Google My Business is 14.7% by itself but ideally you want to list your business on hundreds of directories especially if you’re targeting Google Maps. I know it sounds ridiculous, however if you look at this pie chart under the “top local stack / snack pack factors” (aka Google Maps), you can see online directories / citations are both the #2, #5, and #14 local ranking factors…
Top 20 Online Directories
1. Google My Business
2. Yahoo Local
3. Bing Places
6. Express Update
9. Chamber of Commerce
13. Merchant Circle
Top Directories For Industries, Countries, Cities – my list includes the top 20 online directories for United States. If you are in a different country (or you just want to see the most extensive lists available online), see Whitespark’s top citations by category, city, and country.
NAP Consistency – NAP stands for business name, address, phone. Keeping this consistent across your directories (and website) is the #2 ranking factor in Google Maps.
Google Maps Optimization – my process for ranking here is: Google My Business → Moz Local → Whitespark → Reviews. This works VERY well and is the same process I used to rank clients #1 for “Chicago Graphic Design Classes” and other competitive keywords on my work page. I provided tips below and you can also see my local SEO guide (specific to WordPress but most recommendations are universal) for tips on finding local keywords, creating geo-targeted pages, mobile speed optimization, and other items from Google’s local search ranking factors.
Google My Business – your most important directory. Fill this out 100%, upload photos and the “photos” tab, verify your page, set a custom URL, and list ALL relevant categories with your primary category listed first. Get a 360° tour from a Googled preferred vendor if applicable.
Moz Local – run your business through Moz Local to fix errors on top directories. You will see 4 tabs which will help you fix incomplete, inconsistent, and duplicate listings.
Whitespark – hire Whitespark to build more directories since these are so important for Google Maps. Whitespark’s citation building service is $4-5 per directory. You basically fill out an intake with your business information, order around $300 worth of directories, and in around 2-3 months you should see an improvement in your Map rankings (they will send you a report once it’s complete). Whitespark has 4.9/5 reviews stars on Google with 120+ reviews and I’ve invested over $2,000 for both myself and clients. Whitespark does manual submissions + one-time fees unlike Yext which is automated, has recurring fees, and is terrible.
Reviews – Google My Business is usually the most important place to get reviews on (you need about 5 to get those stars showing up). You can avoid the Yelp review filter by asking customers who already have a Yelp account and engaging with people who left a review (adding them as a friend, voting their review as useful, etc). This will avoid the Yelp filter.
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