Looking for the nearest coffee shop, Pilates studio or Zambreros? You Google it.
It’s become a widely used verb for a reason – because we Google almost everything.
Every day, billions of people around the world search for things nearby.
In fact, nearly one-third of all mobile searches are related to location.
That’s why local search engine optimisation (SEO) is a traffic gold mine for local businesses.
If you’re wondering how to get more local search traffic to your website, get ready to take some notes because I’m about to spill the beans on how to get more local traffic from Google.
The number one secret to local traffic?
Believe me when I say, local directories are one of the best lead generation tools available for local businesses.
That’s because when customers search for local products and services, directories are usually the first websites Google rank.
Don’t believe me? Let’s show you.
Here’s what a typical search on Google looks like. For the purposes of this how-to, let’s search “wineries in Barossa”.
In this instance, the first thing that comes up is Google Maps with 3 listings (more on that later).
Scrolling down a little bit further we see the organic search results – or the websites that Google thinks have the most authority for the search terms “wineries in Barossa”.
And whaddya know? The top 4 search results in this instance are all business directories.
Barossawine.com, tripadvisor.com, southaustralia.com, and even Wikipedia are all search directories that Google trusts.
Starting to see my point?
And in most cases, these directories are free!
Yet most small businesses have not claimed a single local business listing online, which is a massive business face palm if you ask me.
The worst part is, the longer you leave it to start, the further ahead your competitors will be, and the harder it becomes to rank higher than them.
So, let’s roll up our sleeves and and get serious about how you can hack directories to generate more traffic to your website.
Start with Google My Business
I promised more on this later and here it is: Google My Business is the holy grail of business directories. The best part? It’s free and can get you incredible exposure if you’re optimised enough to show up in Google’s top results.
To claim your Google My Business page, simply visit google.com/business.
There’s a verification process you’ll need to go through where Google will send a postcard with a PIN to your business physical location. (Ps. No P.O. boxes allowed.) This verification process is necessary because Google wants to confirm that your business is legit and that you are actually the business owner.
The next step is to optimise your listing with a solid description, category, business hours, types of payments accepted and so on and so forth. Get serious and make sure you fully populate each and every relevant section so that your listing is complete.
Make sure you upload your logo and a range of photos of your premises, products and services. We always recommend that you upload at least three photos.
Find the best directories for your business
Now that your website is listed on the holy grail of directories, let’s cast your net a little wider and claim your listings on other directories.
Before you start crawling the internet for dodgy directories, listen up: not every directory website is right for you.
So, how do you find the directories that are going to get you the best results?
Easy. Simply search for keywords like “[your city] directory” to find local community websites or directories.
Search for similar industries and your city and see what directories come up and then add your business to all of those directories.
Gold star tip: If you want to bring in mega leads for your business, add your business to multiple directories. Aim for at least 30 directories and watch your organic traffic from Google explode.
Do it once and get it right
When adding listings, always make sure that your businesses name, address and phone number are accurate and consistent.
Because discrepancies like misspellings, abbreviations, lack of office number and wrong phone number can cause havoc when Google can’t determine which information about your business is correct.
If Google’s not sure, they may display incorrect information — or not show your business in search results at all.
Save time and get someone to do it for you
Finding the right directories and adding your business to around 30 directories can be tedious but it will mean big results for your business.
If you don’t have the time, don’t fear. We created our Local SEO and Directory Listing service especially for small businesses. This is no standard list of directories. We target the directories with the most authority in Google’s eyes. We also take your specific keywords and find out what directories are important for your industry.
Amy Chandler is a PR strategist and copywriter for small businesses and entrepreneurs. In 2016, she traded writing copy for politicians and big businesses to launch a digital marketing start-up for small businesses. Fuelled by tea and champagne, Amy and her biz partners built a digital marketing bar where small business owners can order the support they need without the *hangover* of ongoing agency fees. Connect with Amy here and find out more about Comms Hub here.