While many business owners recognize the growing importance of online marketing, too many others miss out on the valuable business opportunities presented by the internet in a world that is increasingly dependent on Smartphones, tablets, and laptops. For any business – but especially those that depend on a local customer base, such as service providers and brick-and-mortar shop fronts – attracting local customers through online efforts can often be a determining factor of success, which is why Local SEO efforts are so important and why as a business owner, you can’t afford to miss out on listing your business in the most important online business directories.
According to searchengineland.com, 78% of local-mobile searches result in an offline purchase. This means that if your business doesn’t appear in Google+ Local and Google Maps results, you are missing out on a huge amount of customers that are actively looking to purchase what you have to offer!
Local Directory Listings Help Any Business
Even without investing any money in establishing or maintaining a website, Google+ Local and online business directories can help businesses build an online presence that will attract interested potential customers. For businesses that do operate a website, getting listed in prominent online business directories can help improve your site’s search engine rankings and boost where you appear in search engine results. Business listings in reputable directories provide quality links back to your website (often called backlinks), which will improve your SEO, and mentions of a business’ name, address, phone number and other important details are one of the biggest ranking factors used by Google to determine search results in Google Maps and Google Places. Your website will appear higher in both local and national organic rankings, making you more visible and accessible to customers who are browsing the web searching for businesses in your particular market.
When you list your business in an online local business directory, you are taking advantage of all of the dollars and expertise the business directory itself has invested in marketing. Consider Yelp, for example. Yelp is one of the most well-known and highly regarded online business directories and they have spent a considerable amount of time and financing to establish themselves as one of the leaders in local business listings. When your business is listed on Yelp, you are receiving the benefits of those dollars and hours with almost no cost to yourself or your business! In addition, these business directories often appear quite high in the organic search results, so your company name could be one of the first to appear in the search engine results with minimal effort on your part, especially if your business utilizes unique, SEO-sensitive descriptions in its listings.
More Benefits Than You Thought
These important business directories also attract thousands of customers per day who are searching for specific and local products or services, so it is definitely in your business’s best interest to be among the search results in these directories. Other online directories and websites also gather information from influential directories, through a process known as data scraping or access to an API, and use this information to create or beef up their own listings. This means that by listing yourself in just a few of the most important business directories, you may inadvertently gain business mentions (often called business citations), and sometimes backlinks on dozens of other websites.
For business owners who are interested in improving their business’s online presence but feel as though they don’t have the time or expertise to do so, there are excellent and affordable local directory listing services. This allows business owners to save hundreds of hours of labor learning how to list their business in the most effective directories and also ensures the consistency and accuracy of the listings created (inaccurate business listings can do long-term damage to your business’ SEO).
Whether you choose to utilize a local directory listing service or try the DIY route, one thing is certain: in today’s digital age, you can’t afford to not list your business.