Can Local Business Listings Truly Help Your Business?
One of the toughest things about running your own business is getting found by the right people who are actually looking for your services. You can spend money on Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Billboards, and everything else under the sun, but what actually works? These are great for driving traffic, new business and sales to your doorstep, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could end up spending a lot of money and end up with little or no results. How will people find you when they are looking for the products and services you provide? Be sure to check out the bonus download at the bottom of this post!
The Elephant in The Room
The first thing everyone says is Google. Get to the top of Google and you have it made. Search engine optimization is a great strategy, but what people fail to tell you is that it’s a long-term investment. You’ll spend thousands to get there, and that depends on many outlying factors, like the quality of your website, and if the person you hired actually knows what they are doing. Also, it can take 6–12 months to get there.
You can blog to help your SEO, and you can work on building backlinks, but there’s more involved than you think. You have to do extensive keyword research to look for low competition keywords. That means that there aren’t as many people trying to fight for rankings for those terms. You also have to know how to write the post, do research, add images and hit all of the points that Google is looking for in quality content. A few of those items are: alt tags, meta descriptions, keyword diversity and relevance in your post.
On top of all of that, you need to watch out for over-optimization, avoid keyword stuffing, and generic or duplicate content.
So what do you do?
Another tactic may be to place Google ads via Adwords. This can be highly effective, but the one caveat to this is that it can be costly, depending on what industry you’re in and what terms you’re fighting for. Some keywords or phrases can be $50 per click, or even more. As you can imagine, this can be costly, and it will add up quick.
A Free Alternative: Local Business Listings
Local business directories and local business listings are a great way to drive traffic to your business. There are dozens, if not hundreds of local business lists. You can go in manually and fill out your local business information on sites such as Google My Business, Yelp, Hot Frog and other business directories. You can also pay for a local business listings service to do it for you. Prices vary for this service, depending on the number of directories you want to be listed in, etc.
Which Local Business Directory is Right For You?
The answer is simple. You should have a diverse set of listings between general directories like Google My Business and Yelp. You should mix those with niche local small business directory listings, such as your local Chamber of Commerce, and organizations that have to do with your industry. I am a web and graphic designer, so I am in directories like Creative Hotlist, Behance, Dribbble, and others that are for creative fields.
How Does a Business Directory Help my Business?
When you’re trying to get found online, it’s a numbers game. You want to be listed in and online business directory possible, because you never know where your next lead will come from. Lawyers use directories like Justia and Avvo, because they are trusted not only by the community, but also by search engines, like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
It’s mainly about relevance and what makes sense. If you’re a legitimate business, your business should and would be listed in most business directories. If you’re a doctor or a lawyer, your business should and would be listed in those specific directories. Google will look at your business directory listings as a whole and evaluate your information for consistency and accuracy. A consistent set of directory listings can help with your local SEO rankings.
Online Business Directory — A great Sales Funnel Strategy
All of this helps your business, because you’ll not only look legitimate in the eyes of Google, but those directory listings themselves can bring you leads. Business directories rank well in search engines. If you search for a lawyer in your location, there’s a good chance Avvo is going to pop up on the 1st page, and maybe even in the top spot. People will click on their link because they trust it, and they’ll look at your reviews and your information to see if you’re a good fit for them.
All of the backlinks from these high authority directory sites can significantly boost your SEO rankings, when combined with activity on social media, a well-structured website, and good copywriting. If you have good content on your website, that’s a bonus, too. Each directory is like an additional sales funnel that leads to your website.
One law client of mine mentioned shortly after listing his business in every free business directory I could find, that he immediately started receiving phone calls. If you’re a small business, every phone call can be a significant boost to your business and your annual revenue. Let’s say a lawyer averages $5,000 from every case he settles (I’ve heard much bigger numbers). One extra phone call per month is an extra $60,000 per year in revenue. Even if it was a small job billed by the hour at $250 per hour, a 5 hour job per month would be an extra $1250 each month, or $15,000 per year. This can essentially be applied to any business. Would $15000 more per year make a difference in your business? For most people, it would be significant.
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Originally published at G Squared Studios.