As a local business, it is vitally important to be listed on as many sites as possible, and online directories are a great place to start. The more listings and citations of your business exist online, the higher the likelihood of being ranked higher in organic search and being found by your target audience who are using the search engines to search for local information.
According to Google, 43% of searches are local, with 74 percent of these local searches being conducted on mobile devices. In contrast, local searches on Bing and Yahoo! are largely performed on desktops. In fact, only 7 percent of local searches on Bing are mobile, although this may change with Bing built into Windows 10.
This shows why, more than ever, businesses need to ensure they are listed on websites that publish local information: these include online directories, maps and business listings, social media networks, and online review sites.
However, one mistake many small business owners make is trying to get a listing in every business directory they discover online. Unfortunately, there are many spammy directories that can actually hurt your organic search rankings rather than improve them.
Fortunately, identifying spammy websites have been made a lot easier with tools from sites like Majestic.com and Moz.com. So before getting listed in any directory, spend a couple of minutes checking out these metrics before posting your details on these sites:
Developed by the leading SEO software company Moz.com, Domain Authority (DA) refers to the authority a particular domain has in comparison to other websites on the internet. DA is scored out of 100, and as the name suggests, it evaluates the credibility and authority of an entire domain by analysing the quantity and quality of its backlinks. It is a measure of how likely the site is to rank higher in the search results compared to competitor sites.
All things being equal, a website with a DA of 20 and above starts showing some authority in search engines. However, this would also depend on your competition. As a local business, remember that you’re not competing with other businesses worldwide. Rather, you’re only competing with other local businesses in your niche. So if other local businesses in your industry typically have DA of 15, then you only need to increase your DA enough to around 20 to start rising above them in search.
Page Authority (PA) is also a link authority metric developed by Moz. Just like DA, it evaluates the ability of a specific web page to attain a high organic search ranking on the major search engines. The higher your PA, the greater your chances of being able to rank high. A webpage with a PA of 25 starts showing some good authority in the search engines.
Trust Flow is a link authority metric developed by Majestic that is used to evaluate the trustworthiness, authority and credibility of websites and directories that are linking to a particular site. This metric is scored out of 100, and sites with high Trust Flow means that the site has a lot of highly trusted sites linking to it, and as such, is highly likely to be trusted by the major search engines and rank high in the search results.
Citation Flow mainly looks at the quantity of links to a website. It does not look at the quality of those links, which is why it needs to be looked at in combination with trust flow. A site with high citation flow and low trust flow indicates that the site has been building a lot of spammy links and is unlikely to rank high in the search results. On the flip side, if the site has a high amount of trust flow and low citation flow, it means that the site’s link profile is based on links from very trustworthy sources.
Using these metrics as a gauge when evaluating the linkworthiness of a particular website can help to ensure that the links you are building to your site are not dangerous, spammy links, as such sites will never rank on Google. In fact getting a link from such sites can ultimately damage your organic search ranking.
Click here for more SEO metrics that you can use to analyse your website.
Top 10 Sites To Get Listed On
Google My Business (GMB)
With 85.7% marketshare in the UK, Google should be the first place to list your business. It is the most imporant social network for small businesses.
Google My Business is a free unified interface that makes it easy for local businesses to connect with customers on search, on Maps and on Google Plus.Getting listed on Google My Business automatically gets you listed on Google Maps.
One of the most powerful features provided by Google My Business is its listing your business’s exact location on a mobile-friendly map. This will increase your visibility with potential customers searching for your products and services within a 5-kilometre radius.
GMB pages can currently support one owner and 49 managers, and ownership is transferable. GMB pages also provide an effective feedback mechanism that you can use to connect with your existing customers and prospective customers and learn more about their wants, needs and challenges.
In your profile, you can include printable coupons, special offers, videos, images, opening hours, preferred payment methods and other pertinent information about your business.
When building your citations across the web, it is very important to build those citations to match exactly what you have created in your Google My Business listing. This is critically important for ranking in Google search and Google maps.
The Google My Business dashboard allows business owners and marketers to manage their Google-related online presence in one place. This includes:
- Managing business listing info for search, maps and Google+.
- Uploading photos and/or a virtual tour of your business.
- Sharing content and interacting with followers on Google+.
- Seeing reviews from across the web and responding to Google+ reviews.
- Integrating with AdWords Express to create and track campaigns.
- Accessing Insights reports, the new social analytics tool for Google+.
- Seeing information about your integrated YouTube and Analytics accounts.
From that single interface, you are now able to access the following all from one screen:
- Google+: You can share new text, photos, links, videos, and events.
Insights: Once you verify your business you are able to gain insights into your visibility, engagement, and audience.
- Reviews: Each business is given a Google rating and you are able to manage your reviews on Google and view other reviews around the web.
- Google Analytics: Quick access directly to your Google Analytics dashboard.
- Start a Hangout: With the click of a button you can start or join a Hangout.
The new Insights feature gives GMB page managers more information about who is interacting with your content. You can get meaningful insights into how your content is being shared, how much traffic you’re getting, how many people have looked for driving directions to your business, etc.
For those who need to manage their pages on the go, there’s also a Google My Business Android app with an iOS version in the pipeline.
Facebook Places For Business
Facebook is the largest social network in the world with over 2 billion registered users worldwide, and 48.0% of the total UK population. Even though Facebook is a social network, it can still function as a local business directory. If you have a brick and mortar store, then you should get listed in Facebook Places.
Facebook Places allows users to share their location details with their friends on Facebook. When a Facebook user checks-in to your Facebook Places page, the status immediately gets posted to the user’s wall and to the friend’s news feed page which is effectively free word-of-mouth advertising.
The Facebook Places page contains a map that shows the location of your business along with the number of check-ins to the location. You can use Facebook places to target users at a specific location, and market special discounts and offers for customers who check-in to your location.
As the leading and most dominant customer review site for most types of businesses, getting listed on Yelp is important, especially if you operate your business from a physical location. Listings from Yelp consistently appear in the top 5 Google search results pages. This means any user searching for your target keywords on Google is likely to come across your Yelp listing. Claiming your business and optimizing your listing is straightforward and can help you generate qualified leads that are actively searching for the products or services you sell.
Bing Places For Business
With a 10% market share, getting listed on Bing can help you to reach an entirely different section of your market while avoiding direct competition with some of the bigger competitors in your field. It can even help your rankings on Google. Bing is the perfect starting point for the small, lean business.
Bing is deeply ingrained into Windows 10. This means that even if someone should set Google as their default search engine, they’re still likely to be using Bing on their desktop without realizing it just by speaking with Cortana – the digital assistant that lives on your Windows 10 desktop. Furthermore, Xbox One also comes with Bing as the default search engine.
During registration, Bing allows you to add multiple business locations, photos, videos and and more.
LinkedIn is the largest business-oriented social network. It enables existing users to build a professional network. It is particularly utilized to exchange ideas, information, and opportunities. As a business owner, you can register on LinkedIn to gain new customers, enhance your business’s online presence, generate leads and build brand awareness.
LinkedIn offers an incredible set of marketing tools that almost no other platform provides. One of these features is Company Pages. With a LinkedIn personal profile and Company Page, other users who are interested in doing business with you can learn more about you and your business. You can also share daily status updates with your followers. Ultimately, the company page will be useful in increasing brand awareness, announcing career opportunities, and promoting your product and service offers.
FreeIndex is specifically aimed at local businesses, and has been in existence since 2003. The site is crawled on a regular basis by the Googlebots and your listing will appear in Google search results within 24 hours.
You can increase your ranking on the platform with a complete profile which you can get by completing the profile. But positive customer reviews are what will propel you to the top.
Yell.com is the online version of the Yellow Pages. 2.7 million UK businesses are listed on Yell.com and gets over 17.8m visitors a month. Users are able to review local businesses on the platform. You can also enhance your business profile page with photos, contact details, opening times, payment methods, customer reviews and more.
Manta is a well respected international business directory specifically aimed at small businesses. They list more than 2.1 million UK businesses in over 100 cities across the UK.
Lacartes is a relatively new business directory that started in London (UK) but soon listed more than 57,000 businesses in over 138 countries across the globe. You can enhance your listing and make it really stand out on the page.
Scoot powers the business directories of The Independent, The Sun, The Mirror and Touch Local. So it’s a no-brainer getting your business listed here. Unfortunately, you don’t get a free link to your website, however, you can link out to your social media profiles. You’ll need to upgrade your listing if you want additional features.
Cylex is a highly ranked and respected business listing directory. It is human edited and getting your business listed here is a very smart move.
Click here for the top 35 UK directories to get listed on.