Mobile is on the rise, and thanks to iPhones and Android devices, it's easier than ever for consumers to find what they need, when they need it, wherever they are. According to Google, search interest in 'near me' has increased 34X since 2011, and nearly doubled since last year. As consumers search for local information, many will find their way to an online business directory.
Business directories exist in many forms. Thirty years ago, we called this the Yellow Pages; nowadays, the majority of people use search engines to find local businesses on online business directories. Many online business directories mirror the traditional form of the print Yellow Pages – websites that categorizes business information into lists. Theses local listings contain information such as name, address, and phone number (NAP data), but with the online medium can also include website URLs, photos, videos, and more enhanced content.
There are thousands of business directories on which local businesses can create local listings. These include traditional business directories like YP, Mapquest, and Yahoo, who combined have an average of 237 million monthly active searchers. But can also include search engines and social networks, whose platforms house business listings too. There is great value in your local listings being consistent and accurate across these sites.
When consumers search from their smartphones, they show local intent — the desire to purchase offline and nearby — at more than twice the rate than consumers who use desktop. In fact, more than 90% of U.S. retail spend in 2014 was made offline. Knowing this, brands should invest in efforts to drive more searchers to their physical stores, and having complete, consistent, and up-to-date local listing information on business directories is a key component to being found and selected by potential consumers. Showing up on the majority of business listings sites should be an important part of your business' digital marketing strategy, and will help your business maintain a strong local digital presence.
Accurate listings across business directory sites also helps with local SEO. Search engines crawl a massive number of sites, including business directories, and the more they see a piece of information, like a phone number or a business' store hours, the more they trust it — and the more priority they'll give that information in search results. To maintain a strong digital presence, brands need to control their local listing information across business directories and ensure that every consumer endpoint shows the same complete, consistent information.
It's also not enough to focus on a few online directory sites and ignore the rest. There are some business directories with broad geographic range, such as Yelp, CitySearch, and Foursquare. There are others that focus solely on niche categories such as Menupages, 8coupons, and AngiesList. Directory popularity also changes depending on location. For instance, Gelbe Seiten, Branchenbuch Deutschland, and Bundes Telefonbuch are some of the biggest directory sites in Germany and have more than one million monthly active searchers. Yandex is the biggest search engine in Russia compared to Google's dominance in most other global regions. Including your business information on all of these sites, and not just a few, is extremely important and will ensure that your business ranks well on search engines and gets found by searching consumers.
Businesses can claim local listings manually on many business directory sites, but keeping them up-to-date at scale, across hundreds or even thousands of locations and individual logins, can quickly become time consuming, frustrating, and unmanageable. By utilizing a tool like Yext Listings, your business can update its local listing information in real time, across hundreds of sites, with the click of a button.
If businesses don't have real-time control over their listings across the thousands of business directories, publishing sites find business information from a multitude of places, including buying NAP data in bulk from companies called data aggregators. When this happens, brands have little to no control over the content listed about them on these publishers. With so many different data sources, errors are frequent, which can be frustrating for the consumer searching for your business. Information gathered through data aggregators also takes weeks, if not months, to update completely across business directory sites. Yext Listings give you real-time control over your local listings and allows your business to easily update NAP data and enhanced content like hours of operation, product categories, directions, menus, and more.
Improving your presence on business directory sites means your business will be exposed to a wide audience of local searchers who are looking to buy. How does your business appear on business directory sites? Scan your business now. It's fast and free.