1. Google Places:
By adding your business to Google Places, you show up on Google Maps and Google local results. This is one of the most important things a local business can do to get found on the web. Here are a few reasons why: Google Maps is a hugely popular mapping application. Google Place Page results show up on Google.com for most local searches. Google Maps is one of the most popular applications on smartphones. And while claiming your Place Page is a good start, you should also invest the time in optimizing your page so that you rank well for your categories.
2. Facebook Fan Page:
Apart from being the most visited site on the internet, over 1.5 million businesses have created fan pages on the network, and 20 million people become fans of pages every day. Facebook is a long way from being the first place where consumers search for businesses, but it has quickly become the most likely place for consumers to connect with local businesses online. To create a page you must be logged in to your personal account. People who follow your page won’t be able to see your private information, FB just doesn’t allow people to anonymously create pages. Also, once you’ve created it, you can add other administrators to the page. Facebook users can also check in to locations, and Facebook has their own version of place pages as part of this functionality. You need to claim or create a place page in addition to creating a business page, and then link it to your business page.
AT&T owned Yellowpages.com rebranded as YP.com, and it’s not your parent’s yellow pages any more. Under pressure from the likes of Google and Yelp, YP.com has a fresh look and more social content and features. They also distribute listings to a number of syndication partners.
Superpages also went through a significant redesign recently, but doesn’t seem to be keeping up with Yellowpages.com or the others.
The review site Yelp is the most popular social site focused on local business search. Given its emphasis on social content and interaction, Yelp tends to do better than other directory sites when it comes to attracting younger, more social users.
Citysearch.com has been holding steady for a number of years now in terms of on-site traffic, but they have been growing their network of distribution through syndication and the recently announced CityGrid blows their distribution opportunity wide-open.
7. Yahoo! Local:
As with many things Yahoo!, Yahoo! Local is holding steady, but not seeing the growth of Google or even Bing. But they still provide a very popular service, so worth making sure you are listed there.
8. Bing Local:
Microsoft has long struggled behind Google and Yahoo! in the world of web search, but the tides have turned of late. Since Microsoft launched Bing.com last year, they have steadily been gaining search share. Bing local and maps operate under the www.Bing.com domain.
LinkedIn isn’t exactly a place where people go to look for local businesses, but it does offer rich business listing functionality, and the domain carries quite a bit of authority. LinkedIn has also been adding many useful features for businesses, such as the ability to announce promotions, share articles and blogs, and list open jobs. LinkedIn is very important for business-to-business exposure, since people will often browse from a personal profile to a business profile.
Localeze is not a local search site itself, it is a back-end data provider to many other local search services.
A lot like Craig’s List in that it’s kind of a classified ads website. Here, you can post basic ads with options for inexpensive, automated re-posting. Very user friendly, super quick and highly recommended.
Wow, what a super fun website! Businesses have a chance to take a step towards becoming more interactive with their clients in a digital way. A little like Yelp in that you can share tips and review businesses but when customers “check in” at your place of business, they get points, can become “mayor” of your business and maybe earn rewards.
13. Craig’s List:
The most popular of all of the ‘classified websites’, Craig’s List mostly offers free ways to post ads in various categories for free (unless you have a job opening to post – in that case, they charge). You’ll need to re-post your ad every couple of days, however.
A Couple of Pointers When Creating/Updating Listings
*Be accurate and consistent. If you have a registered business name, use that as your business name in all cases. Some of these sites will verify your information with public business registration data, and consistency will help your search ranking.
*Fill out everything you can. More information helps you get found, and makes your listing more useful to searchers – remember, your goal is not just to have your listings show up, you want people to visit your business.
There are many benefits to getting your business listed on other web sites. Four important ones are:
Links – links pointing to a web site are major factor in how that site ranks in search engines. I would say the most important factor, but linking is a complex and nuanced topic. Links are not all created equal. Where a link comes from is important. For example, a link from the home pages of nytimes.com is worth a lot more than a link on a page buried deep within a blog. And some web sites put a “nofollow” attribute on links. This attribute is a way of telling search engines not to follow nor associate value with a link. However, there is still some SEO value in a nofollowed link, in particular because user behavior is also a factor in Google ranking.
Web site traffic – this one is kind of obvious, but your listing will include a link to your web site, which will result in more traffic. Many consumers like to visit a web site before visiting a business. If yours isn’t listed, you lose out.
In-store traffic – consumers are using the internet more, and print yellow pages less. According to one study, print accounts for less than a third of local business search. Listing your business on the web is now the best way to get people to walk in to or call your business.
Citations – citations are references to your business that include your business name and some sort of geographic identifier, like a phone number or street address. Citations are one of the signals Google uses to determine ranking for local listings.
Christopher Diamond is the driving force behind CDA Tech Pros (http://cdatechpros.com), a full service computer consulting and support firm in the Phoenix area of Arizona. Christopher honed his skills supporting the IT departments in the entertainment industry in California until he relocated to Mesa, AZ in 2005. He now offers the same corporate grade support to businesses in the Valley with a wide range of services including Consulting, Implementation, & Support for Computers, Servers, & Networks, IT Security Assessments & Solutions as well as Website Development