Local Directories – An Important Part of Your 360° Digital Presence
Every business has an online presence that goes well beyond its website and social media footprint, and that should include listings in local directories. Online local directories are used by millions of consumers to find businesses that offer the products and services they are seeking.
Beyond what consumers see on the web, local directory information is also used by many web services such as mapping applications like Google Maps, Apple Maps and voice assistants including Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana. Inaccurate local directory information will cause headaches for consumers attempting to interact with you, which can hurt your local search engine standings 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 Neustar/Localeze, Factual, Infogroup and now Foursquare – (former well-known data aggregator Acxiom retired its directory and local search products at the end of 2019). Listings are populated on local directory services by the data fed from aggregators, meaning the information gathered, whether correct or inaccurate, is mass distributed. 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 verbatim for your business – on your website and all local directories. 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? Choosing and applying a consistent NAP is one thing you can do that will greatly improve the quality of your local directory footprint.
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 currently plays a vital role in how search engines rank local businesses. A consistent and accurate NAP across dozens of local directories sends strong signals to search engines, giving a boost to your position in search. Keep in mind that numerous factors contribute to local search success other than quality local directories, but a poor local directory footprint can hurt your search rankings. Also, a significant number of users rely on the information found on Google My Business, Bing Places, Yahoo Local, Yelp and many more to inform their buying decisions.
How Local Directories Impact Voice Search
Accurate local business listings play a vital role in voice search. The number of voice searches is exploding. The data source for the various voice assistants are your local directories, so the importance of accurate local directory listings continues to grow. The bottom line is that if managed correctly, local directories are an important factor that will help your business perform 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 its impact on your business, where should you begin?
We suggest leveraging existing tools to help create local directory listings or find and update existing ones if need be. In spite of how mundane managing local directories may seem, we recommend you spend the time necessary to get your local directory act together because it’s a contributing factor to your site’s local search performance. If you would like to offload this time consuming task, Bleevit offers several local directory visibility packages that can help you quickly improve your local directory presence. We also run a free local directory scan that measures the health and consistency of your local directory listings.
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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