In order for your small business to grow, you need to give it exposure. There are many ways to get exposure for your business, particularly online: through blog posts, social media, your website, local influencers, search engine ads, and more. Yet one of the best ways to increase your exposure for local searches is by listing your business. Three ways to do this are through industry directories, city directories, and Google My Business. Read on to learn how to set your business up to get found by consumers looking for products and services you offer.
Related: Online Listings eBook (free download)
List Your Business with Industry Directories
Industry directories are popular with local consumers and typically rank well in local searches. You probably know which directories are most important for your business, whether it’s Urbanspoon, Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, Healthgrades, Tripadvisor, etc. If you are not sure, search for keywords that relate to your business and see which listing sites rank well. Then submit your business to the relevant directories.
For example, if you own or manage a plumbing company in Austin, Texas:
- Search Google for “plumber Austin TX”
- You’ll see results on the first page for Yelp, HomeAdvisor, and Angie’s List
Add and claim your business where it makes sense. You should know that there is a fee for some of these directories. Some links to help you explore your options are:
For more info, also see the most important directories per vertical compiled by Moz:
List Your Business with City Directories
City directories are also used by consumers and can enhance your visibility online. To find out which city directories to get listed on, also run a search in Google.
For example, if you own or manage a salon in Austin, Texas:
- Search for “salons Austin TX”
- You’ll see results on the first page for austin.culturemap.com
- Add and claim your business where it makes sense.
For more info, also see a list of important local directories per city compiled by Moz:
Get on Google My Business
If you want local consumers to find your business, you need to list it with Google. When you create a free profile for Google My Business, your business can show up in Google Search, Google Earth, Google Maps, etc.
There are a few steps you can take to ensure that your listing is complete and stands out from other businesses:
Set Up Your Google My Business Page
If you don’t have a Google My Business page for your business, you can easily set it up for free at google.com/business.
Choose Your Categories
The categories you choose for your listing on Google help you get found by customers who are looking for a business like yours. Google allows you to set a primary category and 9 subcategories that are used for search and maps.
To Choose or Edit Your Categories
- Log into your Google My Business account
- Click Info on the desktop version or Business Info on the mobile version.
- Scroll to the category section.
- Review or enter your primary category. This should be the category that best represents your business. Google recommends choosing a category that is as specific as possible but representative of your main business.
- To enter additional categories, click on the edit icon next to the category. Here you can choose up to nine subcategories.
To View Categories Used by Competitors
If you are not sure which primary category to use for your business, search for your competitors on Google. You’ll see the primary category for each competitor right under the business name.
Google does not show the subcategories that are set for a business right on the listing. However, here is how to see these:
- Right-click on the listing on Maps.
- Click View Page Source.
- Open the Find box on your computer and type in the primary category name you saw.
- You’ll see a list of all the categories in the page source, listed alphabetically following the primary category.
Make a note of the categories that make sense for your business so you can add them to your listing. (If one or more of these are not available to you in Google My Business, then these are so-called category folders that are set automatically by Google.)
Add Your Business Description
Pick a few exciting and descriptive words to paint a picture of your business. Adding a description to your Google listing will give your customers an idea of what they can get from you, as well as differentiate your business from your competition.
Add Local Business Photos and Videos
Studies show that users are more responsive to listings with images and videos. Include as many images as you can, and a video of your business services if you have one. At the very minimum, add your business logo to your Google listing. Add as many photos as you want—or can—to describe your business services. You will catch the eye of prospective customers with more photos.
Get Positive Business Reviews
Ask your happy customers to write a review for your Google listing. Customers will choose your business over your competitors based on positive reviews.
Share a Post
If you want to interact with your customers, Google+ offers the ability for you to post links, photos, your location or any messages you wish to share with your customers.
To show up on the first page of results and get in front of a motivated audience, get your business listed on review sites, directories, maps, search engines, and more. Start with these three and keep your listing active, up to date, and accurate.
Industry directories, city directories, and Google are just three of the many places to list your business online. For more guidance with online listings, download our free eBook below: