How Online Listings and Online Reviews Impact Your SEO

What Are Online Directory Listings?

Online Directory Listings are online profiles of your business that include your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP). Some of the most popular free online directories include Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, Facebook, and Yellow Pages.

Creating local business listings gives businesses more visibility and every new listing you create improves your chances of getting a higher ranking and being found online. In fact, a 2018 report from MOZ shows that search engines like Google use online directory listings as a factor in ranking a business's website and adding them to the local pack.

Online Reviews and Listings Improve Your Search Ranking

Both consumers and businesses rely on search engines to answer a question, solve a problem, or provide accurate, up-to-date information about a person, place, thing, or business.

Search engines have responded to these consumer actions and needs by rewarding websites that consistently produce valuable content, solve a problem, and share new information about themselves with higher rankings.

Online directory listings and customer reviews all under the category of content that’s useful and valuable for consumers, and the more consistent you are about getting them, the higher your site will rank.

Online Reviews Strengthen Your Business Reputation

According to the 2018 Moz Local Search Report, 64% of consumers looked to Google for reviews about boutiques, gyms, grocery stores, restaurants, and other local businesses before buying anything from them. The majority of consumers--almost 80 percent--also say they trust online reviews just as much as they trust a personal recommendation from a friend, colleague, or family member. That trust becomes more solidified when a business responds to a review in a positive, constructive manner.

For those reasons, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines have prioritized online review signals as a key ranking factor for local businesses. Online reviews help search engines assess the activity levels of physical locations. They also look to the accuracy of the listings as well as the quality and quantity of reviews to determine whether a business is worth ranking.

Accurate Online Listings Make You Easier to Discover

In the same way that consistently producing online reviews and content helps your website rank higher in search engines, so does having an accurate listing.

Accurate and consistent listing information, including NAP, website, pictures, hours, citations. all help establish you as a credible business in the eyes of local search engines.

The more accurate this information is, the better your chances of ranking will be.

Having accurate listings also impacts consumer trust and likelihood of buying goods and services from your business. If your phone number or website information is incorrect or conflicts with another piece of information, the phone won’t ring as often as it will if this information is consistent.

A whopping 68% of customers said they would stop using a local business entirely if they found incorrect or conflicting information online. So essentially, every incorrect listing you have means there is more potential for lost revenue.

Where Should You List Your Business Online?

The more directories you list your business on, the more chances you’ll have of being found. But before you list your business on every directory known to humankind, consider your ideal customer, where they hang out online, where they are most likely to go looking for information.

If you don’t know this information, hold off on creating directory listings beyond Google My Business and really get to know your customers. Build a profile that includes their basic demographics, favorite social media channels, and favorite online directories. When you’re finished, go to town with adding your business to as many relevant directories as possible, and check them weekly for new customer reviews.

Each company’s ideal directory mix of directories will vary from industry to industry. For example, if you own a chain of restaurants, you’ll want to be sure to claim each restaurant listing on Yelp and list all your locations with Google My Business with your hours, ordering, and phone information. Software companies benefit most from prioritizing sites like Capterra and Trustpilot for reviews, while hotels, travel, & leisure companies will benefit most from Google, Yelp, and Trip Advisor reviews.

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