Gone are the days that you can post an ad on a bulletin board or rely on direct mailing buck slip. The majority of consumers now do their research online.
In fact, roughly 4 in 5 customers will do research online about a local store before visiting in person. This is one of the reasons why it pays to have your information and customer reviews online.
Those looking for certain companies "near me” will have their business pop up in different listings. It may be Yelp, Foursquare, Google Maps, or other similar local directories.
In this blog, we’ll talk about some of the benefits of online business directories and how you can get started listing your information.
The Benefits of Online Business Directories
Improved online presence. If you want the information about your business to be found online, you want to be where your customers are. This means actively working to appear in search results and listing your information on additional websites outside of your business. Local listing sites will pop up when a searcher has “local intent,” meaning they are actively looking for businesses in their area. This is often advantageous for contractor companies as your business will come from your local community.
Better brand visibility. Creating a business profile for your service company on a directory website will increase your brand visibility. Consumers searching those listings for service companies will see your business and become familiar with your brand. You’ll also gain brand recognition with consumers who are searching for other companies on the directory.
Enhanced website SEO. Search engine optimization means that your brand will appear in the top search results for specific target keywords. It also improves traffic to your website. Local business directories optimize their site for certain keywords related to your business. Because they also have high domain authority, they are more likely to appear higher in the search results for the same keywords. If you’re looking to improve your overall marketing strategy, this is a great way to get your name out on the web.
Boosted business reputation. Some business directories such as Google My Business, Yelp, and Bing Places will allow customers to review their experience. Reviews are essential in helping a customer select a company. After reading around ten reviews, a customer will have formed an opinion of your company. Some business owners dread reviews because they’re afraid they’ll be negative. Remember, even if you receive a negative review about your contractor company, this is your opportunity to improve your business. Showing how you handle feedback is another critical factor in boosting your business reputation. Reviews can truly only help you!
Why Go Through The Trouble?
You may be thinking, “Are business listings worth it? Do I need to do this after I’ve created my website and social media?” The answer is yes!
Local business directories are often free and can help you improve your online presence through local SEO, brand visibility, and a better business reputation. While it may take time and effort to make profiles, you’ll ultimately benefit from getting your name and information.
Just make sure you keep all of your listings updated with your current name, address, and phone number so that customers can contact you when they want to.
Where Should I Look to be Listed?
Here we’ll list out 10 online directories for your contractor business. These will help improve discoverability and local SEO of your organization.
Google My Business (now known as Google Business Profile)
Bing Places for Business
Yahoo! Small Business
Yelp for Business
Better Business Bureau
How To Set Up A Local Business Listing
Sometimes all that stops us from moving forward with a new marketing strategy is understanding how to do it. Don’t fret! There’s plenty of information online about the best way to do it. Remember that Google is the dominant player in local search. As such, they set the tone for “best practices” when it comes to formatting data. You can find their guidelines for presenting your business here.
In general, as you set up your local business listing for your contractor company, you’ll need to fill out a form with all of the following information.
Business name (or title): Always use your real-world business name and match it exactly to how it is printed on your in-person sign, website logo, print marketing, etc. You should not add additional keywords, geographic terms, or other modifiers.
Address: Always list your real-world address. Do not add or alter your address in any way. PO boxes and unstaffed virtual offices are not considered real-world addresses, and thus they should not be on your local business listing.
Phone number: Google has a preference for local area code phone numbers. However, they do still support toll-free numbers.
Website URL: This must go to a page directly owned by the business. No third-party site, social profile, etc.
Categories: Most local business directories have a set of categories and will ask you to define your business. Proper categorization impacts your rank – so choose wisely!
Description: This will be a brief pitch for your company. You’ll be able to highlight the most persuasive and impactful elements of your business.
Tagline: This is where you can enter your tagline or slogan. Suppose you don’t have one, no need to create one.
Social profiles: Link your social profiles!
Images: Because images have a significant impact on local business listing click-through rates, it’s smart to upload as many high-quality photos as possible.
Additional media: If you have any videos or links to other forms of media that will further enhance your contractor business, business directories often allow these uploads.
Alternate phone numbers: Utilize for alternative forms of communication – not required.
Fax numbers: Although this is not a required field, it may be helpful if you still use a fax machine for certain business elements.
Certifications: Any certifications or awards your contractor business might have achieved can be posted here.
Payment forms accepted: Business directories often allow you to specify which payment methods you accept as a convenience to your customers.
Business directories and local business listings are key ways to tap into local SEO for your business. It enhances your ability to be found online and improves your business reputation.
If you find you’re struggling, LMM helps to fix and optimize all of your listings to add powerful SEO value. Contact us today.