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Online Business Directories: Get Found On The Net

One of the most cost effective strategies for any business to get known and found locally is through Google Places.  When combined with listings in other business directories, you’ll be able to achieve top rankings in the search engines for your business.

Google Places?

If you do a search for a local business, such as a hair salon in New York, Google will display a map showing the locations of all the hair salons it could find.  Most of the businesses are just shown as a small red dot on the map.  Some of the businesses that it highlights are paid ads through Google.

The majority of the businesses that it highlights (those shown as a larger red balloon) are those businesses who registered with Google Places at no cost.  All you need to do is add your business details to Google Places: name, address, phone number, web address, hours of operation, service area, payment type, and additional services.  Relevant photos and a video can help your listing stand out from competitors.  This task can be easily outsourced.    The most important thing for the listing is to get at least five people to post real reviews.

But how can you increase your Google Places ranking?

Getting To The Top Of Google Places

You can’t use search engine optimization and build backlinks to your Google Places listing to get it higher Google Places ranking, but, you can use citations from other websites to accomplish this result.  Citations are “mentions“  or “web references” of your business name and address on the webpages of other websites, even if there is no actual hyperlink back to your website.

A citation might be an online Yellow Pages directory listing or a business listing at your local Chamber of Commerce website.  Citations from established and well indexed portals, such as Superpages, help increase the search engine’s degree of certainty about your business contact information.   As a general rule of thumb, businesses with a greater number of citations will probably rank higher than businesses with fewer citations.

Get Found On Mobile

A very large and growing number of users are searching for a local business like yours using their smartphones.  They could be directed to your website through keyword search or paid advertising. You need to make sure that you have a mobile friendly website, particularly if your local business; you could outsource this website enhancement to a marketing specialist.

Getting mobile users to your website will probably not be enough.  They may want to read reviews about your service from social sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List.   They may look for recommendations from their friends on Facebook or colleagues from LinkedIn.  They may search for a discount coupon.   In the end, if they decide to visit you, they will look for GPS directions to get to the location to your business from their current location.

Get Citations

There are literally hundreds of business directories where you can list your business.  Generally speaking, the more places you list your business, the more like someone will find you:

  • Search engines like Google  and Bing
  • Portals and guides like AOL and Citysearch
  • Local search directories like Yelp, Kudzu, Insiderpages and Angie’s List
  • Online yellow pages like Superpages and Yellowpages
  • Social networks like LinkedIn,  Twitter, and Facebook
  • Mobile devices like BlackBerry, Android  and iPhone
  • 411 directory assistance services
  • GPS navigation services
  • Geo-local directories like city visitor sites that mainly focus on businesses in your geographic area
  • Geo-local  blogs that mainly focus on businesses in your geographic area
  • Industry-focused blogs or directories within your specific industry and get a listing on each
  • Data aggregators like InfoUSA and Acxiom

Get Your Website To The Top As Well!

By integrating the above techniques with your website optimization, you can increase rankings and traffic to your site.

For effectiveness, it is important that you use the same name, address and phone number for every citation AND for your website.  Use it repeatedly, with no variations, wherever you list information about your company.

Use the same keywords in your citations as you do in your website.  By providing a link or hyperlink to your website in most citations, and using the same keywords or anchor text that you normally use to rank your website, you will also improve the ranking of your website.

Use specific local keywords on your website.  Make sure you use the city and state of your service area as part of your keyword list.  It is best practices to choose one key word per webpage so that you optimize the page for search engine optimization.

There are many methods to drive traffic to your website or to increase the ranking of your website with the search engines.  The most cost effective marketing techniques accomplish both.  Through the use of business directory listings you can not only refer more potential customers to your website, but at the same time, you can increase the ranking of your website and your Google Places listing.  It represents a low-cost, high impact marketing technique that can be easily outsourced to marketing specialist on Marketing Outfield.

About David Hubbard

David Hubbard is Marketing Outfield’s CEO and Chief Revenue Growth Consultant with deep experience leading Marketing, Sales and Product Management teams. He has helped both private and public companies grow by 25-50% per year by delivering Chief Marketing Officer / Chief Sales Officer fractional, interim and project consulting services. Start accelerating your profitable revenue growth today! Request a Complimentary Revenue Growth Consultation.