When was the last time that you used the Yellow Pages?  I’m not talking about as a booster seat or a door stop, but as a resource to find an auto mechanic or a plumber?  Over 77 million mobile subscribers use their mobile devices for online local search directories to find a business.  In fact, according to Yahoo!, over 92% of businesses and consumers use online local search directories when researching products or services.  However, despite the popularity of online local search directories, it is estimated that only 37% of businesses have actually claimed their spot.  These online directories are a must have for any social media marketing plan.  Have you claimed your online local search directory spot yet for your business?  If not, here are some reasons to do so.

Online Local Search Directories | The Statistics

6 out of 10 people use online search directories prior to purchasing products.

  • According to Google, 20% of all searches are related to location. And since comScore reports that over 14 billion searches were conducted through Google in March, this means nearly 3 billion Google search queries contained local terms.   Nearly 2 million listings on Google have been claimed by business owners on Google Places – which still represents only about 15% of small businesses. These Place Pages are viewed millions of times each day.  These statistics only reiterate what we have known for a long time now – local search optimization is a crucial part of every SEO campaign. If 20% of all searches come with local qualifiers, businesses are missing out on at least 20% of their potential traffic by neglecting to optimize for local search terms.  http://ezlocal.com/blog/post/Some-Useful-Local-Search-Statistics.aspx
  • New Research by The Kelsey Group and ConStat Indicates 70% of U.S. Households Now Use the Internet When Shopping Locally for Products and Services.
  • 70% of online searchers will use local search to find offline businesses. The TMPDM-comScore study shows 86 percent of online users will be searching for a local business at some point in time. Research by Kelsey Group
  • The Kelsey Group reports that 74 percent of Internet users perform local searches.
  • 35% of ALL searches are “local” (DM News)

The fact is that consumers use online local search directories before purchasing products.  If you are not utilizing online local search directories, then your competition is and they are taking your customers.  Can you afford not to be found on the Internet?  Here’s how to get started with the implementation of online local search directories in your social media marketing plan.

Online Local Search Directories | Top Sites

There are literally hundreds of online local search directories that you can use to promote your business, product, and service.  But some are much better than others.  The following is a list of the top 5 online local search directories:

These top sites rank highest for search engine optimization.  Plus, some of these site give you the capability to upload videos as well.  People prefer learning via video than text, so placing a video on these local directory sites can significantly distinguish you from your competition.

Online Local Search Directories | Tips on Optimization

Here are some helpful tips to allow you to maximize your exposure and be ranked highest on the search engines.

  • Be complete– fill out as many fields and provide as much information about your company as possible. I am amazed at how many online local search directories don’t even list the business website!  The more information your provide, the higher you will rank and the more people will see you.
  • Be consistent– always use the same contact information.  If you have different addresses and phone numbers on different directory sites, then your rankings will decrease.  For example, if you register with 20 online local search directories and use your home address on 10 and your business address on 5 and a PO Box on 5, then you will only have about half the results that you would’ve had being consistent on each site.
  • Optimize your site for mobile devices or have a mobile website
  • Keep information on your Facebook page up to date
  • Know your audience so you can focus on the online resources your customers use most

By adding these tips as well as online local search directories to your social media marketing plan, you should be able to increase the exposure of your business, product, and service without spending any money!