When you’re looking for a store or restaurant these days, do you haul out the phone book? Probably not. If you’re like most Americans, you head to your computer or grab your smartphone and use the search feature to find nearby businesses. Consumers’ increased reliance on local search directories, such as Google + Local, Local.com and Bing Local, means it’s crucial for small business owners to make sure their companies are fully represented on these websites.
To get started with local search, begin by visiting as many local search directories as you can find. You’ll probably discover your business already listed on many of them; “claim” your listing and make sure all the basic information on the site (such as address, website and phone number) is accurate.
Next, enhance your listing by adding more details. These can include:
- A description of your business, using keywords that customers are likely to use when searching for your business or the types of products and services you sell
- Directions and/or a map to your business
- Hours of operation
- Photos of your business, your employees and your products
- Special offers or coupons
- Any additional information that can help entice customers, such as a calendar of upcoming events at your business or a menu for your restaurant
Once your business is listed, be sure you regularly revisit your listings each month to be sure the information is still accurate and to update any timely information. Also pay attention to any reviews or ratings that appear on the sites, and respond to them as appropriate.
Using local search directories can drive traffic not only to your physical location, but also to your website. Monitor the effectiveness of various directories by asking customers where they learned about you, and reviewing your website analytics to see where your site visitors come from.