Brazilians say that Brazil “is the country of the future, and always will be.” Sometimes I think the same could be said of local advertising. For at least the past eight years, Web giants from Groupon to Google+ Local have tried to discover the secret formula that will give them control of this rapidly growing but still untamed market. The Jan. 15, entry of the latest combatant, Facebook’s Graph Search promises some sleepless nights at Yelp headquarters but so far no one seems to be positioned to become what Craigslist is to classified ads, or what Google is to online advertising.
So, in the absence of a clear-cut winner, what’s a local business to do to get the message out about its products and services? Is it more effective to buy ads on Bing or run a coupon promotion on AmazonLocal Deals, or go with one of the new ad services like Yodle? It’s enough to flummox even the local businesses with unlimited ad budgets, if one of those actually existed.
One frequently overlooked solution is to make sure your business shows up prominently in local business directories. Many of the more established local business directories not only source the results for Mapquest and Google Maps queries, they have their own marketing budgets and capabilities. Since listing in a business directory also adds links to your site which positively affects the computation of your Google PageRank and raises your business’ chances of inclusion in the best results, it makes sense to include directories in your marketing strategy.
But which are the best local business directories for SEO?
It’s important to understand that there are two basic types of business directories. Nationally active local directory sites like Yelp and CitySearch are obviously large and established players. Unlike some other local directories, they are efficient at eliminating spam. Human-edited sites are also more reliable, and hence more trusted by search engines as the source of legitimate businesses.
Below is a list of the largest and Highest Traffic Local Business Directories:
A second way to increase your businesses visibility is to increase its presence with multiple citation sources, which are used to validate not only that your business is legitimate but also its basic information like address and phone number. Citation sources obviously include old stand-bys like the Yellow Pages, but also directories that list businesses by industry, such as law firms or hotels. Showing up in citation sites in sufficient quantity assures a search engine that your business should be included in a results set.
Here's a list of the most frequently visited Local Directory Citation Sites:
So, when you consider which are the best local business directories for SEO, understand that both types are important and when used correctly will help a search engine prominently display your business.
Also here's our updated "Definitive List of Local Business Directories".
The founder of CinchLocal, is a seasoned entrepreneur that has over 18 years of experience in search engine optimization and online marketing.