Your local business may be wondering if getting your business listed in online directories is still a necessity in 2021. It can seem time-consuming and, in the case of some subscription-based directories, it can even be costly. The short answer? Yes!

Directories play a critical role in SEO, boosting your site’s position on search engines and generating leads. Businesses featured on directories also gain increased visibility and exposure. This added online presence is recognized by Google, affirming your business’s credibility and ultimately resulting in higher rankings. But how exactly does this work? And how can it benefit your local business? We can help!

How Do Online Listings Impact SEO?

As we mentioned above, local directories play a big role in SEO and search rankings. When your listings are optimized – meaning key information such as your address, phone number, and website are up-to-date and accurate – Google will trust your company’s data. And it is more likely to showcase your company when displaying search results. The more directories your business has, the more reputable your business appears to Google.

Failing to update this information uniformly across all your directories will result in inaccurate customer-facing information, lessening the trust that both Google and your customers have in your business. Google sees this as misdirection, and your rankings will fall.

Why Your Local Business Should Value Online Directories?

Let’s say your local business has an updated and complete Google My Business profile, filled with valuable and accurate information about your business. You may be wondering if that’s enough in the way of online listings. The answer is no! While that is a great start, even local businesses should register for multiple online listings. Here are a few reasons why:

1.      Customers Can Find Your Business Faster and Easier

By featuring your local business on various online listings, you allow customers more avenues for finding you. More local citations mean more listing opportunities on the first page of search results, putting your business information in front of more consumers. It also gives your customers easier access to more in-depth details on your business, such as third-party reviews, updated business hours, and contact/location information. This makes it easier for them to trust your business and feel comfortable purchasing from you.

2.      You’ll Get More Third-Party Reviews

Reviews can be a powerful source of information for both businesses and consumers. Online listings play a role in this as well. For businesses, reviews provide meaningful information and actionable feedback. For customers, reviews are often at the forefront of their knowledge and decision-making process when looking into a company for the first time.

Having multiple online listings – on sites such as Yelp or Google My Business –  is an excellent way to encourage customer feedback and interaction, which breeds trust and authenticity for your local business. Consistent positive reviews are also an excellent indicator to show Google that your business is relevant and therefore worthy of higher search rankings.

3.      Increase Your Relevance and Authority

More online listings equal more relevance for your local business. Search engines such as Google favor what is consistent and authoritative. Taking control of your local listings and diversifying your citations is a simple yet effective way to boost your business’s relevance and reputation, ultimately increasing your exposure and new lead potential!

How Can You Optimize Your Online Listings?

Now that we’ve established why local online listings are necessary, you may be wondering how to optimize yours.

One of the most common problems associated with online listings is information discrepancy across listings. For example, let’s say your business name is listed as “Sally’s Salon” on your Google My Business profile, but “Ms. Sally’s Salon Main Street” on your Yelp profile. Although this may seem minor, the name’s discrepancy will make it difficult for search engines and consumers to find your listings, which ultimately lowers your SEO and bumps your business further down the results page. Misspellings, abbreviations, or lack of suite numbers and area codes can have the same detrimental effect.

Directory Optimization With Vivial’s Marketing Platform

Google, Bing, MapQuest, Yelp, and Local.com are just a few of the hundreds of places of potential places to list your business. If your company isn’t listed or is listed but with incorrect information like discussed in the previous section, your potential customers may get frustrated trying to find you and ultimately resort to your competitors instead.

Reviewing, claiming, and correcting all those listings would be a full-time job—without Directory Optimization from Vivial.

Whether you have one location or 100, we can employ this powerful tool to ensure your information is accurate and everywhere customers are looking. To get started, reach out to a Vivial Digital Marketing expert to learn more about how our platform can work for you!