We all know that -- for local SEO -- Google is king.
So why go to the trouble to claim, verify, and optimize your local listings on Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, or those other “out-dated” directories like YellowPages? Does anyone even use them anymore?
Yes, as a matter of fact, they do.
Think of your local search presence as a root system holding up a tree. If it has one, singe taproot (Google), that doesn’t give it much grip. Yes, it's the most important root, but that alone will not make it stand strong. Spreading your roots by listing your business on other sites will give your business a stronger, more credible presence online.
What you should do
One of the best ways to help your local listing rank well on Google is to improve the quantity, quality, and consistency of your listings on other sites. More connections lead to more credibility, which leads to better rankings.
Once you've created and optimized a Google+ for Business page, move on to Yahoo! Local, Bing Local, Yelp, and beyond (see the helpful list below for some great places to get started). These listings will make your business more visible to Google and potential customers.
Local reviews are also immensely important, as they are an increasingly significant ranking factor for local search.
Expanding to social networks like Google+, Facebook, and Twitter will help too - especially if you use them! Giving your business a social presence, with shareable posts and interactive opportunities, can boost your credibility even more.
What you shouldn't do
As always, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing.
Listing your business more than once in the same local directory creates duplicate listings, which can split traffic and, if unchecked, can provide false or out-dated information, creating confusion for Google and your prospects.
If you're planning on setting up social profiles for your business, you'll want to use them often, but beware of oversharing. It can be annoying, leading people to unsubscribe from your page. We find posting a few times a week is a good balance.
Where you should start
Google should be your first priority (it’s ours!), but expanding your local presence beyond Google is essential for success. Even if you think a site isn't hugely popular, listing your business will give it more credibility to Google and increase its chances of being found by potential customers.
If you're looking for a place to start, we recommend the following local directories and social networks:
- Yahoo! Local
- Bing Local
- TripAdvisor (specifically for businesses in hospitality)
- CitySearch / CityGrid
Need more help? Drop us a line. We work with local businesses across the country and can help you improve your website's presence in search.