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With Google giving prime positioning to local search listings above the rest of the search results, local SEO is crucial. At the same time this change by Google means smaller and newer businesses can more easily move onto the front page of results, just so long as they have a sophisticated, well-executed local SEO program. And naturally, this shift means many more companies are focusing heavily on local listings search.
Companies that depend on local customers will benefit from creating listings for their businesses in local directories, such as Google Places, Yelp and CitySearch.com. Local directories are indexed by search engines so when the type of business is searched along with the name of the locality, the chances are increased that the business listing will appear in the search results. Research indicates that about 20 percent or more of all online searches include localities.
Listing a business with local directories will raise the visibility of the business when potential customers localize their searches. Listing a business with a local directory is a simple process. The marketer or business owner just needs to know where to find the listing form to add the business to the site. Adding a business to the major local directories is free. Always make sure the address and phone number are correct and always add the link back to your business website in the listing.
Yelp is a popular review site and social network that allows customers to post star ratings and reviews for local businesses. A company may place a business listing with Yelp in just a few minutes. To list with Yelp, start by creating an account on the social network and searching for the business name. Because Yelp uses a variety of public databases to list businesses, chances are good that the business will already have a listing on the review platform.
To create an account, navigate to www.yelp.com in a browser. Click the “Create Your Free Account” button on the home page. Complete the form with your name and identifying information. A confirmation will be sent to the email address you provide. Verify the email address by clicking the link in the confirmation email. Once your account is created, log into the Yelp system. Type the business name into the search box on the top of the page. Make sure the city and state are correct and then click the “Search” button. If the business is already in the Yelp database, the business name will list in the search results. Click on the name of the business to open the record. Once the record is open, you can claim the listing by clicking on the “Edit Business Details” link just under the record. You will be asked if this business is your business. Click the radio button next to “Yes” and provide the additional information to verify your ownership. Once you verify that the business is yours, you will be able to enter additional information about the business, upload photos and edit the existing record.
If your business is not listed, click the “Add a Business” button at the bottom right corner of the search results page. You will be taken to a form to enter your business name, the address, phone number and any other pertinent information. Note that you will only be able to enter a limited amount of information until Yelp is able to verify the business. Once the business is verified, you will be able to expand your listing.
Google maps have the potential to deliver significant traffic increases over just a website alone. To list your business with Google Places, you need to have or create a Google account. If you have GMail or if you use any Google services, you already have a Google account. Open a browser and navigate to google.com/local/add/businessCenter. You will be prompted to log in with your Google account in order to access the page. Complete the form for listing a business. Note that to list your business in Google Places, you must have a physical address.
However, if your office is located in your home, you can instead select a service area and then choose to hide your address from public view. If your business has several locations, Google recommends that you list the additional locations in the “Description” section for your business listing. Make sure to add a backlink to your business website in the listing as this will boost your site’s SEO value, as well.
CitySearch is another popular localized directory that allows customers to review companies, similar to Yelp. Both CitySearch.com and Yelp index with Google and the other major search engines, so listing your business with either or both of these directories will raise the visibility of your business.
Like Yelp, CitySearch.com uses several databases to list businesses. You may find that your business is already listed in the directory. You can claim your business by searching for the name of your business in your local area and then click “Claim This Business.” Provide an email address and then confirm the email address using the verification link. After you find and claim your business, you may add additional information to the list, as with Yelp.
If your business is not listed in CitySearch.com, open a browser and navigate to national.citysearch.com/profile/add_business. Complete the form and confirm the email address. When you create the listing, you are also prompted to create your account information. Be sure to add a backlink to your business website in the listing. Remember your login credentials. Once your business is confirmed, you will be able to log in and update your business listing.
Creating a listing for your business with each of these three local directories will help local search engine users find your business when they localize their searches with the city and state. Listing your company is free. Beware of companies that charge a fee for listing your business in a local directory. These three free services are the most effective for making sure your business is found via localized searches.
To be effective, the best approach is a combination of link building and a local listing package that includes an extensive Internet Yellow Pages submission program. I can’t stress enough the success in this area means dominating search markets. Contact me today to discuss the local listing package. It’s less expensive and more effective than even the companies who specialize in doing only local submissions and nothing else.
Getting your company listed in local search results is absolutely essential. You have to be there because those results are the primary results listed and they appear above all the rest of the natural search results. (They are below the ads of course.)
The point is that local business listings are crucial. You can do them yourself if you’d like, but it will likely take you a whole day (if you’re fast and type quickly) or you can let us do it for you. Our big list of local directories is included via the link in case you want to take the plunge your self.
We have a well-trained army of folks that go through our huge list of directories (now we have about 85 sites) and upload images, add your content including address, website, business name, phone number, videos, and so on and so on. Our people do this all the time and will make sure it gets done right.
The big firms that only do local charge $400 and they generally do about 45 listings. Our offering is more than double what you’d get from them (over 100 citations), and we are currently offering this awesome local package for only $197.
Start your local listing program now. Local Listings Only $197
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