A key component for any small business marketing strategy is to understand how to effectively place its brand in search engine results. This means to achieve a competent Local SEO for the business steps to boost citations must be put into practice. This is because they influence how well your site ranks in local search results. Local citation basically means a mention of your business by any other site on the internet which includes blogs, forum posts, social media platforms among other sites.
However, if you are a starter in link building and local business SEO then the first step to achieve a high number of citations is listing your business on directories. Many people think directories are bad. From their past history where you only had to pay a small fee and secure hundreds of links to your business where many of these links originated from low quality directories that existed for the sole purpose of hosting large number of links. Google came to the rescue to try and eliminate spammy directories and ensure only useful sites appear in their results.
How to spot a good directory
Two things you should ask yourself before listing your business in any directory are; whether the directory is relevant to your business and is the content in the directory engaging your audience and relevant to your business? For example if the directory deals real estate and you are in the real estate business then list your business here. But if you are a car dealer then don’t list in that directory.
This obvious example tries to drive the point home that citations, just like the inbound links are of greater value to your business when they come from relevant directories.
Avoid directories that are a lot more all-inclusive which makes it harder for you to understand whether they are relevant to business. A good directory should be curated, include the approval of a moderator when posting and sometimes even require placing a phone call to you for the completion of listing your business.
Are Directory Listings Free?
This is a rather tricky question. Some directories will request for payments before listing your business. One thing you should know is that Google penalizes paid links as well as paid listings, though not always. Google evaluates the number of listings that the directory is posting and if it looks like a scammer who took an old link and started extorting money from businesses then the directory is penalized. Also if your listing is posted as soon as you pay Google might also penalize you for the link. However, if the payment constitutes only a small part of approval service then you do not run the risk of being penalized. In the beginning you can use free services for getting local citations and if your rankings don’t increase you can pay a professional to submit you business to more directories.