Let Your Fingers Do the Walking… Local Business Directories and the Small Business Owner

By AharonC

Back in the 20th century business owners would tell you that the key to success was location, location, location.

That, and you HAD to advertise your business in the yellow pages

Well, the 20th century is gone – long gone, and no one uses the physical yellow pages anymore. Yet local brick and mortar stores need to direct traffic to their websites and storefronts.

I know, the web is ubiquitous and no one needs to go to actual storefronts. 

But what about when you want to go out to a restaurant? You’re still going to search for good pizza shops online.  

So small businesses definitely need to get your attention.

Unfortunately, many don’t know how to do that. 

A recent survey conducted by ConstantContact showed that small businesses like single-store restaurants or boutique shops are primarily concerned with gaining new customers. 

What to do?

Clearly small business owners should be very busy getting good reviews and listings to their stores on directories of local businesses. 

85% of SMBs say it’s important to be found on local search sites, apps, and directories.  78% believe that new customers will come from finding them on these sites and directories. 

However, only 23% of small businesses have a good sense of how listings drive traffic to their business.  And 70% say they don’t have the time to manage listings on all of the sites that consumers use, which pretty much explains why 50% of erroneous listings are never corrected (most small business listings are likely to be missing enhanced or “rich” content that consumers increasingly look for when in a buying mood, ie product discussions, user reviews etc).  

So the customer shops elsewhere….

These findings highlight the challenges that SMBs face in managing their online listings.  Several subscription services (eg Yext) exist that simplify listings management by syndicating one data entry across several online local listings, but they are costly and may be limited in scope.

Local listings on mobile devices are the next BIG THING!

Google has said that 20% of PC-based search is location-specific. It’s also said that between 40% – 50% of mobile search is about location-specific.

84% of SMBs believe that a website optimized for mobile is important to their business, but very few know how to create one. 

And yet 85% believe more people will be looking for businesses on mobile sites in the near future.

The data presented in this post makes it readily apparent how crucial it is to be listed in every directory possible. Not only do directories outside of Yelp receive large amounts of unique traffic each month, but Google promotes directory sites today on page 1 for many location based search queries while pushing organic rankings well below the fold and onto page 2.   

Note:  if you do pay for a service to manage the listings, make sure it’s comprehensive. Eric Vreeland posted a list of the Top 50 business directories for local marketing.

1. Google 2. Bing 3. Yahoo! 4. Yelp 5. Merchant Circle 6. LinkedIn 7. YellowPages.com 9. Whitepages 10. Supermedia 11. Yellowbook 12. CitySearch 13. Mapquest 14. Biznik 15. Local.com 16. Foursquare 17. ThinkLocal 18. CitySlick 19. USYellowPages 20. SuperPages 21. Outside.in 22. Dex 23. BizJournals.com 24. TeleAtlas 25. JustClickLocal 26. Discover our Town 27. Metrobot 28. EZ Local 29. twibs 30. LocalEze 31. Kudzu 32. CityVoter 33. Manta 34. Zipweb 35. MatchPoint 36. UsCity.net 37. Local Site Submit 38. InfoUSA 39. Axciom 40. Infignos 41. Yellow Assistance 42. Get Fave 42. My Huckleberry 43. GenieKnows 44. MojoPages 45. Brownbook 46. Magic Yellow 47. CitySquares 48. TeleAtlas 49. Navteq GPS 50. Judy’s Book

How many are you in?

Reputation Management

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