As with so much else in the modern world, the smartphone has replaced the traditional paper listings book. That heavy, cumbersome tome that was left outside the front door once a year is a thing of the past, and most people are glad about it. As a replacement, it is reported that a massive 83% of Brits now own or lease a smartphone. These ever present devices allow people to find businesses in the blink of an eye, whether they be local, national or international. As the vast majority of businesses in the UK are small to medium enterprises (SMEs), that quite often means getting a quick response from a local small business which has just what they’re looking for. As a business owner, then, it’s essential that your website appears on the search results of as many local smartphones, tablets or laptops as possible.
How Local Business Directories Work
Any online business directory has two ways in which it sorts its entries, and therefore produces search results. One is by business type, anywhere in the country. This is often ideal for small businesses which produce niche products that can be delivered using one of the many courier services available, from John O’Groats to Land’s End if necessary. As this type of business expands, customers can order almost anything of a reasonable size, from shoes to cheese, and not have to worry about the distances involved. However, services are often a different matter. If a householder suddenly needs a hole in their roof mending, they want a reputable company who can be there as quickly as possible; and this means a local business. Depending on demand for such services, local businesses can be listed on directories covering quite small areas; usually, this means within a handful of postcodes. So, when a potential customer enters their own postcode, the site immediately displays companies servicing that area.
Key to Local Business Directory Listings
For local listings in online directories, the devil is in very much in the detail. It is vital, for instance, to get your postcode right. This may sound obvious, but some small businesses make the mistake of entering a home address, which may indeed be the company’s registered address, but is in a different area to their depot. When a customer searches a local directory, they will be presented with a location arrow, and the nearer this is to their chosen location, the better. Depending on street layouts or transport links, it may be better to enter the postcode of a nearby main road, just to it gives people confidence you can be where they want you quickly. The next detail is the description of the services you offer. This needs to be entered in a box with quite a small number of characters, to take the time to say exactly what you offer in short statements.
Finding The Right Site
Not surprisingly, there are hundreds of business directory websites out there, many of which will cover any particular geographic area. If you’re an established business in a town, village or suburb, you’ll already know which directories cover your area; it makes sense, therefore, to enter your company on their listings. Basic listings are free, and it’s extremely likely your competitors will use those directory sites. You can check this by visiting these directories and noting which companies appear when you enter a relevant search. It’s quite possible that competitor companies will have taken out premium listings, so their logo is given a prominent placement in the ads column. It’s important to remember that quantity is no substitute for quality, however; registering with every vaguely local site will result in search engines thinking you’re spamming, and this will push you down their rankings. It’s also vital to keep abreast of changes in the listings marketplace; an online directory which is badly maintained will take all local businesses down the rankings with it. It pays to find a reputable business directory to help you get your strategy right.