Small business owners are always on the lookout for the lowest cost, highest value promotional opportunities on the Internet. Creating or claiming local business directory listings is a great way to expand ones digital footprint.
Many Internet service providers have identified the value of local directories which has spawned a bevy of mass listing services such as Yext.com, CityGrid and others. These services make it easy to claim a large list of directories that may or may not be relevant to a business. The listing provider’s monthly fees tie a business into a relationship with them for life since discontinuing their service will remove your business information from the listing enmasse. A more time intensive, but lower cost, approach is to claim ones business listings by hand with the top directories relevant for your industry.
The following list of directories are recommended for a wide variety of businesses and industries. Links to the business listing page of the directory will make it easier to begin creating or claiming your business listings.
- Google Places for Business (http://www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness)
- This is often the first and arguably the most important location a local business should list their business. Google Places for Business is key to ensuring you can be found by your customers on Google Maps.
- Your first step will be to sign in using an email account associated with Google. If you don’t have one that is connected to Google, you will need to set one up. A Gmail account is an easy choice, but you can also associate a non-Gmail account with Google.
- A post card verification process is usually required and will take up to two weeks to process.
- Yelp.com (https://biz.yelp.com/claiming)
- Yelp has become one of the most popular and important directory and review sites for a business due in part to the rigid system of controlled reviews on the site. Yelp works tirelessly to ensure reviews submitted are by real people and customers through a series of algorithmic controls that filters questionable reviews out of site.
- Like most directory sites, you will be guided through a search process to see if your business is already listed. If it is, you will “claim” the listing. If not, you will be able to create a new Yelp listing.
- SuperPages.com (https://yellowpages.superpages.com/profiler/login_import.jsp)
- Super Pages is the Internet version of the traditional yellow pages phone book. Similar to Google Places, many existing businesses are already listed in the Super Pages directory. If you business is listed you just need to “claim” your business and update the listing.
- Free listings include address, phone, website link, embedded Bing map, customer reviews, and the ability for visitors to share the listing via email, Facebook, Twitter, and mobile phone.
- Paid listings include a business description, listing categories, specialties, payment options, products/services, hours of operation, large thumbnail image of website, embedded video, etc. Prices are not published, but can reach several hundred dollars a month.
- Yahoo Local (http://listings.local.yahoo.com/)
- Yahoo Local is an important site to list a business since it is connected to one of the largest search engines on the web. Basic/free listings include phone, address, website, store hours, products and services.
- An enhanced/paid listing is $9.95/mo and includes a company logo, tagline, up to 10 photos and a detailed business description.
- AngiesList.com (https://business.angieslist.com/Registration/SimpleRegistration.aspx)
- Angie’s List is a popular directory and review site of service companies and health care professionals in over 550 categories. Angie’s List customers pay an annual subscription fee to access business listings and reviews from their local area.
- Categories include business description, service area, operating hours, services, payment options, 24 hour emergency service designation,
- Manta (http://www.manta.com/member/register/?rl=join_free)
- Manta claims to be the largest online community dedicated to small business. Owners can list their business in the Manta directory for free and take advantage of networking, articles and numerous small business resources.
- Free listings include contact information, website link, business description, 3 business categories, products/services, years in business, state of incorporation, NAICS and SIC codes, etc.
- Enhance listings range in price from $29 to $49/mo and include more prominent listings, competitor add removal, multiple search keywords, etc. Compare plans here: http://www.manta.com/claim/upgrade?sub_driver=pbl-home-drawer
- Local.com (https://advertise.local.com/?CID=710)
- Local.com is a leading nationally positioned local business search site. It’s mission is “to be the leader at enabling local businesses an consumers to find each other and connect.” Major search categories include: Businesses, Deals, Events and Activities.
- Free listings include business name, address, link to an embedded Bing map of the business location, phone number and website link.
- Premium listings start at $49.95/mo and include listing at the top of search results, company logo, special offers to customers, web page, 5 photos, two category listings and color in the business listing.
- Local City Directories (e.g. http://directory.richmond.com/VA-Richmond)
- Most midsize and larger cities have popular city directories that promote local business. Richmond.com is a directory operated by the city’s largest daily paper, the Richmond Times Dispatch. Free business listings on this site allow users to add phone numbers, business hours, types of payments accepted and categories associated with the business.
- Like most free directory listings, enhanced listings can be purchased for a fee. Here is an example of a paid listing on Richmond.com: http://directory.richmond.com/2689893/Ace-Glass-Repair-Inc-Richmond-VA
- Merchant Circle (http://www.merchantcircle.com/corporate/)
- Merchant Circle claims to be “the largest online network of local business owners, combining social networking features with customizable web listings that allow local merchants to attract new customers.”
- Free listings include address, phone, embedded Google Map, up to three categories for listing the business, customer reviews and compliments as well as the ability of Merchant Circle members to “follow” your business on Merchant Circle.
- Paid listings include top search result positioning, business logo thumbnail image, social sharing buttons, website link, payment types, hours of operation, a simple blog, product descriptions, offers and recent news updates.