Business listings are commonly known as online directories that contain and provide information about your company, some of the most popular are Google, Yahoo! or Yelp. Business listing directories and local SEO are especially important when a potential customer is looking for more information about a specific industrial area. This information, such as the business name, phone number, address, etc. is kept and submitted on these pages so the businesses appear on the radar of potential customers. These lists are key for owners to increase the company’s visibility via a search engine. Therefore, having good management of online platforms, knowing how to take advantage of them, and having a well-done business listing can be a lot of help in terms of search engine optimization (SEO) and therefore in sales.
Some of the benefits business listings bring are increasing traffic on the business’ web page (when they provide a backlink) and making it easier for potential customers that your company targets, to find your business. Also, the more you submit your business data on diverse free platforms in the right way, the more visibility your business page will have online; which in turn can increase your company’s credibility and importance.
Most of these platforms show up business’ information for free, besides our own (ashrays.com). However, assistants, owners, or community managers are required to fill in and submit this data manually.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the term used when targetting viewers in a specific region, for instance a city. The difference in how you should approach this is that in choosing your specific keywords, you should add the city and/or region in the keywords. When a potential customer then searches for a business and adds the city or region name to their search criteria then your listing is more likely to be shown.
What Information Is Important When Wording Business Listings?
The most important aspect to consider with the data that you want to submit is that it must achieve your objectives and you thereby profit from these amazing tool. Therefore, take a minute and think about the keywords and region that you want to target. Keep in mind that customers would only be willing to travel a specific distance to acquire a service or product. For instance, a tow truck service might target a specific town or county where an online store might target a country.
Here are some recommendations to be considered when completing your business listing forms:
- Business name – Exclusively, the full company name is required in this field, not a short description of what the company does or which category the company falls under. There are other opportunities for submitting additional information later in the process! Ensure that you use the same company name across all the different business directories that you will be submitting to so that the search engines will associate the different listings to your company. A slight deviation in spelling could mean missed opportunities.
Note: All branches of the company should be loaded as separate listings, in this instance, the name should be submitted with the company name followed by a ‘space, a dash (-), space, and then town/city in which the branch is located. I.e.: “Ashrays – London”. This will optimize your listing for local SEO so that when someone searches for your company name in a specific city then it will be first visible.
- Full address – the business listing must be submitted with the registered company address or the address from which the company operates. If, however, your company operates strictly online, it is important to add at least the Town/City, county and country for the listing to be submitted successfully.
- Phone number – the office number with international dialing code ought to be submitted here.
- Website – Make sure to load the company homepage URL, not other pages, backlinks, or other articles that are on the website. The idea is to drive traffic to your home page across all the business directory listings.
Note: The only exception to the rule and when this strategy is profitable is when loading another company branch as a separate listing and then you can link to the branch itself. However, uploading separate listings and directing them to the homepage can make the web rank higher in local search engines as it has higher authority than any other internal page.
- Category and services – most local business directory platforms have a set of categories to choose from. It is important to select the one that closes match your industry as the category will be another link on the listing page and search engines will use to classify the web page and therefore improve your ranking. (On some business directories it might not be possible to find any category that fits perfectly; in that case, and if there is an option available then we recommend clicking on “other” and add a personalized setting.)
- Business hours – this field may not directly contribute to your listing’s SEO, but it would be useful for viewers to see what your business hours are.
- Social media – in addition to a backlink to your website, you can also gain traffic from a business listing by providing social media links for your company, whether it is to Facebook, Instagram, or other platforms. Remember that the more links you have from across the internet, the better it is as it will raise the possibility to gain direct consumers.
- Description – This information is your chance to advertise your business and will carry the most weight with search engines. A minimum of 200 to 600 works is highly recommeded to get you story across. Think of it in the sense of, if this is the only opportunity to speak with the reader, what would you tell them about my business? You want to bring important keywords to the beginning of the text to catch their attention. My recommendation is to start with the company name followed by the town/city name and then the county/district name as this helps with local SEO. Use the rest of this space to describe exactly what your company does in the first sentence following your company name. I.e. “THE STUDIO in Leeds, Yorkshire, are architectural specialists in… ”. After this, feel free to tell your reader more, but it is important to get straight to the point in the first sentence. Ensure that the keywords you want to rank for are within the first sentence and repeated in the first paragraph. This guarantees that your potential future customers and the search engines know exactly what you provide. Also, it is best to write a unique business description for each business directory platform that you post on to ensure that the search engines do not penalize you for plagiarism/duplication within your own posts.
- Tags or keywords – These help to improve visibility on search engines. Keep it similar to the keywords that you want to rank for and which you used in the business description. These should be specific to your industry and will be key to grow visibility of this listing and thereby build traffic to your homepage.
Note: Do not use the same words in each set of keywords that are just a different order than other; rather make each set unique. For instance, “auction house Las Vegas” and “Las Vegas auction house” is the same and such similarities should be avoided.
Also, simply adding the word “in” to a keyword set does not make the new set unique. For instance, “auction house Las Vegas” and “auction house in Las Vegas” are considered to be similar and should be avoided.
- Media – Brand recognition is very important and starts with your company logo. If a user cannot recognize your logo which is 3cm wide and 3cm high when the image is on a monitor 40cm in front of them then it would be good to review the logo design. Companies like Nike have reverted to a very simple logo that is easily recognizable, even in very small print. Another good example of how a logo should work well in a small format is that of your website’s fav icon in the browser tab. A logo should be clean and easily identifiable. If you need assistance to review and redesign your company logo then you can find a designer on outsourcing platforms such as Fiverr.
Business logo: having a recognizable business logo is therefore very important at this step, it shows up the professionalism a company has and what they transmit to their customers.
Feature image: If a business directory does allow for a featured image to be submitted then do take advantage of it. This is considered to be eye candy and as the old saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Use a professional photo that represents your businesses; a photo that shows someone applying their trade or using your product is worth more than a stock image of an item standing alone. On Ashrays, this is a key feature and used to publish your business listing on other social platforms. It is important not to confuse this feature with the logo submission. Do not submit your logo in this area! A feature image, when used properly, can aid in the creation of a richer user experience and can influence your conversion rates.
Did you know? By having a featured image and a premium subscription, your listing and social media links would be boosted and get at least 500 extra likes/views per month.
- Email – It is common practice to use a disposable email address when doing public posts to prevent spam from being sent from the various directories. Therein does however lie a problem as the business could lose out on valuable direct communications from the business directory. For instance, communication from potential clients could be sent from the business listing page and would not reach the business owner, losing them the potential business. Many websites already list their public email address on their website so spam filters should already be in place. The recommendation is therefore to use corporate email that gets used for all such public communications to register on the business directories as they already get monitored on a regular basis to ensure that valuable emails aren’t missed. If you don’t already have one then it is worth creating a public email address for such use cases.
Tip: Make sure there are no incomplete duplicates in the information provided online as the traffic could flow between these two links, which isn’t the idea. We bring this up, as a result of common situations in which different people will on behalf of the same company create a profile and forget to finish it and leave the incomplete or incorrect information out on the internet which search engines could penalize. So when making up these listings, a recommendation is to be sure these incomplete profiles are either completed, modified, or deleted for improved local SEO.
The quality and consistency of your local business data have a direct impact on your local search engine rankings, which leads to web traffic, and transactions! Given the importance of this amazing piece of the local search marketer’s job, it is worth the time and effort to ensure that your listings are accurate, complete, and discoverable on the most important platforms.
Besides the commonly known free platforms Google, Yelp, Yahoo, and many others, Ashrays.com is an SME Business Directory Listing page where you are able to submit your business listing and with our help, make your business and competence more visible to potential customers. Go to Submit Your Listing and fill in your business’ data and we will publish it for you!
We, as a business listing page, want to encourage company owners to exploit this tool as much as possible for increasing potential and exponential growth. Therefore, one of our main concerns as a marketing page is to guide people to use these profitable tools and seize them where possible.