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Improve Local Search Engine Rankings with Online Directories
As a small business owner, you know how difficult it can be to compete for one of the ten hot spots on the first page of search engine results. Large companies have the resources, traffic and inbound links to be recognized as trusted and therefore rank higher.
Luckily for small to medium sized businesses, local searches have become increasingly popular. When people begin their search, many are looking to weed out large companies and seek local businesses. One way to rank high in a local search is to use long tail keywords with geographic targets. However, we know that keywords and on page SEO only account for roughly 25 percent of the ranking process.
Another way to improve your local rankings is to create and/or claim your business in online directories in conjunction with long tail geographic keywords. Yet, with so many directories to choose from, which ones are best? Below are the top five online directories I recommend.
- Google Local. Although you are required to have a Google user account to submit a listing for Google Local, I find it to be the best directory. Once you create your listing, it provides statistics such as impressions, actions (# of driving directions requested, # of clicks to your website, etc.). Listings are set up quickly, and an automated call is placed to verify your information through a pin that they send.
- Yahoo Local. As with Google Local, you do need a Yahoo account to set up your company. A "real human" must verify the information before the listing becomes active.
- Bing/MSN. Quite similar to Google and Yahoo. Despite reading that you can verify via telephone, I am set up to receive a postcard with a pin number on it.
- Yellowpages.com. Free listings tend to get lost on their site as paid listings will rank higher for each category. But on search engines, your site will be recognized and rank well with a listing here.
- LinkedIn. Creating a company page further enhances your rankings on the search engines. Editor's Note: See related article How to Improve Search Engine Rankings Using Your LinkedIn Profile
Adding your business information and URL to these directories, as well as many others, will increase your rankings on search engines. While it is inviting to create or claim your business on every directory, this can be counterproductive as these sites rank very high and may push your actual site to the second or even third page if you overdo it.
If you want to add your company listing to additional directories, be sure to do a search on them to see if others have provided feedback. This will help to determine if their site is the right place for your company.
Also be consistent with your company description, as many times your listings will appear one after another on searches and it can be confusing to customers if you promote different parts of your business on each site.
Suzanne Vara is Managing Director of Kherize5 Advertising & Marketing, an interactive marketing agency specializing in small business social media, website development and search engine optimization. Her blog is www.kherize5.com/blog.
Article Source: Kherize5 Blog