Local Directories - An Important Part of Your 360° Digital Presence
Every business has a digital presence that goes well beyond its website and social media footprint that includes local directories. Online local directories such as Yellowpages.com, Superpages.com and Manta.com are used by millions of consumers to find businesses. Beyond what consumers see on the web, local directory information is also used by a lot of web services such as mapping applications like Apple Maps and Mapquest, as well as other web services that consumers rely on the information. If your local directory information is inaccurate, it will cause a cascading effect of bad business information and cause headaches for consumers attempting to interact with you and hurt your local search engine standing and ultimately your business.
How Local Citations Are Created
To improve your local directory presence it’s beneficial to understand the basics of the local directory ecosystem. A majority of local directories get their information from four data aggregators. The data aggregators feed an ever-growing local directory ecosystem. The four primary data aggregators are Axciom, Neustar/Localeze, Factual and Infogroup - click here for a PDF list of who feeds whom. This means that when data is populated on Axciom for example, a listing will be created on Superpages.com. If your information on Axciom is inaccurate, then the information on Superpages.com and all the other local directory services that Axciom feeds will also be inaccurate. So you need to begin at the source, the major data aggregators, to begin to clean up what is often a local directory mess.
A Consistent NAP is Essential!
We’re not talking about dozing off here because in local directory terminology NAP stands for name, address and phone number! A critical factor in improving your local search results is creating and using a consistent NAP for your business. Choosing a consistent NAP you will use verbatim on all your local directories, and your website is extremely important. Your NAP needs to be exactly the same down to the comma and period on every directory. Are you Joe’s Deli, Joe’s Deli & Carryout, Joe’s Deli and Carryout Reston, etc. Choosing and applying a consistent NAP is one thing you can do that will greatly improve the quality of your local directory footprint and in turn your position in local search.
The Benefits of Quality Directories
All things being equal, search engines deliver local results in order of what is most relevant and of high quality to searchers. The quality and consistency of your local directories play a vital role in how search engines rank your business. A consistent and accurate NAP across dozens of local directories sends strong signals to search engines helping to boost your position in search. Keep in mind that numerous factors contribute to local search success other than quality local directories. The bottom line is that local directories are an important factor that if managed correctly will help your business perform much better in local search.
Getting Your Local Directory Act Together
Now that you understand the importance of having accurate and up to date local directory information and the negative effect inaccurate local directory information can have on your search engine results and your business, where should you begin? We recommend heading over to Moz’s free scan tool, Local Search Scan, and running a free report.
FREE Local Directory Scan - Step By Step Instructions
The following are step by step instructions for your free local directory scan.
Step 1: Visit the Local Search Scan from our friends at Moz.
Step 2 - Enter your business’ name and zip code.
Step 3 - This tool will scan its database and report your current local directory health. This can take a few moments, so be patient, as it needs time to crunch through a lot of data. When finished, you will be given a report on your directory’s health and information on how you can improve it.
Local Directories are a Necessary Evil
I can think of at least 100 things I’d rather do than finding, updating and fixing local directories. In spite of how mundane managing local directories are, we highly recommend you spend the time necessary to get your local directory act together because it’s a key factor in local search.
If you would like to offload this mundane task Bleevit offers several local directory visibility packages that can help you quickly improve your local directory presence.
Rick Hogan, CEO & Co-Founder - Bleevit Interactive
Rick possesses over 20 years of digital marketing experience and started Bleevit Interactive with the primary mission of helping local businesses succeed online. When he is not working he can often be found hiking Great Falls, Virginia with his Labradoodle Lily, or sailing the Chesapeake Bay.
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