Drive traffic to your business website

Put your business on the map! Increase web-traffic by using online business directories…

I thought it might prove useful to discuss some of the more popular online business directories that I have come across and have been using recently. If you’re a webmaster or business owner and you are trying to think of ways to increase the traffic to your website then sometimes using digital business directories could be the extra push you need if you reach a plateau.

I will introduce them individually below; so that you can choose which suit you. Personally, I don’t think there would be any harm in ensuring your business has an up-to-date presence on each of them. Extra online coverage for your brand would only be an additional bonus for your search engine optimisation efforts. Plus, you’d be ensuring your brand reaches the largest possible audience and bridge the gap between individuals you mightn’t have otherwise noticed.

There’s definitely a ton benefits in having your business verified and listed on directories like these. It looks more professional, shows onlookers that your business physically exists on the map and, perhaps more importantly, it allows your customers to interact with your brand (such as checking-in). All of these combined will allow you to gain a following and some recognition for your brand, as well as introducing your business to new and potential customers.

Online Directories for your Business

Google Places for Businesses

(Clicking this will give G+ to bnewton.co.uk)

Verify your Business Listing on Google via Postal PIN

I’m sure you’ve heard, or at least come across this one before. Google allows businesses to create a business or brand page which they can then promote to their customers and increase brand engagement; this also allows your brand to be found on the Google+ social network. Creating a brand page allows local businesses to be listed in their equivalent of an online directory – which provides relevant and accurately tailored local search results to Google users.

Google Places for Business allow you to claim and verify your physical business address so that your customers can find you on the map. There is a verification process involved, which is completed shortly after you receive a postcard with a secret PIN number to acknowledge that the business address exists. Once you’ve entered your unique PIN, Google automatically publishes your business listing information live in its search results.

You have the option to add your external website to your brand page; which if done, means your business will automatically show the address and the company homepage to your potential audience in search results. It also allows for any Google+ engagements with your brand and/or Google+ page to be associated with one and other.

Get your business in the Google Local Map: BN Freelance Web Design

To see the above result live in action, I searched for “Web Design Freelancers in Manchester” in Google UK. I’m fairly confident you will have seen something similar to this before. If you type a search term followed by -‘in [place name]‘, Google is able to intelligently tailor the results based on your geo-location. This means local businesses can be shown to the right audience based on a number of variable factors. Extending the scope beyond just the keywords-used, by introducing the physical distance between search user and business – means Google are able to provide increasingly more accurate and relevant data.

How to sign up for Google Places for Business
  1. Go here: http://www.google.co.uk/business/placesforbusiness/
  2. Sign in, or click ‘get started for free’
  3. In the top right corner, look for the drop-down option with an icon of a cog-wheel. Click this and select ‘Add a New Listing’
  4. Search for the name and address of your business
  5. Providing your business doesn’t already have a listing, you’ll see a button which says “I’ve correctly entered the business and address. Let me enter the rest of my business details”
  6. Follow the form instructions to complete the basic details for your business
  7. Registration Complete! You might want to finish customising your listing and business page first to get a feel for how the interface works and to input some additional details about your services
  8. Sit back and wait for around two weeks to receive a post card from Google in the post containing your unique PIN number which will allow you to immediately validate your business address, which in turn publishes your business listing live for all to see. Happy days indeed!

Yelp for Businesses

yelp-business-directory-listing-preview

Yelp is great for generating business reviews, sharing tips and encouraging customer check-ins. By creating a business page listing in the Yelp directory, your business is now able to accept reviews from other Yelp users. This is a good thing to do because many users, and even some general browsers, will quite likely stumble upon your Yelp listing – and these are likely to be among the first ones they see. Yelp lets you post photos and tips to your business listing so that people can stay up-to-date with what’s happening too.

How to register your business on Yelp
  1. Visit: https://biz.yelp.co.uk/
  2. Click ‘Create your free account now’
  3. Enter your business name how you’d like it to appear, alongside a location which will help users identify your business, click the search button
  4. Yelp will try to suggest some businesses that you could be trying to enter, although generally when signing up – we wouldn’t expect that is the case. Ignoring their suggestions, if you look for the small print at the bottom, it should say  something along the lines of ‘Can’t find your business? Click here to create your listing.’
  5. Enter the basic information for your business, be sure to use a valid email address and check that your contact number is correct as you’ll need this to verify ownership of your business
  6. Check your emails for a verification email, and then follow the instructions to claim your business
  7. Done! You can now customise your business listing and share it with your customers

Foursquare for Businesses

Verify your Foursquare business listing so your customers can check-in and leave tips!

Foursquare is part social-network, part business directory. The idea behind Foursquare is essentially to allow it’s users to share where they shop and visit with their network of friends, check-in to their favourite places and leave comments and recommendations for others to have a read through. If you register to have your business properly listed, which will allow you to begin checking-in to your location, then you will receive a fairly cool “Check-in Here with Foursquare” sticker to put in your shop-front display or window.

How to list your business on Foursquare
  1. Go to: http://business.foursquare.com/
  2. In the top right corner, find the option t hat says ‘Your Listing’ and in the drop down choose ‘Your Listing’ (Yes, that’s silly – I know!)
  3. Again in the top right corner but this time just a little lower; look for the big bright orange ‘Ger Started’ button
  4. Enter your business name how you’d like it to appear as well as your location
  5. Similarly to Yelp, Foursquare will try to suggest some venues that they think you might mean. Providing it doesn’t already exist, simply just ignore these and click the link in the small print below; which should read something like ‘Still don’t see your business? Click here to add it’
  6. Create an account or connect using your Facebook or Google+ profiles
  7. Confirm your business details, verify your listing and you’re all set! You’ll need to wait for a verification pin in the post just like you did for your Google listing. Once successfully claimed your business listing will be live.

Yahoo! Local for Businesses

Yahoo! Local: Business Directory Search Engine

I remember when I initially looked into listing my first business on Yahoo; I was lost and didn’t know where to look. Despite all my searching I couldn’t find how to list my business and website for free in their Local Business directory – the only options I could find were paid and sponsored ‘featured’ listings. Eventually, I found out how to do so, so hopefully by sharing – you can get your business to show up in Yahoo’s local search results. It’s a good idea to saturate as many of the popular search engines as you can, particularly their business directories. That way you’re always reaching the largest possible audience for your business, regardless of what tools they use to search for your business.

How to list your business in Yahoo! Local for free
  1. Visit the third-party partner – infoserve – as used by Google, Yahoo, AOL and MSN: http://search.infoserve.com/are_you_listed.asp
  2. If you cannot find your business, you should be good to enter the details by clicking the ‘My business is NOT listed, let me list my business’ link
  3. Add your basic business information
  4. Add your keywords, a business description and your primary business category
  5. Confirm your details, submit and verify your email – then you’re all done!

Yell.com, 118 24/7 and Yellow Pages Listing

Yell.com & Yellow Pages FREE Business Directory Listing

I’m sure you’ve heard of Yell.com or the Yellow Pages before, if not; it’s that huge book that gets dropped on your doorstep via one of those beasty boom trucks. It’s a massive and thick (yellow) directory containing hundreds and thousands of local businesses and services. It’s free to be listed, you simply hand over a few details and you’re done, which is a pretty cool and quick way to potentially increase traffic to your site.

Applying for your free Yell.com listing through Hibu
  1. Visit: http://www.yell.com/free-listing/
  2. Enter basic details about your business and some personal information about yourself
  3. Confirm, submit and you’re done!

Alexa for Business Websites

Note: This one is slightly more technical and may require the help of your web designer or developer when installing the code-snippets onto your website.

Alexa: Online business website directory listing

Although primarily focused around web-analytics and traffic, Alexa do still give every premium account holder a business and website listing in their directory. This is a great opportunity to have a respectable and valued backlink to your website, as well as create a quick summary for any onlookers. Marketing gurus and such generally use Alexa to snoop on business statistics and competitor performance, so ensuring your business is listed means you can stay one step ahead of the game. This is one to consider if you’re wanting to push your online traffic for sure.

How to claim your Alexa business website directory listing
  1. Visit http://www.alexa.com/products
  2. Choose a subscription that suits
  3. Enter your business details to setup your account
  4. Done!

I hope that this list of business directories will come in useful to any webmasters or business owners responsible for their company’s online presence. Ensuring your business has an extensive coverage of all of the popular search engines, social networks and business directories means your brand will get the exposure it deserves and in turn you’ll receive more visitors!

If you have any other worthy business directories to add, please do leave your comments below and I’ll be sure to add your suggestions to this post!

Last Updated: 26 December, 2013 at 2:02am

Written by Ben Newton

Ben is a freelance website designer and developer and self-taught web enthusiast based in Eccles, Manchester (UK). With over 7 years experience already under his belt at the age of 23, Ben has a keen eye for detail and pixel-perfect design. Ben has worked with businesses local to Manchester, nation-wide across the UK and even further afield around the world.

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