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What Is a Local Directory Listing Service, and Why Should You Use One?

Updated on December 9, 2016
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Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, engineer, mother of 2, and a published sci-fi and horror author.

What is a Local Directory Listing Service?

A local directory listing service helps small business owners claim all of their relevant business directory listings. Then they help small businesses enter the correct information in a format that search engines prefer. Consistency is key, since search engines prioritize businesses in local searches that have the exact same information across many different business directories. While many small businesses can claim their own directory in Google’s directories and the Better Business Bureau, it is worth paying a pro to do the work when you realize that fifty business directories are truly better than one or two big ones.

Good local SEO helps your site stand out above the rest in a local search query.
Good local SEO helps your site stand out above the rest in a local search query. | Source

Why Should You Consider Using a Local Directory Listing Service?

A benefit of using local business listing services is the fact that they can quickly load information like your business name, address, phone number and web address to all of these services using experts or software tools for exactly that purpose. The only thing worse than putting your web address in a business directory by yourself is doing it incorrectly so that a customer who finds you and is interested in your business can’t follow the link. Putting your business NAP+W in many different directories, including some that are rarely used except by niche markets, isn’t a waste of time and money. These backlinks actually improve the search engine rankings of your site.

Local directory listing services are essential if you have several franchises or venues. If the location information isn’t input correctly with clear identifiers for each location, having more than one location actually kills the local SEO for each business since the search engine isn’t sure which address is the right one.

A local directory listing service that knows how to clearly identify each facility can maximize the local SEO for each business. More importantly, by setting up separate business directory entries for each business, you can start collecting reviews for each business location. Then one location with poor management won’t affect the reputation of the others. The fact that someone searching for your business will see more than one location cannot be understated, either. If they see that there is more than one franchise, they’ll see you as more successful than a stand-alone location. And good location information like map capsules and driving directions in each business directory entry ensures they can find your business.

If local users can't find you, you might as well not exist. Bad local SEO hurts rankings and drives away visitors.
If local users can't find you, you might as well not exist. Bad local SEO hurts rankings and drives away visitors. | Source

Do Local Business Directory Entries Create Good Local SEO?

Local business directory entries are the first step for creating local SEO beyond putting an address and map capsule prominently on your company’s home page. Local directory entries don’t eliminate the need for local SEO for your company’s content such as listing the area you serve in the “about us” section and directions to the venue on your home page.

You can’t assume that hiring someone to fill in all relevant business directories means you don’t have to put your address (in the same NAP+W format) on your home page and other sites. You still need to put local references in your company’s content, such as talking about the new location that opened off of streets A and B in walking distance of JKL landmark. You still need to solicit testimonials and reviews with location references to improve local SEO as well as your site’s ratings.

One factor to consider is location and range. For many businesses, your local SEO needs to be hyperlocal, referencing your location based on nearby major streets and the neighborhood. Generic references to the city or larger geographic area are actually too broad unless you’re the only service provider or seller of a product in that larger area.

You don’t have to hire a local directory listing services to improve your local SEO. We’ve already discussed putting the business name, address and phone number on one’s home page and other pages where one would want to see directions on how to find your business. A separate page with driving directions from the suburbs or parking advice for a downtown location can provide valuable local SEO references as well as help customers get to you. Even advice like “don’t park in the school parking lot at the intersection of X and Y” improves local SEO while assisting customers.

Simply including location information in new content like “when we opened our DCE Street store off JKL Avenue in 2005” improves local search rankings Subtle location references such as talking about a new manager promoted from the suburban store with information on its specific location to the downtown store down the street from a major venue benefits local SEO.

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