One of the amazingly simple ways to drive traffic to your website and ultimately to increase sales and profits is to register with local online business directories. There are essentially three big players when it comes to local search, and they hold the market share. Let’s take a look at them in detail.
It is estimated that more than 70% of internet users utilize local search engines like Google, Yahoo, or MSN before they make a purchase. If, for example, someone is looking for a personal trainer or fitness coach, they might type “personal trainer Dallas” into their chosen search engine. The results for indexed personal trainers will pop up. If they’re looking for children’s toys, for example, they’d do the same thing. They’d type “Children’s toys St Louis” into their search engine. If you’re a toy retailer (even if you don’t have a brick and mortar store) your results will show up. However, in order for you to show up on these search results, you have to be registered with the search engines.
How to register with local search engines
The good news is that if you have a yellow pages ad then chances are you already have a listing. Why? Because the search engines pull their information from a variety of sources, including InfoUSA, Yellow Pages, Acxiom, MagicYellow.com, SuperPages.com, and even niche sites like Nola.com and SearchMaryLand.com.
To check to see if you’re listed, go to the local search engines:
If you are not showing up on the listings, then your first step is to get listed. There are a variety of ways to do this:
You can get a yellow pages ad. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive. A simple listing will do the trick. Make sure that your website, if you have one, includes the same information as your yellow pages listing, and pay attention to the details. You’ll also want to make sure that your yellow pages listing is in appropriate and relevant categories. If you’re a pizza restaurant, then you want to be listed under ‘restaurants’ and ‘pizza restaurants’. Or if you’re a gift shop you want to be listed under ‘gift shop’ or ‘specialty store’ and not simply ‘retail’ or ‘shopping’.
You can submit directly to Google Maps at the Google Local Business Center. After submitting, your URL and address have to be verified by responding to a phone call or by a postcard delivered to your address.
Yahoo has a similar service where users can add a basic listing for free, which is http://listings.local.yahoo.com. This service allows you to update, edit, and improve your listing but you will need a Yahoo account.
Because new search engines are being added as the internet grows and changes, it pays to stay on top of them. Bing for example, has a local search and the registration/submission process is much the same as the other search engines. You’ll need to register with Bing and then you can visit their local business center and verify or add your business.
If local business plays an important role in your profits, you may also want to spend some time optimizing your site for your area – for example, by adding your city or state to your tags and content. Because consumers are getting more and more savvy about how they search, getting listed with local search engines is a great idea. And the good news is, listing your business with local online business directories is easy.