As a small business owner, you’re probably focused on getting your business out there. You may not know where to start. Surprisingly, business listing sites are still one of the most effective ways to reach new audiences.

Yes, even though business listings and directories may feel like something from a different age, they still offer huge benefits for attracting new users to your site, as well as in-person business at physical locations.

For one thing, not all online searches are performed on a traditional search engine.

In some industries, it’s more likely that users seek out new brands on more niche sites. Similarly, some groups of users are more inclined towards discovering new brands on social media rather than through organic search.

There are also directories and social media websites that will allow you to expand the reach of your business. Whether these marketplaces are free or paid, you will find that they are helpful when advertising your business.

Free business listing sites featured image

Should You List Your Site on Online Directories?

Suppose you’re new to the business world. In that case, you may be wondering whether you should submit your business and website information to relevant directories if you want to drive both organic traffic and footfall.

For one thing, this is probably the easiest marketing strategy around. It doesn’t require any special skills, expertise or even creativity.

Who doesn’t love a quick win?

Find a list of online directories and submit your business listing. If your application succeeds, the online directory will serve as a source of referral traffic, improved SEO, leads, and customer reviews.

Once you have a profile, you should take the time to update all inaccurate information. Include as much information about your business as possible. That way, you may be able to attract new consumers.

If your business already has user-generated listings, be sure to claim ownership as soon as possible so that you can respond to both positive and negative reviews.

Benefits of Business Listing Sites:

  1. Improved local SEO and map rankings
  2. Increased visibility and clicks from local searches
  3. Drives brand awareness and credibility for consumers
  4. Provides key business info and contact details
  5. Links back to your website to build domain authority
Digital Strategy

How to Use Business Listing Sites for SEO

Business listings are crucial for SEO, especially regarding local search. Essentially, they offer benefits across two key ranking metrics:

  1. Domain authority,
  2. NAP citations.

Domain authority is a crucial ranking factor across all kinds of SEO, while NAP citations only come into play with local search. We have our business listing on Google – do check it out and see how we are using it by adding photos and videos and keeping it as up-to-date as possible. We are trying to find agency-related keywords such as web design Belfast.

Let’s look at the role that business listing sites play in boosting each of these important SEO factors.

The core of SEO recognises that what’s good for Google is good for your business. Google users are seeking out a particular piece of information. If the algorithm thinks you can provide this, it’ll privilege your content.

This is where domain authority comes in. Essentially, this is a measure of how credible Google thinks your site is. This is mainly based on how many other sites link to your content.

As such, many businesses implement dedicated backlinking strategies.

Free business listing sites domain authority infographic
Strong domain authority is the best way to ensure SEO competitiveness. Image credit: OrbitMedia

Creating listings on online directories is an easy way to score high-quality backlinks without the time or effort that other strategies, like guest posting, require.

Local SEO: What is a NAP Citation?

Online business directories are the cornerstone of local SEO. That is, searches where someone is looking for something in a specific geographic area. The key to this is what is known as NAP citations.

This is when your business details are listed online, specifically your:

  • Name,
  • Address,
  • Phone number.

The more these are listed on authoritative directories, the more confident Google will be of their validity. Then, when someone searches for where to get a coffee in their area, your cafe will be the one that shows up.

Local SEO ranking factors
NAP citations and backlinks play a huge role in local SEO. Image credit: CloudFront

NAP Citation Best Practices

However, getting good NAP citations can be slightly more complicated than you’d think. If you’re not careful, you might even undermine your SEO efforts. The key here is consistency.

When Google looks at NAP citations, it can be incredibly picky.

Your business details need to be the same across all of the sites they’re listed on. That is the same. Minor errors, like using an old phone number or a slightly differently formatted address, can tank your NAP citation strategy.

This could be as small as whether or not you include a space in your postcode.

Common local SEO issues - Business Listing Sites
Inconsistent NAP citations are the most common pain point in local SEO. Image credit: SearchEngineLand

How Many Online Directories Is Enough?

There is no specific number of directories that you should aim for your business to be in. Instead of focusing on the number of online directories your business is in, you should focus on the relevancy and quality of the directories.

You don’t want your business to belong to low-quality spam directories. If your website receives backlinks from such directories, search engines like Google may penalise your website.

How to Tell Which Directories Are Reputable

There are hundreds of online directories on the Internet. Therefore, it can be difficult to determine which online directories are reputable.

To evaluate the reputability of an online directory, you should look up the website’s domain authority and any reviews available on the Internet. Stick to the best online directories and remember that quality trumps quantity.

Other good rules of thumb include whether you’ve heard of the site, whether it has a local focus, or whether it charges money for listings. If you have to pay to list your site, there’s a good chance you’re being scammed, so it’s best to move on.

Top Free Business Listing Sites You Should Be On

To simplify this process, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most reputable free business listing sites, which you should be on at minimum. These international sites can be implemented with more local or industry-specific directories.

For example, your local chamber of commerce almost certainly has an online directory of some description, as will most local newspapers and industry groups.

1. Google My Business

How to Set Up a Google My Business Listing | Google My Business | Google for Business | Google

Undoubtedly, Google is the top search engine. Therefore, it makes sense to start with Google regarding business listing sites. Google My Business allows you to add your name, hours, location, and other basic details.

This allows customers to see this information when they search for your business or related local search terms.

Free business listing sites google my business example
A properly optimised Google My Business profile will help you to achieve additional features on search results pages.

2. Bing

Bing also offers an option similar to Google My Business. However, Bing allows you to add contact information and photos of your business.

3. MobileAppDaily

MobileAppDaily provides businesses of various sizes, industries, and locations an opportunity to get listed among many of its reports. This helps listed organizations be visible to potential clients hidden among the large audience of MobileAppDaily.

4. Aabaco

Yahoo runs Aabaco, a small business directory that allows you to add business information, market your company to your local audiences, and even create basic websites.

5. Yelp

On Yelp, you can add the location, hours, and even your business’s menu. Many consumers use Yelp to learn more about local businesses. You can also respond to online reviews posted on Yelp about your business.

6. Better Business Bureau

Better Business Bureau allows consumers to look for companies in a certain area. You can also sort local businesses by BBB accreditation. If you can get BBB accreditation for your business, this will help you build rapport with your consumers.

7. Manta

You can create a listing for your business on Manta. Every month, Manta receives over 20 million customers. Therefore, using Manta could potentially expose your business to many people. There are also marketing tools and educational resources available on Manta.

8. Citysearch

You can use Citysearch to post basic business information to make it easier for consumers to find your company. There are lists and local guides on Citysearch to help customers find businesses and service providers.

9. EZlocal

Add your business to EZlocal so that you can publish your basic company information. You can also add extra information on your EZlocal profile, like the payment methods your business accepts and whether you have free WiFi.

EZlocal will ensure that your published information is added to other platforms like Bing and Google.

10. Facebook

How to Set Up a Facebook Event Campaign | Facebook Marketing | Facebook for Business | Social Media

Not only is Facebook popular among those looking to connect with friends, family, and colleagues, but the social media website is also popular among those looking for information about a business.

Even though Facebook is not a business directory, you can create a business page for your company. Facebook users can find your business and look up information about it.

11. LinkedIn

You can add basic information about your business on LinkedIn. You can also post company updates, post jobs, and publish blog posts.

12. FourSquare

Foursquare is a social platform that is based on your location. You can add basic business information so that potential customers can find you. You can also post promotions or offers for those who use the Foursquare app.

13. MapQuest

Consumers who want to see an actual map to find a business can use MapQuest. Update the listing for your business on MapQuest and post basic information on your business profile.

14. CrunchBase

While CrunchBase does not appear to be a business directory, you can use this platform to update information about your business and yourself. This platform is crowdsourced and receives many visitors every month.

15. TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor is a website intended mainly for tourists. If you own a hotel or restaurant, creating a profile for your business on TripAdvisor can be a great way to connect with your customers. Do consider checking out our guide to Hotel Marketing.

Most of the directory or business listing sites will also allow video content to be added – we have a guide on producing and editing videos for tourism businesses, but this is also relevant for any other type of business. Travel agencies, tourism marketing and hospitality are very competitive spaces – it can give us a blueprint for what will happen in many business niches if not already in place.

Business Listing Sites: Best Practices for Managing Listings:

  • Claim and verify listings accurately with consistent NAP info
  • Fully complete profiles with robust details, media, keywords
  • Maintain up-to-date business hours, services, offerings
  • Encourage recent customer reviews where applicable
  • Repurpose website content like FAQs for listing profiles
  • Use listing analytics to refine and improve over time
How To Plan A Website Structure | How to Build a Website | Build a Website | Web Design

Here we list some of our most popular content on a digital and online strategy to help you with your next steps:

Business listing sites are one of the first places for a new business to get listed and build basic backlinks. Your customers will expect to see these, as will search engines. They will confirm that your business is legitimate, while some business listing sites are more relevant and valuable than others. Consider your niche – If you are a tourism business, you should be on all the tourism listing sites. If you have more questions on this topic – why not reach out to our digital agency team? We would be delighted to help with your business online ranking.

Business Listing Sites FAQs

Q: What are the benefits of business listing sites?

A: Listings improve local SEO, increase visibility in search and maps, build awareness, and provide key business info and contacts.

Q: What are some top free listing sites?

A: Top sites are Google My Business, Yelp, YellowPages, Facebook Business Pages, Bing Places, Foursquare, and industry-specific directories.

Q: What should I include in my listings?

A: Complete and consistent NAP info, website, hours, categories, descriptions, photos, videos, offerings, menus, and customer reviews.

Q: How can I manage my listings efficiently?

A: Claim and verify accurately. Use tools like Moz Local to distribute info across sites. Sync Google and Bing. Repurpose website content.

Q: Should I invest in paid tier listings?

A: Paid can improve visibility and management options. Assess the value of enhanced features for your business needs and goals.

Business Listing Sites: Conclusion

Appearing on relevant, high-authority business listing sites helps drive discoverability and trust for local searches. Optimizing your accuracy, completeness, and activity on profiles gains visibility and website traffic. Focus efforts on top sites like Google My Business while branching out to niche and vertical-specific directories. Keep listings current and refreshed with new content, offers, and customer reviews. With consistent local citations and robust listing profiles, you can build awareness and conversions with local searchers.

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