This post is intended for anyone who has a physical business and is looking to promote their location through directory listings. Local directories are a great way to get visibility from local potential customers. A huge plus on local directories is they are super inexpensive and can drive incremental qualified users to your site every month. Within this post I’ll break down an overview of local directories, share how to get started promoting your business via local directories and provide a tool where you can audit how your business is listed on local directories.
Local Directories: What are they
Local directories are directory listings where users go to find businesses. They aren’t search engines like Google, rather sites dedicated to capture business information. Think of this as the yellow pages from 20-30 years ago. Before the internet, if folks needed products or services, they would open up the yellow book to find businesses. The same concept applies to local directories, but in a digital format. They’re a directory of businesses, which users can find relevant businesses in their area.
Several examples are Yelp (screenshot below), Yellow Pages, Google Buisness Listing, and Apple Maps.
Local Directories: What value do they drive
Local directories are really interesting. You won’t get a ton of traffic from directory listings. While some directory sites will promise the world, the truth is they won’t drive much traffic. The majority of your traffic will likely come from Google Search. Think from your own experience, when you need something, you just Google it. However, there are people that leverage directory sites. While that traffic isn’t huge, it’s valuable traffic. For folks that go to YellowPages, Yelp, etc. to search for products and services you offer, you should absolutely be there.
There is another benefit that provides as much value to the traffic they drives, it’s SEO benefit. Moz wrote a really great article on how local directories can benefit SEO and organic search to your site. In order for your business to show up in local searches, Google needs validation that 1) your business exists and 2) products and services you offer 3) address and phone number. If you list this just once on your site, and it’s not listed elsewhere, that’s not much credibility that your business does indeed provide these services and is located at this address. However, if many other directories back up this claim by saying you provide X service at Y address and Z phone number, it will feel confident ranking your business for relevant searches.
I’m not promising that you’re going to immediately rank to the number one spot, but it’s pretty well documented that having other directory citations will support your organic search.
Local Directories: Audit my current listings
If you have a business and want to understand if you are represented across all of the available directory listings, I have a tool where you can audit your business listings.
Clicking the link above link will guide you to the page below where you can enter your business information to find out how represented your business is across over 65+ local directories. This will include the actual business listing and call out any errors that your business may have.
Local Directories: How to submit your information
There are two ways to submit your site on local directories, the easy way or the hard way. I’ll start with the hard way first.
The hard way is to go to each and every local directory site (there are around 65+), manually submit your information, manually review traffic reports on a monthly basis and manually post updates (images, messages, etc.). This is not scalable nor recommended.
The easier way is to use a tool to help in the process. The tool I recommend is YEXT, which is a tool you can use to distribute your business across 65+ local directories. With your submission you can add the following:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Featured message
The beauty is through a few clicks you can distribute a very robust listing across 65+ local directories. Not only that, but you’ll get reporting, aggregated across all of the directories. See a screenshot below of reporting for my directory listing. I don’t need to log into each platform to pull reports, it’s completely aggregated and automated for me.
Local Directories: How to get started
While you can log into Yext to get started at around $50/month, I have a partnership with YEXT and can get listing directories a tad cheaper than the online price. For anyone who is interested in getting started – shoot me a line at [email protected] and I’ll drop a discount your way.
YEXT: Next steps
To show how easy it is to get started, check out the step by step instructions of how you can promote your business across 65+ directory sites.
Yext: Step 1
Within YEXT knowledge manager, click add a location for a single entity.
Yext Step 2: Add core information
On the next screen you’ll enter in your business information, including a featured message. For the featured message think of a main callout for your business. For example, Family Owned since 1950, Promotions, 24 / 7 service, etc. This is one of the fields where your business can differentiate from the competition.
Within this section you’ll also pick a category for your business. YEXT has hundreds of categories to filter through.
Yext Step 3: Add business details
Next, you’ll add in business details. My recommendation is be as thorough as possible. The reason is the more information and keywords you include, the higher chance your listing will show up when users are searching on the local directories and on Google.com.
Within this section you can also add in rich information such as images, videos, links to your social profiles, etc. You should put as much information as possible, the more information the more qualified your business will appear and you’ll have a higher chance to rank for users searching your business.
Yext Step 3: Add services
After you complete your business profile, you need to add the services. This is subscribing your business to YEXT’s services to publish your information. To do this, click on the right hand panel to add services.
Once you click on this, there are several services that you can select.
The core offering is the YEXT knowledge engine starter. I would start from there, additionally if you own a restaurant recommendation is to sign up for Yext for Food. The main benefits behind YEXT for food is you can be distributed on directories that are specific to restaurants. Second is you can upload your menu within YEXT. This gives you a huge advantage, by uploading the menu (and it is a manual process as you type in every item, price and description) it’s posted online for users to find you. For example, if you offer cold brew coffee and someone in your hometown searches “cold brew near me”, there is a high chance that your listings will naturally rank given you’re uploading your menu items within YEXT, which is then pushed out to all relevant directories.
In conclusion, for anyone that has a local brick and mortar business, directory listings are a must. You’re not going to get a significant amount of traffic, but you will see an uptick and for the amount you spend, it will give a strong return. As I mentioned in my post earlier, I’m a YEXT partner and have preferred ratings vs. signing up directly on YEXT. For those who want to purchase the program through my agency at a discount, just send me a note to [email protected] To boot, if you need need help posting this information, I’m happy to create the listings for you for a small fee.