When thinking about online visibility, listing your optometry business in business directories might not be the first thing that pops into your mind. You’re far more likely to think about SEO or branding as the things to focus on, and they do indeed help you get found online. But ensuring your business is not only listed but your profile is fully optimized on as many business directories as possible really can have a big impact on your online visibility.
But which directories should you choose, why put in the effort to do this, and how do you make the most of your directory listings? Find out with our top tips on directory listings management for optometrists.
What are directory listings?
Thankfully, you’re no longer restricted to getting your optometry business in a physical paper directory once a year, depending on the print run. With the advent of the internet, thousands of online business directories appeared, and many of them are still going today and are highly respected sites, both for their longevity, and the amount of quality information potential customers can find online about businesses.
A business directory is simply a site with listings of a variety of different businesses in different categories and different areas though, of course, a local directory will more usually focus on just one or two local areas. The good news is that most of these sites don’t charge to list your business.
If you’re wondering what you can expect from a business directory listing, check out sites such as Yelp, YP.com, and Angi. Search for “optometrist” or even try “eye doctor”, and you’re bound to see a long list of businesses come up, possibly even some of your competitors.
When you look at a business listing, it will usually have the business NAP (Name, Address, Phone number), the website, email address, images and videos, a list of services, possibly insurances accepted, and all the things you might expect potential customers would want to know.
Benefits of directory listings
Now we come to why you’ll want to get your optometry business listed on as many business directories as possible. Here are just some of the benefits your business will get from doing so:
1. Increased visibility
Even better, these directories are respected by Google, and you’ll often see directories listed over and above your own business website in the search engine results.
However, this isn’t something to worry about. It’s something to help you gain even more visibility for your business.
When you list your business in these directories, including your Google Business Profile (GBP), your social media sites, and sites such as Bing, Yelp and Yahoo, you have the potential to gain several listings on page one of Google. Once your SEO efforts kick in, and you start to move up the search engine rankings, you could find that your business is listed in at least one major business directory on page one of Google, you might also find that your Google Business Profile appears on the same page, and your own website might appear listed under both of them.
While you might think having your own site listed lower down is a problem, it’s really not. Basically, the more times your business appears in the search engine rankings, the more chances you have of potential patients finding you and making a booking.
When you look at directory listings, the one thing they all have in common is that they are based on location.
These sites are a great place to add local keywords and information, and they’ll often provide users with your location on a map, your full address and contact information, and even full directions to your door.
That’s great for informing potential patients of what they need to know, and it’s great for your business too as you’re more likely to get found in local search.
If you claim and fully optimize your Google Business Profile, you’ll also have the chance to appear in the Local Map Pack listings on Google Maps, which would give your business high visibility, above the main search engine results.
The more often potential patients can find your practice online, the more likely they are to trust that you are a real and reputable practice. And if you’re everywhere they look and your competitors haven’t put the work in to appear so often, they’ll start to think of you as the business to book with.
All of these business directory listings add more visibility, but they also add credibility to your business. Many of these directories, as we said, have been around almost since the internet began, and they’ve built up trust with Google and gained domain authority over the years, and you get to borrow just a little of that for your business when you list with them.
In addition, every listing that includes your NAP is a citation (a listing of your NAP on a site you don’t own), and the more accurate and consistent citations you have online, the more Google can trust that you are running a genuine business. They will then consider that as a reason to move your website up the search engine rankings. However, be careful here. When you list your business information, and particularly your NAP, you need to be consistent every time you write it. You can’t miss off the area code sometimes but include it other times, and you can’t even do something as small as use an abbreviation, such as St or Rd, if usually, you would write it out in full. If you have any inconsistencies in your NAP from site to site, that can potentially confuse both customers and Google, leading them to wonder if there is more than one business, and that’s something you don’t want.
Many of these directories also include space for customers to write reviews, and of course, they provide important social proof for any potential patients that you run an excellent practice they can trust.
4. Direct contact with your practice
As we said, each directory will provide your contact details, including your email address and physical address, but some of them, such as your GBP, also include a Click to Call button that takes potential patients straight through to you.
If you list your opening hours on these sites, you can also be searched for by voice. So many people now use Alexa, Siri, or somethingsimilar and when you are open, they will be able to find your business by searching for “optometrist + local area + open now.” It’s such an easy thing to add, and it can gain you new customers or at the very least inquiries that you can turn into customers.
How directory listings help you attract more patients
Directory listings give you more chances of being found online and, filled in properly, can make a great first impression. Here are just some of the ways using directory listings can help you attract more leads and patients to your practice.
1. Improves your online presence
People are already looking for your services online and you don’t want them to find your competitors over your business. We know it can take some time to list yourself in business directories, but it’s time well spent when your business is the one that’s everywhere potential patients look on the internet. Add your business to as many directories as you can to improve your online presence.
Next, you need to optimize your profile on each directory and ensure you’ve filled in every possible section available. This is especially important for your Google Business Profile as a fully optimized profile is the only chance you have to be listed in the Local Map Pack listings on Google. These listings stand out, and they are Google’s choice of the best optometrists in the local area, so do everything you can to get listed there for even higher visibility.
Don’t forget that any directory listing could be the one and only time someone finds you online, so it needs to create the best first impression.
2. Strengthen your reputation
Many people use directory listings as a trusted source of information. They rely on these sites to find the businesses and services they are looking for. They rely on the information they find to be correct and up to date, and even more importantly, they rely on the reviews they see on those sites.
This is why it’s so important to keep your directory listings updated regularly. And it’s also why consistently getting new reviews and replying to them is a must-do task for your list. Potential patients like to see a good star rating and many, recent good reviews for companies they are considering. They also find it helpful to read your responses to your reviews, especially any negative ones as they can see the kind of customer service they can expect in person if they book with you.
3. Increase brand awareness
If we mention a sporting goods company whose logo is a tick, we know you’ll think of Nike, and likely even see that logo in your mind. That’s how powerful good branding can be. You want to get to the point where people automatically recognize your business online by the look of your listings and the tone of your copy. But the only way to get to that point is to continually be consistent every single time you post online.
You need to use your logo, brand color palette, and brand voice every time you appear online. Every listing should look as close to your branding as you can get so that you build up brand awareness with every post.
Do this consistently and if your competitors don’t put the work in, you will gain a competitive advantage over them, especially if they don’t bother to add themselves to directory listings.
4. Grow your local visibility
Directory listings help increase your local visibility, so you become more easily found on Google. In addition to the main directory listings, don’t forget to add yourself to any local area directories. These can really help with local visibility.
When you fill in your profile on these directories, it’s important to complete every section available and to include your local keywords in each section, where possible.
Don’t forget that directories are location-based, and so much of the information they include is related to your location, such as your address and directions. These sites are the perfect places to increase your local visibility.
5. Get discovered more easily
Local keywords, branded, well-keyworded copy, an optimized profile, and a note of your opening hours are the keys to getting your business discovered – and contacted – more easily.
We talked about copy and keywords above, and here’s your reminder to add your opening hours so that you can be discovered with voice search when customers use Alexa or similar devices.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform demo
We appreciate that you do need time and effort to manage your directory listings and that’s never easy when you’re running a business. There’s always yet another task you could be doing, admin to do, bills to pay, and of course, patients to see. It can feel like you’ll never get on top of your marketing and that adding directory listings is just too much effort, even if the results would be nice to have.
But that’s where Surefire Local can help.
We offer business intelligence marketing software that can help you manage your most important marketing tasks, all without leaving your dashboard. And that includes being able to update over 80 business directories at once. You don’t have to log in and out of each one and type out your information over and over again. Just log into our easy-to-use software, make your update once, and all of those 80+ directories will be updated instantly.
Doesn’t that take a load off? Not only that, but you can also manage your social media, including scheduling posts, your email marketing, content marketing, gaining and replying to your reviews, and so much more.
Our software also comes with highly detailed reports, so you’ll always know exactly what impact your marketing is having, what your ROI is, what’s working, and what’s not.
Why not book a demo with our team and see how we can help reduce your marketing load?