How to Use Online Business Directories to Boost Your Business

 

Image via Flickr.

When you want to find information on a local business, where do you turn?

In 2014, Google commissioned a study and found that 80% of “consumers use search engines to find local information.” Of these, 88% search on a smartphone and 84% on a computer or tablet.

I guarantee these percentages will only continue to increase as more and more people gain access to the internet and realize how much easier it is than flipping through a 3-inch thick paper directory to find what they’re looking for.

As a savvy business owner, it’s essential that you take advantage of every opportunity to promote your business online.

What if I told you that doing so does not have to cost you a single penny?

Now you’re listening.

Get your Business Listed on Local Online Directories

Local online business directories make is super easy to get your website in front of the right people; people on the hunt for the very products/services or information you have to offer.

The great news is that many of these are completely free or in many cases, offer free plans allowing you to upgrade from there. Invest a bit of your time entering key business details and you’ll add another layer of visibility to your website. (Hint: Use your internet browser’s autofill feature as you’ll be submitting the same information over and over again to each directory.)

I did some digging for you and came up with the list you’ll see below. No matter where you live, you can find additional local online directories with a quick search: “free online directories + (Country).” Give it a try and tweet me @buildwithleah if you find a good one you’d like to share.

Here we go:

18 Places to List Your Business Online for Free

1. Google My Business 

2. Bing Places 

3. Better Business Bureau

4. Yellow Pages 

5. Yelp 

6. Linkedin 

7. Hotfrog 

8. Angie’s List 

9. Manta 

10. Superpages 

11. Local 

12. EZ Local

13. Yahoo 

14. TripAdvisor

16. Merchant Circle 

17. 411.info 

18. Manta

Tip: On any of these sites, search to see if your business is already listed, then claim control of your existing listing instead of submitting a duplicate.

Watch Out For Spammy Directories

When it comes to online directories, not all are created equal. Stick to sites that are good quality and relevant to your business needs. There are plenty to choose from. You don’t want to run into problems connecting your site to low-quality, spam-ridden directories. Linking to these sites can actually hurt your search engine rankings so if in doubt, leave it out.

But Wait, There’s More…

Online business directories area great source of leads, consumer reviews and referral traffic. In addition to basic information, some will even allow you to add printable coupons, special offers, videos, images, preferred payment methods and other meaningful information.

Free or paid, it is important you control your business profile and connect with consumers where they want to be. Once you claim your profile, make sure your information is kept up-to-date and provide details about your business to draw new customers in. Last but not least, claim ownership now so that you can respond to positive and negative reviews of your business in the future. You’ll be glad you did.