Way back in ye olden days, people couldn’t search online for businesses and they had to resort to a huge paper copy of a business directory delivered to every home at least once a year. With the advent of the internet, this huge book became smaller and smaller as more businesses ignored the paper copy, went online, and signed up for online business directories. Eventually, we pretty much stopped using paper business directories at all. Nearly everyone was online and, with a few clicks of the mouse, people could find any type of business they wanted.
If you’ve been ignoring online directory listings for your pet spa, then read on, because it’s extremely important for your SEO and visibility online that you get yourself listed in any relevant directories that you can.
There are other things to consider too, such as the accuracy and consistency of your listings, what you need to include, and how you manage so many different directory listings and keep each one up to date and accurate. We’ll cover all of that and more in our tips on directory listings management for pet spas:
What are directory listings?
If you’re struggling to picture what an online directory listing is, simply visit Yelp.com, for example, and type in pet spas + your local area. You should get listings of several pet spa businesses, along with a map showing where they are and a note describing what areas they cover. Down the left-hand side, you’ll also get a list of filters so you can narrow down your search, including area, distance, category, and features.
Click on any of the listings and you’ll get more information about each business, including their website, opening hours, their address, a map, and more. In fact, the common elements of a directory listing are your NAP (name, address, phone number), your website URL, photos, videos, insurance accepted, details about your business, and services.
In essence, what you’re looking at is a database of businesses that allows companies to be searched for and potential customers to find them.
No doubt, you’ll recognize some of the names on that list as your competitors, which is just the first of many excellent reasons to make sure you’re listed there too.
If you really don’t think you need to be on any online business directories, bear in mind that Google, Bing, and the other main search engines are, in effect, business directories too, as are Google Business Profile. You can also find local directories, such as your chamber of commerce or local newspaper, and industry-specific directories.
How many do you need to be listed on? As many as you can! Most of them are free and we’re about to talk you through the benefits of getting yourself listed.
Benefits of directory listings
We’ve already talked about getting your business found and making sure you’re listed in the same places online as your competitors, but there is far more to using directory listings to market your business. Here are just some of the benefits:
1) Increased visibility
Every business wants more visibility in online search results. In fact, it’s much harder to optimize your business for SEO if you don’t use directory listings as part of your mix.
You’ll find that directory listings are most often found at the top in organic search results, sometimes even appearing above your own website. The reason for this is that most business directory sites are well-established and trusted by the search engines, and full of information the search engines know users are looking for.
If you were to choose only one business directory (although we recommend you use as many as you can,) then we’d highly recommend you claim your Google Business Profile (GBP) and fill it in as completely as you can. This is a service that Google provides for free and if they’ve taken the trouble to create it, you can guarantee it’s because they want you to use it. Your GBP listing is also highly likely to appear at the top of the search engine results, even if your own website hasn’t yet made it to the first page of the listings. Don’t turn down that kind of visibility.
People do rely on reputable business directories to look up local businesses in their area and you don’t want to miss out on that extra visibility.
Every business directory is based on location. You saw that for yourself if you tried out Yelp earlier. The results are based on the local area you input on your search, and each business listing heavily includes information about location, from your address and a map, to even giving people directions to get to you.
In addition, if you were to fully complete and optimize your Google Business Profile, you’d have a far better chance of being listed in the top three results of the Local Pack which shows right at the top of the page in Google Maps.
The more reputable directories you are listed on, the more you’ve built your online presence, and the more chances you have of being found when someone is looking for a pet spa in your local area.
Especially if you claim your Google Business Profile, it’s much easier to establish credibility and prove that you are a genuine business. When you claim your GBP, you’re proving to Google that your address and all other details are correct and that you really are an existing business. In fact, once you claim your GBP, no one else can change any information on your profile, which also protects your business. People can only suggest changes, which you can choose to accept or reject depending on the accuracy of their suggestions.
Some other directories allow you to claim your profile, while others simply give you a listing, but as long as you use reputable directories, all of them add to your visibility.
The more directories you are listed in with consistent and accurate information about your business, the more you are proving to Google and to potential customers that they can trust you as a reliable and reputable company.
4) Direct contact to your practice
Most business directories will list your phone number and your website. Some of them also list your email address. Your potential customers don’t even have to search any further. While they can go to your website if they want to, they already have your contact details right there in your listing, which is highly convenient for them and for you.
Not only that, but some directories, including Google Business Profile, let customers click a button to dial you directly or have a booking button so that people can go straight to your calendar or website and book online.
And to get all that, all you have to do is fill in your listing.
How directory listings help you attract more furry customers
We’ve gone through some of the benefits of using directory listings above but, of course, what you want is more customers. Directory listings can help you get those too.
1) Improve your online presence
People are already looking for your services online and you need to be right there, wherever they are choosing to search. Your competitors are certainly likely to be, so don’t give them the edge.
The way some directory listings work is that they gather up any information they can find online about a business and create a directory listing for you, without you having to do anything. List yourself on the main directories and you can guarantee that you’ll automatically end up on even more directories because of that.
Every entry online is a new way to be found. It’s a new place where potential customers who might not otherwise have found you can see what you offer and get in touch.
The more you have a solid, accurate presence across a variety of business directories, the more Google can see that you are providing consistent information about your business. This builds trust for Google and allows them to move you up the search engine rankings.
Another bonus of being listed in directories is that you get plenty of backlinks. A backlink is simply a link from a different site to your own. The higher the reputation of that site and the higher it is placed in the search results, the more it’s worth to you as a backlink.
2) Strengthen your reputation
Directory listings are a trusted source of information. As we said, some sites allow you to claim your listings, and to do that, you have to prove who you are and that you are a genuine business. Naturally, that adds to your reputation online, as potential customers can be sure you are who you say you are.
Additionally, many directories offer a place for customers to write reviews, and the more reviews you have across the internet, the more social proof you have, and the higher your online reputation.
3) Increase brand awareness
Every opportunity to appear in another place online is another way to increase your brand awareness. You probably know that it takes around seven touches before a potential customer makes their way from complete stranger to know, like, and trust you. So, obviously, the more places you can be found on the Internet, the better. And you also gain a competitive advantage over any of your competitors who don’t appear in the listings.
Ensure you use your logo, brand colors, design, and your brand voice in every listing, just as much as you add your keywords. This will build your brand and increase brand recognition.
4) Grow your local visibility
We pointed out above that directories are based on location and showed you how much of the information provided on these directories is location-based. Appearing on reputable and relevant directories gives you more chances to be found on the listings themselves, but also adds greatly to your local SEO efforts. Directory listings help increase your local visibility, so you become more easily found on Google in general and on local search in particular.
Don’t forget that your Google Business Profile will also help you get listed in the Local Pack at the top of Google Maps, but only if you fully complete and optimize your profile.
5) Get discovered more easily
Not only do directory listings help you get discovered more easily in general, but many of them also help your business get recommended in voice search.
Your Google Business Profile is a prime example of this. If you include your opening hours on your GBP, potential customers can find you by using voice search and saying, “pet spa near me open now.” As long as you are actually open, then you will show in the results for that search.
Seriously, take every opportunity to get listed in suitable business directories for your pet spa. The boost you’ll get to your general and local SEO results and your overall visibility can’t be overstated.
However, you’ve probably noticed that it’s likely to be a lot of work if you’re managing multiple directory listings and attempting to keep them updated every time something changes. Not only that, but the more listings you have, the more chance for inaccuracies to creep in, particularly with different variations of your Nap (Name, Address, Phone number). This isn’t something you want as Google will notice any discrepancies and may lower your ranking if your NAP, in particular, isn’t fully consistent across every listing.
So, short of spending hours checking and updating your listings, or paying someone else a big chunk of your marketing budget to do it for you, what can you do?
Well, Surefire Local’s all-in-one marketing platform can update over 80 major business directories for you at once, including your Google Business Profile. That’s most definitely a time saver. You can also manage and request reviews, and reply to them right in your platform dashboard, rather than having to sign in and out of multiple business directories to take care of it.
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