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A Beginners Guide To Local SEO – Part 2 – Directories

The previous part of our beginners guide to local SEO has proven to be very popular so we thought a great way to finish off the year would be to add part 2 to our blog.

In the next part of our beginners guide, we will highlight just how important directories can be for any local business.

Aren’t Directories A Thing of the Past?

Whilst the days of the hard copies of the phone directory and the Yellow Pages may be disappearing quickly into the past, online directories have never been more popular A Beginners Guide To Local SEO – Part 2and are therefore well worth spending some time investigating.

The trick with making the most of the potential offered by online directories is choosing the right ones to submit your business details to.

To try and make things a little easier for you, we can tell you straight away that there are two types of directory you should be looking for: The kind which is so big that potential customers cannot ignore it (step forward Yelp.com for example!) and the type of directory which may be a little more niche but is still likely to be used by your prospective customers. Whilst you may find that whilst compiling your target list you find a number of directories that fill both criteria, it is important not to neglect the latter group.

Please Note – To help you along your way, you can find a pretty comprehensive list of directories here, with the biggest highlighted in red.

A Little Bit of Homework

To help ensure that you identify the directories which are most likely to benefit your business, there are a couple of things that you can do to help narrow down the field.

  • Ask your existing customers how they found out about your business
  • Take some time to find out which directories your competitors are using

Once you’ve done this, you will then be ideally positioned to create a list of the most suitable directories to submit your details.

Please Note – We cannot emphasize this strongly enough, ‘continuity is key’. The goal of directory listing submissions is not to make as many as possible, it’s about making sure that your business is listed on the most relevant sites along with making sure that your details are consistent and accurate.

What To Do Next?

Once you’ve carried out the above steps, you are going to be in pretty good shape but following the next few steps will help to move things forward even further.

  1. Have you heard of Bing Places? Whilst it’s not as popular as Google Maps, it still attracts a huge number of visitors each month and is well worth taking advantage of – Set your business up on Bing Places.
  2. Make sure you’re on Yelp. You will probably have already done this but just in case it slipped through the net, please make sure that you do it now. Yelp is used by Apple Maps, so if you want to let iPhone users know where you are, then you need to be on there.
  3. Encourage customers to leave you reviews. Even the odd bad one is not necessarily a disaster, however it is obviously in your best interests to get as many good ones as possible.

The submission of online directories also offers another HUGE benefit but you will have to check back with us again soon to see what that is!

By | December 3rd, 2014|Local SEO|Comments Off on A Beginners Guide To Local SEO – Part 2 – Directories

A Beginners Guide To Local SEO – Part 1

It is a time honoured problem for businesses throughout the world. No matter how important your services or products may be, the inability of customers to find you will ensure that your business never takes off.

Changing Times

Advertising used to be the most effective method of promoting your business to potential customers but the rise of the internet means that traditional advertising can be a SEOlittle redundant now due to the fact that it is easier than ever before for potential customers to track down the services and products they require through their computers, smart phones and tablets.

Traditional marketing has been replaced by online marketing and this is beginning to evolve quickly. Online marketing relies in large part on search engine optimisation (SEO) but this is far more complex than it used to be. Whereas stuffing anchor text and grabbing links from as many sites as possible used to work like a dream, following this route now will quickly get you in Google’s bad books!

Don’t Skip Ahead

It’s amazing how many SEO providers are prepared to look way into the distance when implementing SEO strategies and at the same time forget to cover the essential basics.

Few bits of information are more fundamental to any business than its name, address and phone number (NAP) and these play a crucial role in SEO and in particular ‘Local SEO’. Consistency is the key word here, both on your website and wherever your business is mentioned on the web.

Please Note – If your NAP details differ from place to place, you’ll not only confuse potential customers, but search engines as well.

Consistency of Information

It’s a constant source of amazement for us how many businesses have conflicting pieces of information on their website.

As we have just stated, consistency is key and making sure that your NAP is consistent throughout your website is absolutely essential.

For example, it may be that your business has changed its telephone number or location and haven’t fully updated all your information, or that a web designer made a mistake when putting your site together.

Whatever the reason, you can be certain that we will take all of the time needed to make sure that all of the NAP information on your website is correct.

Please Note – Even something as small as a missing apostrophe could confuse a search engine.

Google Plus Business Pages

Have you ever noticed that some of the search results on Google look a little different to others? Google often gives preference to listings which are linked to a Google Plus business page and will display these at the top of their search results.

The image below highlights the importance of tapping into Google Plus business pages and shows how they can help your listing to stand out from the crowd by showing additional information drawn from your G+ page.

Google-Maps-Listing

Creating Your Page

Creating your page is very similar to any other business citation submission (we’ll be adding more about this soon) but below we have highlighted a couple of tips to help you along the way.

No. 1 – Make sure that your NAP information right – as already stated, this is absolutely essential.

No. 2 – Ensure that you tell Google whether you serve customers at their address (e.g. a gardener or a plumber) at provide your services at your address (e.g. a pub or restaurant). This information will be used by Google to display how your business is displayed on Google maps. If you have a physical shop that customers can visit, then you’ll get a pin. If you deliver your goods/services remotely, then Google will display your service area.

Once you’ve entered this information, a Google + Business page will automatically be created for your company. You’ll also be asked to verify your address. This is done by sending you a postcard which contains a verification code which you enter into the Google + dashboard once it arrives and results in the account being fully activated.

There is a whole host of additional information which can be added to your listing and if you would like to find out more, give us a call to see how we can help to maximise your online exposure.

By | October 27th, 2014|Local SEO|Comments Off on A Beginners Guide To Local SEO – Part 1
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