Why are local business directories important for SEO?
While many of your potential customers search Google for information on local services, inevitably a large portion of them find their way to a local business directory listing (aka “online yellow pages” sites).
Many of these directories not only have substantial brands/marketing budgets to drive traffic, but they also do well in organic search rankings for important local searches. So even if business owners can’t get their site ranked high for a specific search term, your local business listings and relevant business data (phone number, address, category, service offering, professional services, products and services, etc.) can appear on the local directory site that ranks for that term.
Perhaps even more important is that links to your site and mentions of your business (aka “Local Citations”) can help your site rank well in both “national” organic search as well as in the Google Business Profile (Google’s local listings) results.
What are the best local business directories?
So with this in mind, we thought it would be helpful to provide a list of the best local business directories for your SEO efforts—a directory of directories. While other sites have put together similar lists of online listings, invariably they focus on a grab-bag of sites, many of which are irrelevant. We wanted to go for only those that are truly important and worth spending time on.
Check these sites to see if your business info is up to date. If not, update your business information asap. If you don’t have a listing on all of these sites, typically businesses can create listings for themselves (check if the site offers free listings) or they may need to work through a local data provider to get listed on them.
We have divided them into two lists:
- The Largest Local Business Directories in the US
- The Top U.S. Local Citation Sources
The 48 Largest Local Business Directories in the US
These local directory sites have the largest amount of traffic and are listed by size – largest first. In cases where the site is more than a directory, such as Mapquest, we have tried to estimate what % of their traffic goes to the directory. Improving your presence on these directories means your business information will be exposed to a wide audience of local searchers.
- Google My Business
- CitySearch (Must be added via InfoUSA’s ExpressUpdate.com)
- City-Data (operated by Advameg.com)
- Yahoo Local
- Insider Pages
- Best of the Web Local
Top U.S. Local Directory Citation Sources
Whitespark.ca recently released some amazing data on the top local citation sources. We thought it would be interesting to take that data and determine which directories on average had the most citation influence in the entire country. While it’s good to focus on your service area and category for citation building, in most cases, regardless of your location or industry, these are the sites you should almost always include while citation-building.
- Yahoo Local
- Google My Business
- Apple Maps
- Bing Places
- Chamber of Commerce
- Truck Driving School
While a number of expected brands made the list, Facebook and YouTube are perhaps the two biggest surprises here. Then again, they are two of the biggest sites in the world and each has local business content, so perhaps it’s no surprise that they would emerge as important citation sources.
New Local Directories
Let’s use this space to highlight new directories that have emerged since I published this. If you’ve got one, please send it in.
Previously published on Yext.com
Andrew Shotland is the proprietor of Local SEO Guide, a SEO consultancy focused on enterprise search engine optimization for local media properties and multi-location businesses. He also has a new blog about Apple Maps.