The internet is a great marketing tool for all types of businesses. Large corporations are spending millions of dollars every year on online marketing. But for small local businesses with limited budgets it can be difficult to be found on the internet.
Local directories are a great way to promote local businesses and many online directories offer a free listing option.
Here are 7 online directories that all local businesses should list with:
The big daddy in the local directories space and if you list your business with no other directory, you MUST list with Google.
You may have noticed that Google Maps listings are showing up in normal Google searches..
Google are serving Google Maps business listings when people use location names in their searches. For some search queries where Google estimates your location they will serve Google Map listings even if you have not included a specific location in the search query.
By listing with Google Maps your business can benefit greatly from a top ranking local listing. Google does not explain how you go about topping the rankings for your keywords but some techniques believed to work include:
- Use keywords in the description of your business
- Include as much information as possible including opening hours, images, payment methods etc
- Link to your website and ensure your website is optimised for the correct target keywords
- Encourage your customers to write reviews of your business on Google Maps
A Google Maps listing is a must have for any business and will take only 10-15mins to set up.
Owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, True Local is promoting itself aggressively in competition with Yellow Pages. Local businesses can benefit by claiming your free business listing.
True Local has recently updated it’s look and is now a slick, user friendly directory.
At the time of writing True Local is advertising heavily on Google through their sponsored listings, which means local businesses can benefit from this advertising without the cost.
True Local offer reviews, maps and mobile phone applications. True Local shares it’s listings with Yahoo7 Local and Navman, providing local businesses with even greater exposure.
To top it off True Local listings can even rank well in their own right on Google.
True Local offer four listing types – Free, Basic, Priority and Premium.
Cost: Free, $33/mth, $88/mth, $205/mth
Hot Frog is another business directory owned by a big corporation (Reed Publishing). One main benefit of Hot Frog listings is that they seem to do very well in the Google search engine. I know of some businesses where their Hot Frog listing outranks their own website on Google for important keywords. The more exposure you can get in the search engines the better so Hot Frog is another directory well worth the effort.
Another benefit is the sheer amount of traffic that Hot Frog attracts – over 2.5 million visitors every month. Hot Frog offers maps and allows businesses to upload news and press releases.
One downside of Hot Frog is that sponsored links will be plastered all over your listing page. In the example above there are 12 sponsored links or banner ads sharing the page of this business listing (not all are shown in image). Even competitors could appear in the sponsored links on your listing page.
The best way to manage this is to run a Google Adwords campaign and ensure you are targeting the Google Search Network. The sponsored links that appear on Hot Frog are delivered by Google. By ensuring your sponsored link appears on your listing page you will bump at least one other competitor out of your space. You also have the chance of having your sponsored link appearing on your competitor pages.
The Yellow Pages has been very slow to respond to a changing world where people are now more likely to let their mouse do the walking rather than their fingers. Owned by Sensis (Telstra), Yellow have begun to see the light and have made some changes.
Yellow’s great weakness in recent times has been that they closed off their online directory to Google, which means Yellow business listings would not show up in a search engine like say Hot Frog and True Local listings would. That situation has changed and Yellow listings now appear in Google.
The relationship between Google and Yellow is two way. If you are listed in Yellow you will automatically be listed with Google Maps. Google use the Yellow database and combine it with their own to ensure they offer users are comprehensive directory. You should still claim your Google Maps listing but at the very least if you have a Yellow listing you will appear in both directories.
A Yellow listing has the added advantage of appearing in the paper directory, the online directory and the new Yellow Mobile directory. The downside is the cost. Yellow is still very expensive once you get past the very basic free listing.
Cost: Free to astronomical
Aussie Web is an independently owned local search engine with over 1.2 million listings.
Aussie Web’s directory is not as comprehensive as its larger rivals which means you could be one of only a few entries in your category and location. You may even be the only listing.
Another smaller directory with less on-page competition than the larger directories. Start Local allows users to recommend listed businesses and only lists businesses with a physical presence; no website-only businesses are listed.
Local Business Guide
A relative newcomer to the local directory scene but has been growing quickly.
Local Business Guide offer three listing types – Free, Classic and Power
Cost: Free, $49/yr, $199/yr