Businesses always seek out the “next big thing” to capitalize on their investment. It could come in the form of a production method or a successful marketing campaign to turn their endeavors into money.
In business, if something can be done to grow your revenue, it should be done. That’s why companies invest their resources to make their existence more sustainable, financially speaking.
The marketing field has become an arena of cut-throat competition, where an ever-increasing number of businesses are fighting for the same pie. They are exploring avenues to stand out from the crowd to either increase the size of the pie or just grab it off the hands of the competition.
Local business directories have come a long way since their inception. Now, they serve as a solid marketing tool to improve a company’s overall digital presence.
What are local business directories and citations?
These are online platforms that, traditionally, contain the authentic Name, Address, Phone (NAP) of a business. These days, the given information may also include work hours and other related information that could help prospects connect with the company.
In most cases, local business directories offer a free platform for companies to create their profile but it must be claimed to fully enjoy the perks.
Since local business directories are repositories of search keywords and are visited by millions of people every month, they have the trust of both humans and bots.
Following are some of the most popular online platforms for local business citations:
- Google My Business
- CityLocal Pro
- Better Business Bureau
- Bing Places for Business
- Yellow Pages
How to leverage local business directories for different purposes
In theory, marketing is as simple as trying to give out your message loud and clear. But, when you need to do it, it is a technical process combined with some art to persuade. There are many facets to it and every aspect must be addressed to create a well-rounded well-oiled marketing strategy.
Here are some of the ways companies can use local business citations and directories to leverage their position in the market.
Business Directories for Branding and Reputation Management
A company is all that it stands for and its perception in the minds of the public. The internet can be a cruel thing sometimes and a business must tread decisively to take the next step.
Social media platforms and local business directories are used to create a brand image. The most frequently used strategy is the marketing funnel strategy. In this, companies cast a wide net through educating the masses about their brand and then close in on it, resulting in lead generation and conversions.
A company can improve on its branding and reputation management as follows:
- After every transaction, ask your client or customer to review your service on your page at local business directories.
- Positive reviews are great but companies are often bombarded with negative reviews. In this case, follow up on that review publicly and let others know that you do not turn your back on your customers once the job is done.
- Rumors can become news on the internet. To curtail misinformation regarding your brand and its activities, make sure you claim your profiles/listings, and use consistent NAP across the board.
- Local business citations can fetch your prospects by giving you a spotlight to showcase your achievements. You can upload your portfolio in the form of images and links so that anyone can access and evaluate your skills.
Business Directories for Traffic and Leads
All local business listings combine to form a web of links over the internet with your official website at the center. This gives an impressive boost to the organic traffic directed to your website.
Marketers always rely on listings to augment the leads and traffic you can get. Get started by claiming your business and eliminating the duplicates.
Here are some pro tips to get the most of your local business citations:
- Get alerts when someone on a listings websites gives feedback on your business profile.
- Always look for new directories and listings to list your business in order to enhance the brand’s digital presence.
- Smart devices and mobile devices are now leading the pack. When deciding which platform to pursue, keep in mind its integration and compatibility with mobile devices.
- All business listings and citations platforms are not created equal. Always lookout for the most relevant and active ones and sever your ties from the websites that have become redundant.
Business Directories for Local SEO
Every local business marketing strategy is under-performing if it hasn’t covered its bases for local SEO. Since a whopping majority, 4 out of 5, users rely on search engines to buy goods or hire services, your business needs that advantage in your corner.
Simply put, if you want to improve the search rankings of your business, which is the key in the digital realm, you need local SEO.
You can employ local business directories to improve on local SEO. It starts with creating a business profile and then linking every profile back to your business website. This creates a web of links that improves the authority of your brand which is at the center of the web.
How to build local citations
Building local citations means creating profiles on local business listings and managing them. There is no cap on what you can achieve by doing this and no restriction on how many listings you want to employ. The rule of thumb is to prefer quality over quantity because these citations will give positive signals to the search engine. Moreover, it is good to represent your brand and business details in an optimal way on quality platforms.
For a citation to trump the competition and the algorithm, it should be credible, relevant, and localized.
Some pro tips:
- There is an intricate network of categories, both primary and secondary. To get the maximum from the listings, it is best to choose the categories properly so that your business is shown against the relevant search results. This is especially helpful if your business name is novel and does not give the idea of work.
- Local SEO relies on locality. It means you need to be consistent and true to the location of your business. Otherwise, it won’t fly.
- The majority of business listings websites cater to all kinds of businesses. Still, there are some niche platforms that can help your company stand out from the competition.
Local business citations and directories are a great way to boost the online local presence of your brand.
It doesn’t take much time and effort to create or claim your profile. After that, it is just periodic updates and editing when needed. The benefits of local business listings are hard to fathom head-on. But the key is that your brand can grow and multiply in a cost-effective and hassle-free way.
In short, it is an all-in-one scenario. Branding, lead generation, local exposure, and SEO benefits can all be achieved by utilizing local business directories efficiently.
Guest author: James Luis has been serving the digital marketing industry for the past 4 years. He works for different niche clients and is currently working with an IT company. His passion keeps him motivated to keep excelling in his field of content writing and marketing.