Do Local Business Directories Really Matter?
Of all the things competing for your attention when it comes to marketing your business online, local directories may not always be at the top of your list. While certainly they would not be your starting place, ignoring them is far from what you want to do as well. These vehicles can not only prove highly useful to you but also quite harmful if you are not careful.
Your business can show up on directory listings even if you have not put the information there. Letting someone else control what information is published about your company online is never a good idea. Following are some important reasons that you should take control of your own listings.
- Avoid the Pain
No business wants to get slapped with a Google penalty. Talk about pain. The amount of time it can take to rebound from a single penalty can be costly. But a penalty is exactly what you open yourself up to when you do not effectively manage your directory listings. Without proper oversight, these listings can be incomplete, inaccurate or inconsistent—all of which flag your business to Google.
- Build Healthy Links
Perhaps no other activity has gotten such a bad rap as link building has lately. Certainly many folks out there took advantage of link building in the wrong ways and Google no longer rewards such behavior. But at the same time, Google is rewarding link building done right. When you list your business in a directory that is relevant to your industry and audience, that creates a great link.
- Bolster Your SEO
SEO is not just about your website. With as many as 80% of signals factored in by Google for search ranking being off-page, your business must attend to these. Local directories especially can benefit you with the growing importance of locality in overall search results. Every mention of your company on the web matters.
- Help Your Customers
Directories may seem boring or tedious to you but think about them from your customer’s perspective. A directory listing offers very helpful and usable information. Location, phone number, hours and more can all be provided easily in one stop. Then remember that overall usability to customers matters to Google and, well, you can see how directories can ultimately help you.
- Grow Your Touchpoints
Few customers convert after just one encounter with you. Developing a cohesive web of your own in which your business will be found by people in multiple locations over multiple times increases your chance of getting the conversions you need. This includes in directories.
When managing your directory listings, let consistency be king. It is imperative that you ensure your information displays the same in every listing in which it appears. This gives customers—and Google—the same story every time they read, reassuring them that you are real.
So, despite the boring factor, make now the time that you tackle your directory listings. Be prepared for the process of claiming listings and completing or updating them to take some time but know that it will more than pay off in the end. One last word of note—make the commitment to review your listings regularly to avoid inaccurate information creeping in.