If you are a local business owner and search for your own business’s services on Google, your search engine results will most likely include a blend of links to online directories in addition to links to the websites of businesses that provide these services. For example, five out of the ten first page search results for “hair salons Ardmore pa” link to Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook, and Yellow Pages as opposed to the websites of local salons. Far worse, every first-page result for the search “apartments Ardmore pa” and all but four results on the second page were for apartment directory sites.
Fittingly, you probably associate SEO with improving your own website’s organic search results. While this is cornerstone of any SEO strategy, you have less time and financial resources than owners of online directories and social media sites, which makes it hard to rank better than they do in search engines results. Instead of competing with these sites, you might be better off shifting some of your SEO investment into figuring out how to get traffic from your listings on online directories and social media, which is referred to as Local SEO.
There are dozens of web directories available, but you should start by focusing on the ones that are already appearing when people search for your services. Once you identify these sites, you will want to claim and optimize your listings. Sticking with the original example of hair salons, here is a breakdown of how to use local SEO to improve your visibility on Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook, and Yellow Pages.
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Yelp earned the top two slots on the search engine results page with links reading the “The Best 10 Hair Salons in Ardmore, PA” and “Hair Salons in Ardmore, PA.” After claiming your business, you can improve leads from Yelp by optimizing and maintaining your listing. This entails making sure information about your business is up-to-date, complete, and maintained. Include your services in the description, add photos, encourage happy customers to leave a review, and respond to reviews. The better your listing, the more likely you are to attract new customers.
Despite showing on the first page of results for this search, Angie’s List did not link to listings for hair salons. A quick review of the site’s local business categories confirms that this page did not deserve to receive the search engine ranking it did. As a result, you do not need to worry about Angie’s List at this time.
The Facebook result was actually for a specific salon’s Facebook page that included “hair studio” in its name. This boosted the page’s SEO and, ultimately, its search engine ranking. If you do not have a Facebook page, you should consider creating one if it aligns with your marketing strategy. For businesses that already have a Facebook page, update the page’s description to clearly list your service offerings. Additionally, include the address and contact details of your business so that your page will be properly indexed and eligible to show for local searches.
Similar to Yelp, Yellow Pages displays hair salons in Ardmore. After you claim your business, it is as easy as clicking “Manage this listing.” From there, you simply edit your business information and optimize your description to highlight your services.
Directory sites offer search engine optimization opportunities beyond what you can do on your own website. They let you leverage and benefit from the marketing investments these companies make. Help them to help you by updating your free listings and start seeing an increase in your referral traffic and leads from these directory sites in Google Analytics and Jess.
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