In this second post about local business opportunities I want to talk about local directories.
Local directories are simply websites that store the names, address, telephone numbers, opening times etc. of local businesses.
When I say local directories I mean any directory of course as some are national or international directories (yellow pages etc.) but may “regionalize” their content.
Their sites often rank pretty well in local searches as people are looking specifically for things like pizza parlours, hair dressers, plumbers etc. in their local area.
So it quite likely many of the directories will appear on Google page one when local searches are made.
This makes them great for pulling in customers of course so it is beneficial for business to be listed in the directories.
They also act as “backlinks” to the business especially if they are listed in Google+ .
These listing (Business name, Address & telephone specifically, also know as NAP) are called “citations”. If the citation matched Google+ then that is another “ranking point” for the business to appear in the magic seven local results on Google page one.
So two good reasons to be listed in the directories.
Next you need to understand how the directories get populated. Generally they get their data from a number of central databases. This data may or may not exist and may or may not be correct.
So in practice if nothing is done then any specific business’s details may simply be incorrect, out of date or not exist at all.
Clearly to get the best chance of being seen and being found online is to appear in as many local online directories as possible. Of course the business details need to be 100% correct or things could actually be worse than not being listed at all.
So this is your opportunity to make sure local business are listed in as many local directories as possible. This is an easy service you can supply to offline clients.
In fact you don’t even have to work “offline” yourself. You can perform this kind of service from anywhere as all the work is done online.
Adding and Updating Directories
Of course you can go to each directory in turn and add or correct the customers details. Remember to Make sure Google+ is correct first and then correct all other listings to match.
This is all free to do but just takes tome of course.
To make this easier yiu could hire a VA or a service to do the actual updating. You will need to pay for that of course but you could handle a lot more business that way.
There are couple of great services available that you use easily
1. Yahoo local
2. Moz Local
They work slightly differential
Yahoo offers a service to keep updated the top 40 directories for you. You just give them the details and they will ensure everything is updated. This service cost around $29 a month (paid quarterly).
You simply need to pass on that cost plus you management fee and your service is done. The client will give you any changes at any time and you can add those to Yahoo and they will be done automatically.
You will also reports and statistics on the listings like view and clicks so you can see what is working for you and what is not.
Most listing allow photos etc. to be included and this is all part of the service. You can send monthly reports of the listings performance to your clients so they can see the value of the continued service.
Using this you can build up a nice recurring income.
Moz works differently in that it updates the “source” data abrogators that feed the directories and search engines. This means correcting the listings at source so they filter down (remember I said that only a few master databases feed all the directories?).
One big plus with the Moz service is that it is only $49 a year (per business listing).
Moz Local is pretty new so currently you need to manage a spreadsheet with all your listing data on and upload it to Moz. This does allow you to batch upload or batch edit any listings.
As Moz grows you will see many improvements in the service. Moz is master at this kind of stuff so keep a close eye on them.
Both Moz and Yahoo offer free “Business Reports” so you use those to engage new clients. Simply run heir businesses through the report system and let them see the results. Both have pretty good graphical reports that will are great for putting in front of a customer. (Or just email them the URLs).
You can checkout a report here at Moz Local
and here at Yahoo Local
Both sites have a “How It Works” link on the pages so check those out for additional details.
I have created of videos for you to see these in action below.