Local SEO & Business Directories
Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is absolutely necessary if you have a business location. Even if you have a not-so-local business, local SEO can contribute to your overall visibility. The more you build your local SEO, the more visible you are even if the searches are general. Although organic SEO takes different factors into account, it still includes local SEO when determining site rankings.
What’s The Difference Between Local and Organic SEO?
Search engines rank queries differently at the local level. Here, algorithms are based on physical location. If you type in “dentist in NYC,” your results will be quite different than if you type in “family dentist.”
The key difference is that organic searches revolve around trusted content, while local searches are centered around trusted locations (i.e., does this brick-and-mortar business really exist?). Organic searches take into account factors like frequency of updates, relevance of content, and use of keywords and meta tags. Local searches are more concerned with the exact location of your business and whether it exists in the place it claims.
For trusted locations, local searches look for web citations, or ‘mentions’ of your business citing your NAP (name, address, phone number). When your NAP is correct and consistent across the web, it is trusted. Citations containing an old address or a non-existent phone number can drastically hurt your Google ranking.
Why Business Directories Are Important
A majority of citations originate from the few companies that aggregate data. It is important to monitor this information and correct any errors. Submitting your business to listings and directories is critical for increased visibility. These listing sites have a variety of high-quality back-links so they rank higher in the search engines. When sites in the business directories link to your site, this is called an inbound link. Inbound links are incredibly valuable and help you rank higher because another source has referenced your page.
In addition to the data aggregators, the following are examples of other types of directories available:
- Horizontal directories (Yelp, Yahoo Local, CitySearch)
- Industry-specific directories (OpenTable, UrbanSpoon, Angie’s List)
- Region-specific sites (local chamber of commerce, CitySlick, ThinkLocal, Merchant Circle)
- Mentions in a newspaper or by a local blogger
- Social Media sites (Google Places, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter)
The more directories you’re in, the more likely you’ll come up in the search engine results page. Business directories let the search engines know that you’re legitimate. (This is how local SEO helps even when you aren’t a local business.) These listings provide, at a minimum, your NAP. Some allow the addition of a logo, a link to your website, photos, more information, and even video. Your Cyber Partner will manually submit your business to over 200 listings, taking advantage of every opportunity to include additional information. It’s like having hundreds of pages on the web, all pointing to your business!
Google is the world’s number one search engine, so it is imperative to have a Google Plus (Local) Business Page, also known as Google My Business. This page provides opportunity to add photos, video, and reviews, which may also appear on Google Maps. Just as important as your website, this page should be visually appealing and professional. The more relevant and current information we can put into your Google+ Local Business Page, the better. It’s also important to update it regularly, just like your website. We’ll show you how, or we can do it for you. Either way, you have control over your information.
Customer reviews are also a major consideration for ranking. We will work with you to get reviews and monitor your online reputation.
Why Work with YCP?
Getting listed in Google and many other business directories is not as easy as it sounds. It is a time-consuming and tedious process with many, many rules. Failure to follow these rules can result in your business not ranking well in Google or never getting listed at all. There are also very specific criteria for different types of businesses.
Your Cyber Partner submits your business to approx. 200 listings, manually. We create a Gmail account specifically for these listings (to keep client’s inbox clean!) and provide the client with this email and login. They can then go to any of these listings to claim and enhance them on their own, or we can do it for them on a monthly basis – add links, photos, logos, whatever the site allows. This gives the business owner control over his information.
Like organic SEO, some of these business directories take up to four months before listing your business. This is for verification process. We will follow up on those that are not accepted immediately and let you know when they are.
We usually bundle this service with setting up social media pages and a YouTube channel if the client has or will use video. This gets the maximum exposure for the business.