Local directories can be both a blessing and a curse to businesses. There are three key reasons to pay attention to local directories:
- SERP Map Visibility – companies don't often realize that having a business and a website doesn't necessarily make you visible in search engine result pages. Your business must be listed on Google Business to get visibility in the map section of a search engine result page (SERP).
- Organic Rankings – many directories are great to be listed in to build your site's overall organic rankings and visibility (outside the Map).
- Directory Referrals – consumers and businesses do use directories to find retail outlets, restaurants, service providers, etc. so you can absolutely get business by being listed.
Local Directories Aren't Always Good
While there are benefits to local directories, it's not always a great strategy. Here are some problems with local directories:
- Aggressive Sales – local directories often make their money by upselling you to premium listings, ads, services, and promotions. More often than not, these contracts are long-term and have no performance metrics associated. So, while it sounds like a great idea to be listed above your peers… if no one is visiting their directory, it's not going to help your business.
- Directories Compete With YOU – local directories have huge budgets and are actually competing with you organically. For instance, if you're a local roofer, the directory for local listings of roofers is going to work hard to rank above your website. Not to mention they're going to present all your competition alongside you.
- Some Directories Will HURT You – Some directories are full of millions of entries of spam, malware, and inappropriate websites. If your domain is linked on those pages, it can actually hurt your rankings by associating you with those sites.
Local Directory Management Services
As with every marketing problem out there, there's a platform to help business owners or marketing agencies manage their listings. Personally, I recommend that companies manage their Google Business account directly through the Google Business mobile app – it's a great way to share and update your local offers, share photos, and keep in touch with visitors to the SERP.
Semrush is my favorite platform for researching and monitoring my clients' search engine visibility. They've now expanded their offerings into local listings with a new listings management tool!
Check Local Listings Visibility
The first thing you can do is check your listings. Enter the country, business name, street address, zip code, and phone number of your business:
Semrush automatically provides you a list of highly authoritative directories along with how well your listing is presented. The results break down the results with:
- Present – you are present in the local listings directory and your address and phone number are accurate.
- With Issues – you are present in the local listings directory but there's an issue with the address or phone number.
- Not Present – you are not present in these authoritative local listings directories.
- Unavailable – the directory in question wasn't able to be reached.
If you click Distribute Info, you can pay a monthly fee, and Semrush will then register the entry for listings it doesn't appear in, updates the entries that it does where there's no entry existing, and continue to keep the directories updated each month.
Additional Features of Semrush Local Listings
- Google Map Heatmap – See exactly how well you show up on Google Map results in the areas directly surrounding your business. Over time, you can track how well you’ve improved.
- Voice Search Optimization – People are searching with their voice now more than ever. Semrush makes sure your listings are optimized for voice queries.
- Track and Respond to Reviews – See every review of your business and take timely measures to maintain your business reputation by responding on Facebook and Google Business.
- Manage User Suggestions – See the changes in your listings suggested by users and approve or reject them.
- Find and Remove Fake Businesses – There may be imposters with the same business name as you on the web. Fix any related issues!
Disclosure: We're an affiliate of Semrush Local Listings