[Photo courtesy of Jimmy Hilario on Flickr]
This is an easy one. You don’t need to learn anything new or have any expertise, you just need some free time … which you probably don’t have. But, anyway, it’s worth the effort to have your place registered with directories online to make it easier for people to find and to help it rank in search results when people look for it.
When your company name becomes a verb to do what your company was set up to do, it’s pretty safe to say that you’re at the top of the heap and that makes registering with Google Places for Business priority No. 1 when it comes to business directories. Your business listing will appear on Google Maps, which is always helpful, and customers can leave reviews.
Bing has carved out a nice niche for itself playing second fiddle to Google. It is the Pepsi to Google’s Coke and it’s worth it to put your business on. You probably don’t personally know anyone who uses Bing, but apparently these people exist and registering with Bing will help them find you.
Nowhere near its peak of several years ago, Yahoo is still chugging along as the Internet’s third most popular search engine. Third best isn’t bad when you consider it still brings in millions of searches per day. It’s free for a basic listing, and you can opt for paid options to get your business on more listings.
The beauty of Yelp is the ability for customers to leave reviews. It allows you to interact with your customers, thanking people for positive reviews and responding to negative reviews with a thanks and a commitment to look into any problem they’ve identified so you can fix it.
Even if you’ve not registered your business with Yelp, it still may be on there, as customers can add businesses to Yelp without the business owner’s knowledge or consent. Have a search for your business on Yelp and claim your page or create one if you’re not on it yet. Then, encourage customers to leave reviews. It’s a great way to start your Word-of-Mouth Optimization.
The first of the lesser known directory listings, MerchantCircle helps small businesses connect with local customers, and other local small businesses by offering free marketing tools. It is geographically localized for your target audience and allows you to host a business blog on the site.
6. Yellow Pages
Yellow Pages is a name “old timers” will be familiar with and young people may recognize as that thing that fills up the recycling bins once a year. But, this is the online version and unlike its paper counterpart, it’s still relevant and receives millions of search queries per day.
7. White Pages
Like its yellow counterpart, the White Pages is the online equivalent of an old-fashioned telephone book. It not only makes your business information available to over 200 million people, it has the nostalgia factor going for it.
Yellowbook listings include a full business profile with information, a link to your website and product descriptions among other things. It is a subsidiary of Hibu Business and a Yellowbook listing is distributed across not only Yellowbook, but also its partner sites.
(Are you noticing a pattern here?) YellowBot is (surprise surprise) similar to the phone book’s yellow pages. It provides basic contact and location information about businesses, and allows online reviews from customers and gives you the ability to add searchable tags to your listing. You can also sign in with other accounts (like Twitter or Facebook), saving you from having to make another one.
Manta receives over 30 million unique visitors per month and according to Inc., is one of the fastest growing business sites online. You can highlight your products and brands on your Manta business profile.
Restaurants, bars, spas, hotels and shops will find Citysearch to be an excellent little network. It’s free to get a listing and offers city guides for the most popular cities in the United States. Its partner network includes Expedia, Urbanspoon and the aforementioned MerchantCircle.
Before Google Maps took over, MapQuest was the internet’s go-to map service. It’s still around and it’s still helping customers find local businesses by giving them detailed driving directions straight to your door.
Foursquare burst onto the scene several years ago and while you don’t hear much mention of it anymore, it’s still kicking, as it’s a hybrid business directory and social media network. You can connect your Twitter handle, so visitors can Tweet you and add a map so they can check-in to your business like they can on Yelp.
Not only does DexKnows allow you to create a business listing, it gives you ways to track how your customers engage with your profile, thus allowing you to track your online reputation.
The Business Journals is a local listing directory has a free service, as well as three levels of paid service. They’ll all get you listed, but the more you pay, the more opportunities you have to get targeted traffic to your website. It boasts 8 million monthly searches and apparently the people doing the searching on this particular site have an average income of almost $100,000.
16. Angie’s List
Angie’s List is a well-respected online directory for services. Its ability to provide accurate and reliable reviews for its readers has garnered it a good reputation online and it’s a must-have tool for establishing a positive online reputation.
Hotfrog (at least they didn’t call it Yellowfrog) is a free online directory with the aim of getting your website listed in Google’s search results. You can add as much detail as you want to your profile for free and also create coupons for customers.
Submit-Link allows you to have a complete local business listing, including your exact location, hours, photo, phone number, and contact button. All their links are human edited and approved to ensure the quality of the directory and your listing.
The more quality directories you can be listed on, the more opportunities you have to be found by potential customers. If you can spare the time, it’s well worth it to get your business registered on these sites.