The Essential Guide to SEO Local Business Listings 

To create the perfect local SEO strategy, you must be familiar with the importance of SEO local business listings and why they are so valuable for local businesses. 

The Essential Guide to SEO Local Business Listings 

One of the best ways to increase your online visibility is by listing your local business on online directories. These online profiles, which contain key information regarding your business, are otherwise known as business listings. While local business listings can help a business acquire new customers, they also play a significant role in search engine optimisation (SEO).

In this essential guide to SEO local business listings, we'll discuss the importance of business listings for local businesses. We'll also go through the best local listing platforms that can help you rank higher in local search results on major search engines.

What Are Local Business Listings?

Local business listings are online profiles that contain information about businesses in a specific local area. Also known as local citations, local listings are a valuable tool for consumers looking for local services and products, as well as business owners who want to increase their online presence and attract potential customers.

These citations are usually posted on online directories, which are official review sites that list businesses across different industries. Apart from local directories, business listings can also be found on social media platforms, blogs, and dedicated apps.

They typically include basic information about a business, including the business name, address, phone number, and other details. Basic contact information is otherwise called NAP information. Other components of a local listing can include available payment forms, the website URL, opening and closing hours, customer reviews, photos and videos, links to social media profiles, etc.

Business listings are especially important for local businesses. To be more specific, brick-and-mortar businesses, which rely on local customers and foot traffic, can benefit from local SEO efforts such as business listings.

You might be wondering why local brick-and-mortar businesses need online marketing when they operate in physical locations. The reason these two business models are intertwined is because local queries make up nearly half of Google searches. In other words, more and more people are turning to Google to find the best local businesses in their area.

Types of Local Listings

We can categorise local listings in two ways. The first group differentiates industry-specific listings from geo-specific listings, while the other group consists of structured and unstructured listings.

As the terms suggest, industry-specific listings focus on specific industries, while geo-specific listings are specific to a particular geographical region.

For example, a medical business in the healthcare industry might be listed on a healthcare directory to improve its online visibility to potential patients looking for healthcare services. When it comes to geo-specific listings, they're optimised for local search results. A business in Melbourne might apply for a local directory specific to this city to increase its online presence among potential customers in that area.

Both types of local listings can be beneficial for local businesses that aim to expand their customer base. As a local business owner, you have the option to list your business on both business directories to throw a wider net and maximise your chances of getting noticed online.

Structured listings refer to online directories and official review websites that are designed for customer feedback, where information about your business is organised into fields. Unstructured listings are not official business directories, but blog posts, mentions, online magazines, government websites, and other types of online sources. These listings don't have pre-defined fields, and they can be presented in various formats.

How to Set up a Local Business Listing

The first step of setting up a local business listing is deciding which online directories to use. There are various online directories for different types of businesses, which we will get to later. All you have to know for now is that the more business directories you use, the better for your local SEO. Doing so will expose your small business to more traffic, increasing your search engine rankings on local searches.

The process of setting up a local business listing may differ depending on the online directory you choose. We'll show you how to do it on Google My Business, also called a Google Business Profile. This free tool is the most popular online business directory, and it's used all over the world. Here's how it's done:

  1. Add your business on Google Maps: Find the location of your business on Google Maps and choose the "Add your business" option.
  2. Sign up for your Google Business Profile: Follow the on-screen instructions to complete your business profile.
  3. Claim your business through Google Maps: Find your business on the map and choose the "Claim this business" option.
  4. Verify your business: You can do this through phone, text, email, or video.
  5. Add all the necessary information to your listing: Enter your business name, address, phone number, and other details.

Listing your business on other directories entails a slightly different process, but it's usually straightforward.

Why Are Local Business Listings Important for SEO?

Local listings are directly tied to search engine optimisation rankings. Google and other search engines use local business listings as a key factor to determine the relevance and authority of a business online.

Here are some of the reasons using local business listings should be a part of your local SEO strategy:

  • Potential customers can find your website more easily
  • The provided information tells them everything they need to know about your business
  • The increased exposure drives more organic traffic to your website
  • Customers have a place to leave reviews
  • It gives you a chance to outrank other businesses in the same industry
  • It builds trust with your customers and increases your credibility

To put it simply, using and optimising your business listings will significantly boost your search engine rankings and your chances of being discovered by more customers. Local business listings are also critical for local SEO because they provide search engines with essential information about a business's location and services, making it easier to match the business with relevant local search queries.

Keeping your business information consistent, accurate, and up-to-date across all directories is essential to improve your visibility on local searches. This step will also help search engines understand what your business offers, increasing your credibility.

Google uses the following ranking factors for local business listings:

  • The proximity when determining the exact location of your business
  • Keyword usage in your listings
  • Domain authority
  • The number of local citations associated with your business
  • Behavioural signals like click-through rates and check-ins
  • The consistency and accuracy of your NAP information
  • Review signals, such as the quality, frequency, and diversity of your reviews

The Best Local Business Listing Directories for Local SEO

Here are the best local business listing directories you can use for your local SEO strategy:

  1. Google My Business: The most popular local business listing directory, ideal for any business model. If you're going to use only one directory, we recommend this one.
  2. Yelp: This review-based local business directory allows customers to rate and review businesses. You can update your business info and respond to reviews.
  3. Yellow Pages: This traditional business directory moved to the online world, and it continues to be one of the most trusted platforms, providing accurate business listings.
  4. Bing Places: Owned by Microsoft, Bing Places is a great platform for businesses to improve their search engine rankings. Keep in mind that this listing won't appear on Google search results.
  5. Facebook Business: This platform allows businesses to reach a broader audience and promote their products or services online.
  6. Moz Local: Moz Local is a popular local listing management tool and an excellent option for small businesses and enterprises. Even though it's not free, it's an affordable option.
  7. Apple Maps: This platform is intended for businesses that want to reach iPhone users.

When choosing listings for your local business, keep in mind that you don't need to sign up for every single directory. Instead, focus on major platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, and Yellow Pages. You can also choose niche directories relevant to your industry or geographical location.

If you do sign up for multiple listings, make sure your business information is consistent and up-to-date on all of them.

What Are the Best Online Listings in Australia?

All of the business listings we mentioned above can also be used for Australian businesses. If you're interested in Australian-based online directories for your local SEO, take a look at the following options:

  • True Local: True Local is an Australian-based online directory that allows businesses to create a profile and showcase their products and services. Customers can also download the smartphone app.
  • Hotfrog: This business directory was developed in Australia, and now it covers over 40 countries and more than 120 million businesses.
  • Local Search: This Australian-based directory lets you provide all the necessary information regarding your business in one place. There are over 100 business categories, ranging from plumbing and pest control to real estate and accommodation.
  • StartLocal: StartLocal is an Australian online business directory that features local businesses across various industries. It's both free and easy to use.
  • AussieWeb: AussieWeb connects local businesses directly to customers. You can browse the directory for various featured categories, and list your business for free.

Before you choose one or more listings, make sure it's relevant to your business and that it will make your local SEO strategy even better.

Improve Your Local SEO with Local Listings

Every great local SEO campaign entails adding your business to local listings on online directories. By listing your business on popular online directories such as Google My Business, Yellow Pages, Yelp, and others, you can provide accurate and up-to-date information about your business to your potential customers while showcasing your products or services. As a result, your local SEO strategy will drive more organic traffic to your website and increase your online visibility.

If you're not sure which directory is the best option for your business, RankRise can help. We specialise in crafting the perfect local SEO strategy for a wide range of businesses, and we understand the importance of local business listings. Contact us for more information. 

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Tijana Abadic
Tijana Abadic

Tijana is a content writer with three years of experience working for digital marketing firms and creating informative and engaging content for diverse industries. As a content strategist at RankRise, she specialises in writing and editing long-form content that reflects the brand and drives results.

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