Business Directories – Dos and Don’ts

Online visibility is gaining more and more importance for small businesses as well as local branches of bigger companies. User behavior shows that a rising number of potential customers tend to check online for opening hours, offers or reviews before going to a barber shop or visiting a doctor. This kind of upfront research is often an important decision factor.
Google Search is of course still the number one place to go. So how can you achieve an optimal placement in Google’s “local search results” for an optimal visibility?

There are some easy steps for companies to follow in order to get a Google entry. A pretty good way is collecting so called “local citations”. Whenever your business is mentioned, including info like address, telephone number, etc., it is counted as a local citation. These mentions can, but don’t have to, include a link to your website. There are countless business directories that pile up exactly these kinds of citations. Most of them are rubbish and we highly advise to avoid excessive entries.

The perfect Google My Business set up

Top priority for a successful online presentation should be an entry to Google’s own business directory: “Google My Business”. This gives you the advantage to be found with not only your address and opening hours, but with a prominent extra entry to Google’s search results page as well.

Just like this:Bildschirmfoto 2016-09-12 um 14.02.05

Additionally your business will also be displayed in a map for every local search query (“keyword + city”).

In our case we searched for “SEO Vienna”:
Bildschirmfoto 2016-09-12 um 14.05.10

How to acquire Local Citations?

A My Business entry alone is generally not enough for a top ranking on Google’s search result pages. The search engine always compares the indexed data in its own database with the one available in the World Wide Web. Should there be no other sources for an entry the algorithm may be bound to believe the business is not actually legit. Google will thus deliver its own data more scarcely as it assumes a low relevancy.

That’s exactly why it is so important to get your business out there and register it in some more directories.

To get the most out of this strategy we have put together a 4-point-plan:

1.Research and Outline

First of all you have to know where your business is already listed. The easiest way is to simply enter your company’s name and address into Google. For a better overview we suggest adding all hits to a spread sheet.

All business directories ask for the same information:

  • Company name
  • Street, number
  • Post code
  • Telephone number
  • Short description

To make is easier for Google to correctly index your business, you should put a painstaking emphasis on listing absolutely identical information anywhere you go, as it is quite the difference for the algorithm if you enter “MyCompany”, “MyCompany e.U.” or “CompanyMy”.

2.Create a consistent information structure

Some of the already existing directory entries may not have been made by yourself. Thus they may contain errors, lack essential information or feature an incorrect business name with format errors as mentioned in point 1. These entries should be standardized.

3.Outreach – Find new sources

To find new citation sources we will once again use Google Search itself. Just do some searches for industry relevant keywords in combination with your location (e.g. “barber shop Vienna” or “hair dresser Vienna”). Add all directories that show up on the first two result pages to your spread sheet.

4.Creating new entries

All directories found in step 3 should be once more reviewed manually to make sure they are worthwhile. Here you should listen to your instincts: Is the page visually appealing? Does everything function correctly? Etc. A quick backlink check with tools like reveals whether the site is trustworthy or a mere link farming operation.
Finally you should create entries to all directories that made it through your inspection.
A good placement within the local search result is an effective way to boost your business and stay ahead your competitors. It may be a time consuming method, but it is definitely worth it.

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