Local business directories are a good way to drive traffic to a local business web site. Trusted directories are those that Google and other search engines consider to be a legitimate place to list a local business with a link to your web site.
Google appears to pay close attention to these directories. How do we know that? We know because these are the directories that consistently show up in Google Places accounts as “citations” in the “More About this Place” section at the bottom of Places account page for a local business. You will never see listings for any of the low-quality, trashy directories that are found through offers such as, “Get 1,000 directory links for $29.95”. While that may sound like a bargain, those directories never show up in Places accounts and are routinely ignored by all major search engines. They are therefore a waste of money. Focus on the directories that Google recognizes.
Listings in the right directories can boost both your presence in Places for local business searches and yor rankings for organic listings. The trick for getting the directory listings to be associated with a Places account is to make sure that the street address in your Places account is the same as the address displayed in the directories. This should also be the same as the address displayed in text on every page of your web site.
Keep in mind that trusted local business directories do not just offer a simple listing for your company. They provide a full profile page, sometimes with detailed information about your company and frequently include user reviews. Google clearly appears to prefer directories that allow user reviews.
This article is a work in progress and we will update it with new sites as part of our ongoing research. This list is by no means extensive. You may find several additional local directories in your area. To look for trusted directories, simply do a local search for a business, such as “Phoenix home inspections.” The Places listings are those with the little red balloon that ties the company to a location on the map in the right column. There is usually a link to the right of the Places listing that says, “x Google Reviews” or “Place a Page.” Those links lead to the company’s Places account page. Recently, Google has been displaying a sampling of the trusted directories below each Places listing on the search results page. Google is always experimenting with search results pages, so what you see may be different.
If you have a local business with a street address, you may find that your site is already listed. If it is, make sure that the address, contact information and link to your web site is correct. There is usually a process for making corrections that includes signing up for membership with the site. If the business is not listed, then submit it. Most local business directories are free, but some will charge a fee for listing your company.
One final and ongoing step is to encourage customers to write positive reviews about their experiences working with your company. Google pays very close attention to reviews and reviews are believed to be another factor that boosts the placement for your Places account in local searches.