For SMEs, finding business in the local geographical vicinity is critical. For many, it makes commercial sense to do so. Therefore, getting your local business to appear in local Google search results is crucial to your marketing strategy. After all, in 2019, 90% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year, with 33% looking every day. 
If you’re not listed in the results, you are missing out on potential business. Fortunately, there are loads of things you can do to help your rankings and gain the upper hand with local listings. 
 
In this post, we take a look at a simple and free approach to support the visibility of your site – listing your business on online directories. This is something which should not take too much time and could pay dividends in the long run. 
 

Why should you register? 

Listing your business on these directories can deliver several advantages. 
 
Firstly, you may have found when carrying out your own searches that business directories often rank highly when it comes to local searches. 
 
As an example, when searching for a skilled tradesperson, many of the results you will have seen will have been local traders listed on free online directories. 
 
Registering on these free sites will give you a better chance of being found by those looking for your services. Of course, there may be lots of competitors, yet there will be those searching who will use these directories and therefore it’s better to be listed than to not be. 
 
Secondly and just as importantly, listing exactly the same business name, address, and phone number for your business on multiple directories is acknowledged as a trust signal for your business by search engines like Google. Generating local citations helps internet users to discover local businesses and can also impact local search engine rankings. 
 
Whilst directory listings are not a miracle solution for your business, they should provide an incremental boost to your SEO efforts. After all, if you have a listing and your competitors do not, a visitor to the directory site will have a choice, which could well be you, yet certainly not an alternative supplier who is not listed. 
 

Which online directories should you choose? 

You may have already noticed that the internet is packed full of directories. Yet like everything in life, quality does matter and there is no point in registering on all of them. 
 
There are many which are of low quality and poorly vetted and to be listed on one of these can have a negative impact on your search engine ranking. 
 
Clearly, you should register on the reputable directories, i.e. the ones that rank relatively high in the Google search results. With the majority of these directories, a free listing is sufficient. 
 
However, if your business has particular expertise, it may be worth considering industry-specific directories where you can opt for a paid listing to highlight more prominently the specialist products/services you provide. 
 

The online directory hit list 

Here are the top directories to get you started: 

1. Google My Business 

This is a must. 
 
As you can imagine, as this is Google’s own local business directory, this will greatly help your visibility in the search results. As long as the listing is completed in full with all the relevant details, you will increase your chances of being found and your business could start to appear in the local pack for relevant searches. Furthermore, customers are able to leave reviews via your Google My Business profile, again contributing to your search ranking. 
 

2. Thomson Local 

Thomson Local began as printed business directories - these can still be seen today, but much smaller in size. 
 
As with many things, the bulk of Thomson Local’s focus has now moved away from print, with a comprehensive digital directory being the go-to source for business information. A free listing takes just a few minutes to create. 
 

3. Yell 

The Yellow Pages have morphed into Yell.com. This is now the UK’s leading business directory, and you can list your business for free. It’s definitely worth creating a listing for your business here. 
 

4. Yelp 

Yelp can help you reach more potential customers, as it is considered one of the top ranked review websites for finding local businesses. 
 

5. Scoot 

Scoot is one of the leading online only directory businesses in the UK. 
 
What makes this directory different is that Scoot Network drives business directories for not only Scoot, but also Touch Local, The Independent, The Sun, and The Mirror, providing the added value of being found on multiple leading search websites. 
 

6. 192.com 

192.com claim to tell searchers more information about people, businesses, and locations in the UK compared to other directories. 
 

7. Factual 

Factual is in fact a feeder site. It acts as a channel for small business information and supplies other directories and sites around the web, including some large brands like Bing and Apple. 
 

8. Foursquare 

With 50 million users worldwide, Foursquare is a great tool for local businesses. If you’ve got a shopfront, then claiming your listing will help you to listen in to what customers are saying and influence the conversation about your business. 
 

9. UK Local Search 

The search function on this directory is simple and straightforward, making it easy for users to drill down into the details of each business to help them find what they are looking for. 
 

10. Hotfrog 

Hotfrog calls itself the UK’s freshest local business directory. By adding your business and keeping your profile up to date, you can promote your products and services to a huge online audience. 
 

How we can help 

Once someone finds your business on an online directory, it’s crucial that you have a website with the wow-factor for them to then visit. 
 
If you’re looking for a professionally designed and results-focused website that’s unique to your business and designed to create a brilliant first impression, it’seeze Web Design Watford can help! 
 
We specialise in creating brilliant websites to help local businesses grow, and we provide ongoing support to help you get the most out of your online presence every step of the way. 
 
If you’re interested in working with us, get in touch to find out more. 
 
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