Local SEO may be one of the few services that doesn’t use the yellow pages for a booster seat at the dinner table. Figuratively speaking of course. The online directories that exist out there like yp.com may not be the first place you go to find a local service, but they still serve a very useful purpose: reinforcing your presence and legitimizing your business. They provide Structured Citations (verified localized external links or Cite links).
Registering your services in service directories seems like a no-brainer, but many small companies don’t do it because they feel there is no real audience for those websites. What those business owners don’t realize is that, even if actual people don’t frequent those sites, search engine bots do. Directories get crawled daily. And because they are sites that require some level of verification from the business listing owner, the search engines like Google, Bing and Apple Maps give them merit and count both the link to your site and the area under which your services are listed.
For my Local SEO Phoenix area challenge, I was a bit moderate with my listings. I hit the big ones. Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, YellowPages, Apple Maps, Bing Places and, albeit begrudgingly, Yelp. Even though there are a TON more out there I could be adding to, after the research I had done for my field of Local SEO in the Phoenix Area, these are the ones it seemed I could NOT afford to ignore if I wanted to rank.
Some interesting notes about placing myself on some of these services.
Apple Maps has a new tool called Apple Maps Connect to help businesses list themselves on Apple Maps. Until this, it was a convoluted mess of finding the right sequence of links from an iPhone to get listed on there. Kudos to them for making it much simpler.
Yelp is so easy to place yourself on, it gives me that uneasy feeling…I am purposely not linking to my yelp page to try and delay the inevitable flurry of amazingly positive reviews of my service by my competitors.
Bing and Google both require a verification by mail.
Apple and YP.com required a phone call for verification.
And that about covers the basics of my Local SEO Phoenix area challenge. What’s left? The best part! Results!