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Local Search

by  David Dwyer on  02/07/2015    927 Reads

Drive inbound links, traffic & awareness of your website and business.

Is using online directories to get found still valid? Can your business be found online?

Did you know that consumers are 38% more likely to visit a business’s website, and 29% more likely to make a purchase from it, if they find it via a local search?  That means it’s listed on Google My Business, Yelp, Yell, Facebook, FreeIndex, trade- or industry-specific directories and/or one of dozens of other directory sites.

Despite the obvious advantages, only 37% of businesses are listed in any of these directories.  That means 63% of businesses are losing out on this perceived accreditation.  It’s quite likely that if your business is listed it’s the only one of its kind in the directory for your area.  Equally, if you’re not listed yet, putting your details on the directory will give you an advantage over your competitors, who probably aren’t there. 

Many of the sites are free, so it makes perfect sense to spend a few minutes filling in your details; even if you never get a direct sale from the site, it may help a potential customer make a decision about your company.  There’s an assumption that if your business is in a directory you’ve had to jump through a couple of hoops to get there, so you must be bona-fide.  The assumption may be completely unfounded, but that’s the power of visibility.

If your business is in one or more directories, make sure the information is up to date and correct.  You don’t always get to fill in your own details; if the site has taken them from another directory, it may have copied out of date or inaccurate information, especially if you’ve moved premises or changed the focus of your business.  Google your business to find out what sites it’s on – you may be surprised. 

When you fill in the forms yourself take time to make each one different, don’t just copy and paste the “What we do” page from your website.  If you try copying and pasting into FreeIndex, for example, a big red warning sign appears saying that the information needs to be different from your website so that search engines will find it, for your sake and that of everyone else on the site.

FreeIndex also make the point that what you write should be in good English, with proper sentences, and they retain the right to remove badly-worded descriptions.  Heavy-handed?  I don’t think so.  It helps make both your business and the website look more trustworthy.  Poor grammar and lots of spelling mistakes are a big turn-off for a lot of people, and the directory wants to hang on to its users –so do you, or there’s no point being listed on it.

So, if you’re not yet taking advantage of local search, now’s the time to take the plunge.  The directories are free, it doesn’t take long to fill in the forms, the information stays up there indefinitely – and it could give you an extra sales boost.  Why wouldn’t you?

David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David’s academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel & Ergonomics) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot-Watt University and PRINCE2 Practitioner-level certification. He is also an active member of the British Computer Society, Entrepreneurial Exchange and Business for Scotland.

 

Follow Inspire on Twitter @inspireltd and @developersos

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