And whilst Google may come and go with its algorithms, it is customers who ultimately pay your bills. So in the interests of making life easier for your customers it’s important to make sure you’re putting your best (company) foot forward on these local business directories.
And the best way to do that? Staying organised!
The first thing you need to do is get together all your business information:
- Contact Name
- Contact email (this should be one that everyone in the business has access to)
- website URL
- opening hours
- payment options
- electronic copy of your logo (or a link to it online)
- 2 – 3 category descriptions
- 200 character description of your business (this is the maximum most local business directories will take)
- Twitter handle (if you have one)
- Facebook URL (if you have one)
The best way I’ve found to do this is by using a spreadsheet but if spreadsheets aren’t your thing, then you can use a word document too.
I don’t recommend using a paper document, as one of the reasons for keeping everything handy is so you can easily copy and paste information from your document into the directory listing. Paper makes that a lot harder!
Start entering data
This is where you really need the electronic document.
For each field in the listing copy and paste the details from your collected data document. The beauty of this – apart from saving your fingers from all that typing – is your chances of making a typo or mistake go down dramatically.
As you add your business details to each listing, make a note in the same document of
- the name of the site
- the date you created the listing,
- any account details if you had to create an account (like login name and password)
- any contact you might have had with the site – to claim a listing or correct details etc.
- whether the site allows reviews or not.
You’ll also want a blank spot for adding the direct URL of your listing on that site, once it goes live. Some sites will send your listing live immediately, some will take a few days or even a couple of weeks.
Using those citations
Keep checking the different sites until you do get a live listing, and then add that URL to your master document.
Once you have the direct URL you can use it in a couple of ways:
- go directly to your listing when you need to make changes for whatever reason. Some of these sites have terrible search functionality and being able to go directly to your listing will definitely save your sanity.
- provide customers with the link so they can review your business at that directory. Again, this is a lot easier than making them search for your listing sometimes. (Make sure this isn’t against the terms and conditions of the site though. Yelp for example doesn’t like it when you give customers the direct link).
- checking if a review has been left (on the sly so to speak) by a customer or client. Remember to respond always, even to the positive ones!