those keywords well enough to impress search engines to not only rank your business for them but in high positions.

If you know that your business can support a particular area for potential leads then you’ll need to incorporate local geography, towns, counties, and your state in order to minimize who you are compared too. If you are a lawyer licensed to practice in NJ, there is no sense in being compared for (or generating leads from) the state of MI. You must target where you serve or accept that you will increase your competitive set while wasting time, effort, and money. In some cases, a town is all that is necessary. In others, it may be an entire state or a county, or three counties.

And while ‘near me’ searches are all the rage, a search engine must be able to identify how near you are to that search in order to consider you when serving its results. If you run a coffee shop in Austin Texas and target “best dark roast”, then knowing you have structured a web presence that obviously serves Austin matters. Surprisingly to some, search engines actually wish to rank locally relevant businesses over a national brand when possible because in many circumstances the local business is undoubtedly the better result.


LINK STRUCTURE

 

Links are where a lot of people get tripped up. You cannot necessarily control who links to your pages and you should never try to manufacture links either! Only links that a search engine trusts matter; links it does not trust can hurt you! Sure it can be good to accumulate links from directories, social media accounts, and other websites, BUT links only matter if the search engine deems them relevant and from a trustworthy source! Again, search engines protect their search results in order to be sure they are the very best they can possibly be. Is a random site trusted? Maybe, and maybe not. Is a directory listing or an association website trusted? It’s likely, but maybe not relevant!

Linking to different pages on our own website is a good practice so long as it improves the user experience, so far as Google sees it. The effort can help a search engine understand that pages you have linked add value for users. And adding the links in descriptive text matters, but be careful here. If your page is meant to detail authoritative local Mold Inspection experience and knowledge, well then do not link from in the words ‘mold inspection’ out to another page because that could be seen as a vote against the page it comes from.

You should certainly try to link back to your pages from social network account posts. Off-website reactions like sharing or links stemming from other people’s social network accounts may also serve as signals to a search engine that users are having a positive experience. Your Google listings offer a posting option and this is definitely a quality source of back-links! Ensure that all your local citations, search and directory listings are accurate for location, contact, website link, and hours of operation because this is also a signal search engines reference, at least from those directories it trusts. 



REVIEWS

Having positive reviews show up alongside a search for your business is invaluable. For many, you will gain an immediate sense of authority and trust. It can also raise a Google listing in the map pack area of a results page when a search is hyper-local. 

Your plan in place to increase reviews should include the following:

  • identify satisfied clients and ask for their reviews;
  • plan to help them give a review when necessary, possibly with step by step written instructions;
  • be prepared to send follow up requests;
  • setup alerts for all reviews in order to be informed when they occur AND
  • get informed on dealing with any negative reviews!


SEO ANALYSIS: YOU CANNOT GROW WHAT YOU DO NOT MEASURE

Once you begin implementing a Local SEO strategy, you MUST track and analyze your results! In doing so you will be able to see what’s working, what isn’t, and have a basis for what does and does not need work. Results analysis should, at least, include:

  • a reliable keywords ranking solution; 
  • a website traffic analytics solution;
  • an off-website traffic driver analytics solution;
  • a website health tracking solution; 
  • success data, to justify the effort and the cost AND
  • an appraisal of what, if any, needs work. 

 

LOCAL SEO EXPERT | LOCAL SEO AGENCY

At Kinetic Knowledge, we are local NJ SEO experts, a local SEO Marketing Company. We have helped hundreds of local businesses increase traffic, visibility, and leads through our Local SEO Packages and add-ons service solutions. We also offer custom website design packages! If you’re interested in experiencing the benefits of a well-executed local SEO effort contact us today to find out how we can help!