When you run a small business, there’s always that nagging question in the back of your mind that goes something like this, “Can I stand out among the competition?” Here are 4 online business directories that will hopefully answer that question and give your company a well-deserved SEO boost.
In fact, there’s no better time to sign up for one or all of these featured online directories.
Since the onset of the pandemic last March, many businesses have closed their physical locations, having made the decision to promote their brands online instead.
That means local SEO is more important than ever for many small business owners.
Advantage of Listing Your Business Online
There are several advantages to using online business directories.
For one, an online listing can enhance your search engine optimization strategy provided you use the kinds of keywords and longtail phrases that people normally type into a search bar.
It’s also important to note that with the increase of voice search, you should keep in mind the kinds of things people might say when searching for something as opposed to using a keyboard.
Secondly, you can be discovered more easily. Even if a person doesn’t know the name of your company but types a query like “plumbers near me,” that can redirect the user to your online directory listing.
Simply being listed in an online business directory will automatically boost awareness of your brand. With that in mind, be sure to add photos and other graphics to your listings.
Google My Business
Perhaps the most valuable of all online business directories is Google My Business.
This is more than a directory, though. It’s a chance to use Google’s domain authority to help you market your business online. But don’t think you can create a listing and forget about it. Like everything else online, you must remember to update it, at least on a weekly basis.
Because posts on Google My Business expire after a certain length of time (7 days to be exact), it’s even more important to keep it up to date.
When creating your profile, be sure to use the address that USPS suggests and include the geographic areas you serve.
Don’t forget to ask your customers for reviews as a Google My Business listing with positive reviews will be more trust-worthy to would-be customers.
A Google My Business listing also elevates your business in the Google Maps search results.
Find out more about creating your Google My Business listing in this blog post.
Since Apple Maps is the default maps application on every iPhone and iPad, it makes sense to list your business here too.
Ideally, you should have an Apple ID if you are going to list your business on this app.
Having your business on Apple Maps is beneficial since many users search for products and services using Siri on their phones or Apple Watches.
Be sure to go to Apple Maps Connect to sign up. You’ll be asked to enter the name of your business and its location in the search box to see if any listings of your business already exist.
If one has been created, simply click on it and claim it as your own. If not, click “Add a new place” and follow the instructions.
Unlike Google My Business, Apple Maps does not collect reviews. However, it does pull them in from other platforms like Yelp and even TripAdvisor, especially important if you have a tourism-related business.
While Google is still the number one platform for Internet searches, there’s another search engine platform that you might want to consider.
It’s called Bing, and it’s owned by Microsoft.
While it only generates about 6.9 percent of the market share in the United States on all platforms, including desktop, tablet, and mobile, it still has a pretty decent Domain Authority of 94 compared to Google’s DA of 100.
Its users might be older than those visiting other platforms, but according to Statista, they have a lot more buying power, so listing your business on this platform could be fruitful.
If you are in the business services, cleaning services, contracting, home improvement and maintenance industries, as well as the insurance, law, or real estate fields, you should check out Bing Places for Business.
Bing Places is free to use. If you list your business on the platform, the results of a search will look like this below.
In addition, Bing displays local results below paid ads and before any other organic search results, so as far as SEO is concerned, it is definitely worth exploring.
If you already have a Google My Business account, you can sign up for the Bing Places for Business service through Google.
If you’re in the construction business (think roofing, plumbing, handyman services) or even if you run a car repair shop, or you’re a doctor or a dentist, it could be worth your while to create a listing on this popular directory, which currently lists 10 million local businesses and counting.
The directory service is free to sign up for (if you’re a business, that is). Anyone else intent on using it must pay a fee.
As a result, the audience within Angie’s List environment is smaller than, say, Google, but because it’s a subscription service, members who use it are more serious about purchasing.
The sales cycle might be shorter, but that doesn’t mean you can just set it and forget it.
Once you start to get business as a result of Angie’s List, be sure to keep an eye on reviews as both positive and negative ones can be posted.
Have you signed up for any of the 4 online business directories mentioned in this blog post? If so, let me know if you had any success with them in the comments section below.
And as always, feel free to sign up for my free e-newsletter.