When searching the Internet for a local business or service provider, such as a plumber, restaurant or apartment community, there is a good chance that search results will include links to sites like Yellow Pages or Yelp. These, and other similar sites, are referred to as local business listing sites, and they function as huge virtual directories for local businesses.
Why Are These Sites Important to a Local Business?
Basically, these virtual indexes are a source of citations for local businesses and ultimately, they can aid in improving a business’s credibility and visibility within search results. These directory listings often include basic information, including the business’s name and address, and may be enhanced with additional information including business hours or a website link.
These listings are important because search engines consider links from third party websites to yours as “votes” for your site, a may results in better search engine rankings. And the higher you rank, the more likely your business will be found by a potential customer.
Does Claiming Your Listings Cost Money?
The short answer is it depends.
Some sites do charge for a listing, like Angie’s List, but many do not and you can set up your listings yourself. However, claiming and setting up listings is time consuming. Luckily, there are services that provide these services. For example, since listing your local business can help improve search engine rankings, claiming and managing local listings is often offered by SEO or Internet Marketing companies. There are also several online companies that will offer to claim and manage your listings for a fee.
Where Do You Start?
First, decide if you want to claim your business listings yourself or get professional help. If you are looking to do it in-house, start by claiming and updating your Google+, Yelp and Yellow Pages listings. These three sites are the most visible, and the latter two sites were listed by Moz as the top two best citation sources in Philadelphia.
Keep an eye out for our future posts where we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to claim your Google+, Yelp and Yellow Page listings. If you are considering utilizing a professional to improve your online presence, contact us for your free marketing evaluation to learn how we can help.