What are online directories?
Listing your business information online gives people useful information they can use to find and contact you, determine your location, and/or judge the quality of your business. Consumers use these types of online directories every time they conduct online research before buying a product or service.
Most major search engines have created directories to make it easy for people to find businesses, occupations, facilities, and other types of listings. Adding your business information to these directories will help people find you when they’re searching for products or services.
The more business citations you have linked to your website, the higher your website will rank in search results for your industry and geographic area. While obtaining and linking to these citations may seem like a lot of work at first, it will benefit your online reputation immensely in the long run.
Along with enhancing your online visibility, business citations help build your search engine ranking status. Obtaining and properly using business citations helps push your listing toward the top of the search results, making it far more likely that prospective customers will find you.
Here are some of the ways that online business citations can benefit your business:
Helps potential customers find you
When people are looking for businesses like yours, directory listings make it very easy for them to find you. If you’ve done your job well, your business citation will include key information, such as your business name, address, phone number, and potentially even website URL.
When visitors see listings that include this information, they’ll know they’ve found the right company.
Increases your website visitors
When potential customers can find information about your business easily, they’re more likely to visit your website. Website visitors are potential customers.
Helps you rank higher in search results
Each business citation you obtain and properly list helps your website rank higher in search results. Over time, the accumulation of business citations will help your business achieve an excellent search ranking for your industry and geographic area.
Appear more trustworthy and credible
When prospective customers see accurate, exclusive business citations for your business, they will perceive your business as being more trustworthy and credible. This will help establish a better feeling in customers’ minds as they consider doing business with you.
Increases traffic to your website
As your business citation appears higher in search results, it will receive more click-throughs from users. If they find useful information on your business citation, they’ll likely click through to your website to find additional information and entice them to take action, whether that’s purchasing a service or proactively calling you.
Helps drive phone calls
When visitors find complete, accurate business phone numbers on business citations, they can easily call your office to connect with you. This is a particularly effective tactic for gaining new customers in highly competitive SEO niches.
SEO advantages of business citations
Business citations benefit your SEO in several important ways, including:
Increases SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) rankings
As more and more users browse search results to find businesses like yours, your business citation will rise in the SERPs, giving prospective customers a quick and easy way to find you.
Assists link building
When you establish business citations for all of your affiliated websites, you’ll build quality links to your main domain, which will help raise your domain authority and boost google page rank.
Helps promote and establish online presence
By demonstrating that you have an active business in your area, your business citations will help strengthen your online presence and visibility. As new customers seek out information about your company, they’ll be more quickly convinced that you’re a legit business.
How to build business citations manually
Building business citations yourself is not extremely difficult, but it does require a certain level of digital and macro knowledge of your local market. You’ll need to know what business directories to list your business on, what information to include, and how to submit your business citation data.
If you’ve been in business for a while and have an online presence, start by finding and consolidating all of the business citations for your company on the web. This is usually as simple as searching Google or similar search engines, along with the name of your business and the city where you’re located.
The best place to start is Yelp, Google My Business, and other local business citation websites, as well as BBB, to make sure that your business data is correct and that your business is properly categorized.
Once you’ve found all of your business citations, start taking action to edit or update the information that’s currently listed. Depending on the website or resource, you may be able to edit your information through a dashboard or through a manual submission form.
Keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to maintain consistency with your business name, address, and phone number when building business citations. For example, if your business is currently listed under “Abcs Dry Cleaning” instead of “ABCs Dry Cleaning”, make sure to update all of the information with the correct business name before adding additional business citations.
An Easier Way To Submit and Manage Online Listings
Having to manually submit and update your info on every online directory can take a lot of time and resources. That’s why there are services like BrightLocal or Yext to manage your citations and directories automatically.
BrightLocal has some great tools for local businesses to rank higher on search results. Their citation builder tool lets you submit to over a hundred different directories. Unlike Yext, BrightLocal claims to manually submit the listings and their pricing is based on the number of submissions and one-time fee.
Yext listings on the other hand has a listing tool that lets you manage all your listings for a monthly fee. This can be great if you’re needing to update your business information often as it will automatically update all the listings for you.
Hire An SEO Expert
An SEO expert can help improve and optimize your web presence as well as boost your ranking on major search engines.
Contact us for more information on how we can help you with citations and building links with online directories.