It’s no secret that Google’s local search algorithm is complicated. Just when you think you have it figured out, they tweak it ever so slightly. It can be frustrating at times to put in the effort to optimize your online presence for local SEO, only to have that hard work not pay off in an improved ranking. That’s when you need to take a step back and assess your strategy to see if there’s something you’re missing. To help you dial in your local search strategy, we will be publishing best practices and tips to give your business the lift in local SEO it’s been looking for. Today’s post will cover why you should optimize directory listings on multiple online directories.

Which listings are best?

Google and Facebook are just the tips of the iceberg of online business directories. There are so many other directories out there for you to take advantage of. Taking the time to identify the right ones and optimizing them will help improve local search ranking.

How do you know which directories are best for your business? Unfortunately, there is not one right answer. The list will vary from industry to industry. You will need to do your due diligence to figure out where your customers are going to conduct research. This will help you determine which directories you should prioritize. HubSpot has created a helpful list of the top-25 business directories to give you an idea of where to get started.

Once you’ve decided on which sites to focus, it’s time to take the plunge and optimize directory listings for your business. Many of the steps to the process are outlined below.

Claim your business

As with Google and Facebook, you will need to go through the process of claiming your listing. Some sites might also require you to verify you are the right person to update and maintain the page.

Consistent NAP Information

According to Moz, the number one factor that affects local search ranking is on-page signals like name, address, and phone number (NAP). It is also important to maintain consistent NAP information on all of your business directories and listings.

This means that your business’ NAP information should be in the same format across your online presence. For example, if your address has the word South in it, you should either always abbreviate it or always spell it out. You can’t mix and match formats.

Add a Description

Having an accurate description of your business is important. It will help searchers understand what type of service or product your business offers. I would suggest including relevant keywords in your description, but don’t overdo it. Many businesses have used the description as an opportunity for keyword stuffing and directories have noticed. Google has even gone so far as to eliminate the ability to edit a business’ description in Google My Business. Some have argued that this happened to prevent keyword stuffing.

Include hours of operation

It’s important to update your hours of operation regularly, especially if you have special holiday or seasonal hours. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it is something that many businesses only update once and never revisit.

Upload photos

Photos are important because they help tell a visual story about your business, and they might be what draws customers in and encourages them to click on your listing.

Collect reviews

Many business directories give you the ability to collect online reviews. Doing so can benefit your business in a number of ways. First, it can help build trust and credibility with your audience. Second – and probably most relevant to this discussion – is it also has an impact on local search ranking.

Taking the time to claim and optimize directory listings on multiple sites is just one piece of the local SEO puzzle. However, a successful local SEO strategy is built on a number of small elements like this that when executed correctly will increase the visibility and searchability of your business.

Matt Boyce
Matt Boyce Head of SMB Marketing

Matt Boyce is a marketing and business professional at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

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