Local Listings

A company without local listings on the top rated websites for citations is not even considered a viable business in the eyes of Google, Bing or Yahoo.

The core work of any local search marketing campaign is the creation of local business listings. A local business listing is an online profile that contains your business name, address, phone number, and other details. There are thousands of websites and directories on which local business owners are allowed to create free business listings. Some you may already have heard about include Google+ Local, Yelp, Bing Places, Internet Yellow Pages, and Yahoo! Local.

The sole purpose of creating local business listings is to make your business visible on the Internet. Every new listing you generate increases your chances of being found by your customers. At the same time, most local business indexes and directories share data with each other. The more places you are listed and the more visible you are, the more these indexes trust the accuracy of your business data—increasing your chances of ranking well in local searches.

Local Search Engines

Local search engines like Google and Bing crawl the web for citations that validate or correct the business information in their own indexes. Being listed on websites like Yelp, Foursquare, Hotfrog, and others can validate search engines’ confidence in the accuracy of your business name, location, and website. Unfortunately most local businesses will need to engage in a concerted citation building campaign that ensures that they are listed in as many relevant, quality local business directories as possible.

Local Blogs

Local blogs are a good place to have your business listed. These will obviously vary by particular geography, but if you simply perform a search on your favorite search engine for “[your city] blog” or “[your neighborhood] blog,” you’ll likely see some good candidates.

The sites that show up for these kinds of searches are, by definition, very well-indexed by the search engines, and highly associated with a particular neighborhood, city, or region in local results. Businesses that are mentioned or linked to on these blogs are viewed as trusted, relevant results in the local search engines.

Locally Focused Directories

Like local blogs, local directories are well-indexed by the search engines and are highly associated with a particular city or region. Directories which are edited by a human are much better than those which are “free for all”. Human-edited directories are less susceptible to spam, and are therefore more trusted by the local search engines. Two examples of terrific locally focused directories are Best of the Web’s Regional Directory and Yahoo’s Regional Directory. You can perform searches for things like “[your city] directory” or “[your state] directory” to find good prospects for these kinds of citations.

Industry Focused Directories or Blogs

If a website is focused on topics and keywords related to your products and services, it may be included among the sites that the local search engines count as citation sources—even if that website or directory is not focused on a particular region. For instance, the membership directory of your trade organization or a blog that is popular among readers in your industry will both probably be crawled by the local search engines for citations. Searches like “[your industry] directory” or even “[your keyword] directory” will give you some ideas of the kinds of sites on which to get listed.

50 Local Citation Sources