Whether it’s because of oversaturation or complicated search engine algorithms, it’s all too easy to feel like no one will find your business in the local search results.
Luckily, there’s an easy way to improve your local SEO. All you have to do is list your business in online business directories such as Yellow Pages, Manta, and more. This is called building citations, and it’s a critical piece of a local marketing strategy.
Today, Google is inserting itself between consumer and local business websites much more often. For proof, you need to look no further than Google My Business, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), featured snippets, and most importantly, local packs.
By building citations, you can make sure that you appear in these local packs when people look for businesses like yours in their area. Business directories may seem like a thing of the past, but they’re a great way to grow your presence online.
What is a business directory?
A business directory is an online list of businesses within a particular niche, location, or category. One way local businesses can get found by online searchers is through inclusion in business directories.
You can improve visibility by listing your local business' NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) on directories, online business listing sites, and citation sites. Aside from improving your local SEO, these can also improve your rankings on search engines because the listings usually link back to your site.
Make sure your company listing has the following information once you add it to a directory:
Consistent NAP. If you add or update your business on multiple business listing sites, make sure you're providing the same company information across each directory.
A link to your website. Backlinks — also known as inbound links — are crucial to your company website's Domain Rating. Consider adding a tracking link at the end of this URL as well, so you can see how much traffic your website specifically gets from the business directories that are linking to it.
A company description. Make sure you have a detailed description of your business that reflects your organization's mission, culture, and values.
Multimedia. Give company searchers a visual taste of your business with a picture or video of your office, your employees, or your daily business operations.
There are plenty of location-specific and industry-specific business listing sites where you can submit your data. To start promoting your local business, however, you should start with the big sites and work your way toward the more niche directories.
First, let’s go over the top free business directories.
We used a few parameters to decide which directories would make it onto the list.
Domain rating is a score that’s given to websites to reflect how well they rank on Google based on their backlink profile. The minimum score is 0 and the maximum score is 100. Domain rating is similar, but not the same as, domain authority.
Our minimum required domain rating for the directories on this list was 50. We gathered the data from Ahrefs in May 2021.
We compiled this list for use by any business. Regardless of your industry or target market, you can submit your business to all of the above directories.
To make it onto this list, the directory had to be categorized as General. The only exception is HubSpot’s solution directory, which is categorized as Marketing/Advertising.
Add Your Local Business to Online Directories
Making sure that you have a presence where your potential customers might find you is critical to any local marketing plan. It’s critical to build citations not only for the added visibility but for the SEO benefits, too. Add your local business to some of these business listings and directories today — and watch your business and customer base grow.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in March 2013 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published May 24, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated April 29 2022