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Can Local Business Directories Help Your Business?

by Gary Fox | Marketing

There are several ways local businesses can increase their visibility online, but few are as successful and cost effective as investing in Local Business Directories. Prospective customers use local search to find businesses in their area. By including your business information in a directory, your site becomes an authority and gives your business a leg up in the search results. But what exactly is a ‘Local Business Directory’ and how can it help your business.

What is a local business directory? A truly ‘local business directory’ is a business run by people living in the area it services. It is a local business just like other locally run businesses in a town. Its job is to help local businesses get noticed by residents and visitors and provide up-to-date information to prospective customers. Locally run directories are more in tune with what is happening and have current information about businesses, unlike sites run by firms from outside the area. A local business directory can list hours, location, and contact information, along with pictures and other relevant information about your business.

What is the importance of local directories? Data shows that 63% of purchasers perform an online search before making a purchasing decision (81% of retail shoppers). Local business listings play a critical role in search engine rankings, revenue, and reputation. They build brand recognition, confidence, site traffic, and more. In general, they help to increase the chances of customers finding your business.

Why do people use directories? Put simply, they allow users to immediately identify, learn about, and contact your business. Most users search on their mobile devices while on the go so it is important that the local business directory has good mobile usability. Many local business listings also provide additional information and links that further help consumers learn about your business.

Are directory listings worth it? It is always worth listing your business in a reputable and trusted directory. Listing your business on a local directory helps drive high-authority backlinks from other websites and increase a company’s visibility and search results.

Are there any reasons why not to get listed in business directories? For some, it may cause spam and unwanted junk requests from other people. However, that weighed against all the benefits are minor. 

Three ways a Local Business Directory Will Help Your Business  

1.    Enhance Your Online Presence and Local Visibility. 
By listing your business in local directories, you’ll gain a lot of exposure within your town, increase your brand’s authority, and build trust with your audience. Getting listed would amplify your online presence, drive traffic and customers to your business as well as put you ahead of the competition. Local business directories provide valuable information about your business to prospective customers.

2.    Boosts brand image, SEO, and Rank Higher on Search Engines.
By providing good service, you’ll receive positive reviews boosting your image and business. Many online directories have stringent business requirements. Passing them proves your business is legit. Providing valuable information on local directories along with proper keywords raises your rank on search engines such as Google which generates more traffic to your business.

3.    Inexpensive way to Stand Out in Town
Advertising your business in a local directory gives you optimal results at a low price. A listing in a local directory creates a general trust and credibility factor with customers because you allow yourself to be searched on the web, which also attracts links back to your website. Local business directories create brand awareness which gets your business easily discovered.

What Are the Components of a Local Listing?

The main components of a local listing are the business’s name, address, phone number, and website URL. Most listings have at least this information, but will likely include some additional information, such as:
•    Business category
•    Business description
•    Company photos
•    Hours of operation
•    Directions
•    Videos
•    Payment forms accepted.
•    Business hours
•    Accessibility
•    Customer reviews
•    Email, and social media links

It is recommended that you fill out as many of these components as possible to provide valuable information to potential customers. At the same time, this information helps Google gain a better understanding of your business, helping the algorithm determine how to rank your site in the search results. 

IMPORTANT-What is Next: The next way people will be searching the Internet is by using Artificial Intelligence (AI) - chat searches such as ChatGPT (Microsoft) and Bard (Google) to name a couple. Chatbots responds to questions in a normal language as if a real person was responding to your question. 

Having your business on a Local Business Directory can be a big help with AI searches. Chatbots hold data for a long time. They analyze the question based on the historic data connected to the question while a search engine only looks for the prior searches. Information from your listing on the local business directory, website, social media, blogs, reviews, etc. will help the chatbots to learn about your business and reply to consumer inquires. 

When the local search engines have high traffic and are found at the top of search engines, information is more likely to be pulled by the chatbots. This is an excellent reason to provide as much information about your business as possible in a local directory that has high traffic volume and is found at the top of search engines. It is also important to keep your information current and up to date. Combining information from these sources allows chatbots to provide personalized recommendations and improve their performance over time.

Now that you know how important it is to utilize an online business directory, the next step is to choose the right directory to leverage your business. Explore which local business directories are available in your town and the amount and type of consumer traffic they receive. Are they reaching locals as well as visitors and new residents? Does the directory show high on search engines when your town is searched? Is it run by residents that keep the directory updated? Compare the investment against the return and the amount of information they provide on your business.  Local Business Directories help grow your business and will only be more important as Artificial Intelligent Chat sites become the norm. 

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