Claim Your Free Online Directory Listings
As a local business, medical practice, or organization, attracting new customers, patients, or clients is a major challenge. People are using the Yellow Pages less and less to find local businesses. Instead, they are turning to the internet as a way to find trusted business recommendations.
Everyone knows about Google and the major search engines. However, many people don’t know that another great and 100% free way to get found online is through inclusion in online directories. Directory listings are a great resource for bringing targeted traffic (visitors most likely to convert) to your Web site. The leading online directories are very often among the top organic search results on Google, Yahoo, and Bing because they have a great deal of content related to specific categories and geographies.
Every individual directory that you submit to is another chance to get found online. It's important to make sure you're listed everywhere possible. Please note that it is very important to claim your listing directly at the Google Local Business Center, as well as at data providers like Localeze, Universal Business Listing, and infoUSA. Verifying with these online directories is important because of their direct feeds to Google, and their use in directories and other local search portals, which serve as citations via Google’s web crawl.
Instead of trying to figure out where to start, we have made it easy by providing a list of a few dozen directories that every business, practice, or organization should be listed on. They include;
Google Local Business
Universal Business Listing
Adding a listing to these online directories can be easy, and at other times very difficult. The difficulty comes from a verification process that some directory sites require before you can do anything with your listing. This happens with some of the most important directory websites like Google Plus Local and Yelp, among others. Usually, you can choose several different ways, (from mail to text, to email), to verify that you are authorized to manage your organization’s local listings.
It is important to take advantage of free listings on all of the leading directories to help you get found by online searchers. If you do not want to manually go to every directory listed, another option is to go to a website like www.Yext.com. From their home page you can type in your business information and get a list of how your business listing looks on many leading online directories. From that list you can click on any of the listed directory web sites to claim, review, and update your listing. Beware that the list is not a complete list of the leading free online directory websites, and that you will surely receive an email a phone call or both from this company to market their paid services to you.
No matter how you choose to access each directory site, filling out the forms individually on each directory will take a ton of time, it is not efficient, and it may lead to errors. To make it easier, we recommend that you create a Master File with all of the information, photos, and video that will need to populate all of their local business listings. Instead of typing information into each directory form, they simply cut and paste the content from the Master File. It’s much easier, and it ensures consistent information across every directory.
Here is an example of that file:
|Phone Number (2)|
|Web site URL|
|Payment forms accepted|
|Discounts, coupons, or special offers|
|150 character business description|
|3 paragraph business description|
|Logo file (jpeg)|
Before you complete your own Master File, it is well worth your time to use Google’s Keyword tool to search for the keywords and phrases used most often to find your type of business, practice, product, service, or organization. If you have not used this tool before, just go to the following link: https://adwords.google.com/KeywordTool and follow the instructions to Find Keywords. Use the most searched keywords in the “business description” in each directory.
If your listing already exists, claim it, and begin updating it. If you find duplicate or multiple listings, eliminate all but one of them. When you finished claiming, updating, and submitting your listings you still need to review them within 24 hours, and again about two weeks later to make sure that your changes are published.
We recommend that you keep track of all of the directory listings that you have claimed and/or touched, along with the login and password for each directory site. Once you have completed your directory cleanup, you will have a much better chance of increasing your website traffic, and your online visibility. Contact URWA Consulting at (303) 217-3993, or firstname.lastname@example.org to get help with your online directory submissions, SEO, and digital marketing.