It’s a question we get asked all the time at WISE Digital – are business listings really that important? The answer is a resounding YES because getting listed on directories is essential for improving your SEO (search engine optimization) and getting discovered online.
The best way to think about business listings is to view them as Google’s way of verifying if you’re a real business and if you’re actually open for business. There’s probably no other time in history has this been more important than during the last two years because of COVID-19.
Imagine two businesses: one that has some information on Google but no other directory setup, or maybe a few directories are set up, but some have incomplete or inaccurate information. The other business has over 40 directories set up properly, and all of them are completely filled out with accurate information.
Google’s value to its users is providing confidence that accurate information is being displayed to the marketplace. That’s nearly their mission statement. In our scenario, business two will get a favorable ranking over business one. And not by some small amount, that’s because business listings account for over half of the local search algorithm used by Google.
Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, Bing, Linkedin, and countless other business directories can not only boost your SEO by helping with your rankings, but they can also help you pull traffic from each directory you’re properly set up on. Plus, when your business is listed on these websites, it adds to your credibility by showing potential customers you’re a legitimate business. And there are many other benefits, such as:
- Your online presence will be amplified.
- The visibility to your local community will improve.
- More potential customers will find your business.
- Most directories include reviews, which consumers use to make purchasing decisions.
- Your brand awareness will increase.
There are dozens upon dozens of opportunities for your business to be discovered online with maps (such as Google map pack), apps, voice devices, directories, search engines, review sites, and social media. Naturally, the more places your business appears, as long as your listing is accurate and consistent, the better.
The Smart Listing Strategy
Step 1: Start With Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is a free service that promotes local businesses across Google’s properties, such as Search, Maps, and Google Reviews. It’s easy to set up, but there’s a lot of information to fill in (it can take experienced professionals hours to set up a complete GMB profile). You also have to verify your business via snail mail with Google. It’s best to work with a professional to set up your GMB profile if this is your first time. It can be a daunting task, and Google constantly adds new features and sections to be aware of.
Step 2: Set Up Your Social Media
There are more benefits to social media than simply having a presence on the platforms. For every one you’re on, you’re gaining not only new audiences but also a high-value link (which is an SEO benefit) back to your business website. Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are a good start but don’t forget other social media platforms.
Step 3: Get On The Map
Map applications like Apple Maps, Google Maps, and MapQuest can drive huge traffic. You claim your listing, set it up, then manage your information (like business hours and the services you offer). If your business stands out enough to be featured in Google Maps Pack, for example, it can be a huge sales boost. The “map pack” can now make up more than a quarter of page one Google clicks for certain local business categories.
Step 4: Get Listed On Other Directories
Other directories like AOL, Yahoo, Bing, Superpages, and more have traffic that can turn into customers—and they’re certainly valuable domains for your business information (& SEO efforts).
Step 5: Seek Our Industry-Specific Directories
Industry-specific directories exist in almost every industry. There’s Avvo for law firms, Spafinder for spas, and much more. The chances are good that you’ll find several industry-specific directories where you can place your information.
Step 6: Keep Your Listings Updated
Business listings aren’t a set it and forget it task. Directories are constantly evolving, and as business owners, it’s important to stay on top of the enhancements of these resources. You need to ensure your information remains accurate and complete.
That’s why we offer our clients Online Business Listings Management to keep up with the changes and make sure the information is always on point. Inaccurate or missing listings can cost a business sales, and we’re here to help make sure that doesn’t happen.
Get A Free Business Listings Audit
At WISE, we’re experts in listings management—we make sure your information is accurate on 40+ business directory sites, including Google listing optimization. We’ve also recently expanded to include Yellow Pages, DexKnows, SuperPages, InsiderPages, and eLocal.
Want to see where your business currently stands? Get your Free Listings Audit.