I love local business directories as an SEO tool. If your business has any form of brick and mortar operation, then you naturally draw on a local clientele. At TastyPlacement, we do a lot of SEO work for local small businesses. Local businesses can win big with local business postings.
Typically, local business posting will outrank just about any other page on the internet because of the tremendous pagerank power that a site like Yahoo Local or Hotfrog enjoys. And, Google Local’s reach and power is absolutely unparalled-Google puts local results *above* the natural results for thousands of business related search categories in local markets. And then, of course, is the pagerank value that your own site enjoys from the high-powered backlinks that large business directories enjoy.
We recently posted on our review of the 6 Best Free Local Business Directories for Backlinks, Customers & Hits.
In this article, we’ll point to some sure-fire tips and tricks to get every ounce of mileage from a local business directory posting.
Always Assign As Many Categories As Possible
This is paramount. Google local allows you up to 5 categories (and recently began allowing free-form categories). With most local business directories each business category under which you register will create an individual entry on an individual category page. Thus, your entry might appear in 5 different places in a directory. Each page is a backlink for traffic and for pagerank value, and your listing will quite simply be seen more often.
Reviews from happy customers can help boost your rankings within the local directory. Google local is the greatest example. While their ranking system for local entries is a secret, it obviously favors entries that have received reviews. I’ll bet you’ve done a favor for a client at one time, right? Ask them for a review. Send them a clear and concise email with instructions and a link to write the review. Beside the ranking power within the directories, reviews will increase the conversion power of the local entry; readers are more likely to follow up on your ad if they see a positive review from a member of the community.
Also, positive reviews can offset a present or future negative review. If a negative review does happen, a positive review can soften the blow.
The larger local business directories are quite advanced, and most include the ability to upload pictures. Always upload the maximum number of pictures. A full and complete listing is always more likely to rank higher within the directory. And again, viewers are far more likely to act on a complete listing rather than a sparse one.
Complete All Optional Fields
When creating a local business entry, you may have noticed many optional fields such as business hours, payment types accepted, and languages spoken. These fields are optional and most folks just skip them.
You should always fill out every optional field possible. In some directories, the extra fields have the effect of enlarging the directory entry, while omitting it would just display nothing. So, your listing might be 5 or 6 inches tall on a results page, while your competitor-who skipped the optional fields-will have a simple 2 or 3 line entry.
Also, some directories allow (or will allow in the future) users to use the optional fields as search criteria (i.e., the ability to search for companies that accept Google Checkout, etc). Naturally, you’ll want to come up in any such search result.
Two Locations? Make Two Entries
If you have multiple business locations, make separate entries for each location. Then, each location will show up in searches separately (many folks search by zip code). And, each entry will represent a backlink. I have clients with Yahoo Local directory pages with a pagerank of 2 that link back directly to their website; That is a very valueable backlink.
Write a Compelling Business Description With Keywords
This goes without saying, but 75% of folks don’t bother. A compelling business description will convert viewers and draw them to your site. And, if you description is focused on your primary keywords, then your local business entry will likely rank for those keywords.