Local SEO Essentials: Directories

Local SEO Essentials: Directories

Directories are Essential for Local SEO

Perfectly accurate and consistent business information (name, address, and phone) distributed across all major online publishers and directories is an essential component of local SEO. Why? Well, let’s start here:

  • 40% of in-person purchases include online research
  • More than half of all purchase-related conversions occur within one hour after the initial mobile search
  • 76% of purchasing decisions are still made in person and locally

I could provide numerous additional statistics to validate this point: being found online is vital to offline revenue. Thus, your digital presence needs to be accurate and compelling, driving customers to your physical location. So, here’s what you need:

  • Your own website, optimized for search
  • Social profiles
  • Directory listings and search engine results
  • Reviews of your business

To expand this a bit, here’s my short list of local SEO success factors:

  • You must be findable
    • Your online presence is the key to being found
    • Your website must be optimized (tags, descriptions, structure) with proper keywords and content
    • Directory listings with inaccurate data are costing you leads and business (e.g. missing phone numbers, incorrect address, misspellings)
    • You must fix the errors and keep your data accurate everywhere
  • You must be engaging
    • Contribute great content onsite and offsite—continually
    • Engage socially with your customers
  • You must be nice

Publishers and Directories (essential for local SEO)

It’s time to narrow the focus of this post. Lean in—you don’t want to get this wrong. Perfectly accurate and consistent business information (name, address, and phone, aka NAP) distributed across all major online publishers and directories is paramount.

Imagine visiting a new city, then asking 10 people for directions to the local Starbucks. The first person gives you two cross streets, but no address. The second person says nothing, but points north with a smile. The third individual offers you a phone number, but can’t tell you where it is. The fourth—he knows the street address, but his information is in conflict with the cross streets provided by helpful citizen #1. The fifth person has a photograph of the manager. Every person you ask provides inconsistent information. This experience leaves you disillusioned and uncertain; you DON’T know where the Starbucks is. However, you aren’t deterred from finding coffee, so you ask 10 more people, but this time you ask for the location of the local Dunkin Donuts. All 10 individuals give you the exact same address and a phone number to call for additional assistance. You promptly make your way to Dunkin Donuts.

Here’s the moral of the story. Google works exactly the same way. Google will rank your business higher if all major local directories have consistent and complete NAP data. Low confidence leads to lost business and lower search rankings. High confidence comes from:

  • Consistency—the same exact NAP
  • Authority—sites Google deems authoritative
  • Quantity—listings on all major directories

This is logical. Consistency in trusted sources matters.

Let me wrap this up with some effective advice. When filling out publisher profiles for your business, remember that better content yields better results:

  • Create detailed business listings
  • Make each profile as in-depth as possible
  • Maximize your categories
  • Add menus, products, services, biographies
  • Connect your social channels

Now it’s time for you to get started. You will certainly see a difference in traffic by tackling your local listings!

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