Local businesses are turning away from the traditional types of advertising they have done in the past. Businesses are sick of spending thousands of dollars on Yellow Page ads, and not getting any return on investment. Many of these businesses owners know that they need to have a Local SEO presence, but they don’t know what to do.
One of the most important aspects of Local SEO is “citations” or directory listings. This is where you get your business listed on sites like Brownbook, Manta, Foursquare, Yellowee, and literally thousands of others. Unfortunately it can take hours and hours of labor, or thousands of dollars to get listed in directories across the web. If you are short on man power and/or money there is a much better way to go about it. Finding the right citations for your local online marketing doesn’t have to be hard, and you don’t have to pay for a local citation finder either.
The first thing you have to have before you start signing up for citations is verifying your NAP data (Name, Address, Phone #). I also like to have an email address (to make it NAPE) because most directories are going to require this as well. Once you have the NAPE that you will use to fill out on directories, make sure that the data you have is EXACTLY what is on your website. It also helps to have this data on every page of your website, so you should try to get it in the footer.
The absolute first directory you have to sign up for is Google Places (G+ for Business). Google places is one of the top directory listings and for obvious reasons. Why wouldn’t Google want to promote their own service? After you have claimed your Google profiles and filled them out as thoroughly as possible you can move on to other citations.
This is where a lot of businesses sail off, because quite frankly there are thousands of directories. They get overwhelmed so they just freeze and do nothing. The next 4 directories you should get are Yahoo Local, Bing Local, Foursquare and Yelp. These require verification but it’s simple and needs to be done.
The next key aspect is finding relevant directories in your city. Every city in the country has local newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, Craigslist and business websites. Find what directories are in your city and fill those out first.
The way to find these directories in your city is to Google your keyword and city. For example, let’s say that you are a plumber in Boston. Simply do a map search for “plumber is Boston”. This is the result that I got:
Now Google This: “Narrow Way Plumbing & Heating 217 Norfolk St. Dorchester (617)436-5229” (Make sure you have the quotes around the Name and NAP data.)
The results are pretty amazing. You will get pages and pages of directories that the business is listed in! Pretty cool, right?
Not only are you finding local directories that are useful, you are also finding the top directories that your competitors are using. These should be the next directories you go after. Google is finding them relevant for your city.
This can keep you busy for weeks. The best way to track it is to create a spreadsheet. Go through the first 10 pages or so, and write down the URL. Simply work your way down the list, checking them off and filling out your Login & Password. Directory submissions can eat up a lot of time so set a goal. It may depend on how competitive your niche is, but start with 10 a month.
Over the next few months you’ll accumulate a massive amount of citations. If you have more time make it 15 or 20.
There are a lot of factors that go into local SEO marketing, but the three most important for any business are citations, citations and citations. Remember to have the right NAPE data, but you don’t have to struggle to find the citations that you need for your local SEO marketing.