Navigating Local SEO Directories

Search Engine Optimization

In order to get the SEO results you’ve always dreamed of, it is absofruitly positutely crucial that you maintain NAP consistency. Now while I like to call myself a Professional Napper, and I definitely am a proponent of a good ol’ midday doze, I’m talking about a different kind of NAP. 

In the digital marketing world, NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone and it makes sure that all of your contact information is correct across the great wide web. These are posted to online business directories that become the arbiter of business information whether you like it or not. So you can see why it’s important to make sure that your online data is accurate and consistent across all directories. 

Update Your Info

Directories distribute whatever information they can find on your business no matter how accurate it is (or isn’t). So if you move or change your phone number or just haven’t even checked it ever, they could have incorrect information about you. 

It needs to be an exact match. For example, we used to be called In2itive Search, but since we changed our name years ago, we’ve had to make sure that all directories list us as Intuitive Digital now. For other organizations, this can mean adding or subtracting suffixes to your name—to LLC or not to LLC, that is the question.

Keep Your Friends Close, but Keep Your Directories Closer

NAP consistency is still used as a local ranking factor despite many SEOs recently placing less importance on citations and directories. That being said, if your business info is a hot mess across the internet, local citations become more important until you fix the mistakes and inconsistencies on those high priority directories. 

If your phone number or the suite number in your address is incorrect, you could be missing out on business because of a silly clerical error. Let’s be real, even as a business owner you know how frustrating it is to find outdated information on Yelp and drive to the location only to find out that it has closed or moved locations. Misinformation damages credibility, and inconsistency confuses the bots.

What’s in it for Me?

Business directories serve important roles in digital marketing beyond just distributing your correct information. They provide a platform for your customers to review your business so you can be seen as a credible authority in your industry—the Dang Darned Real McCoy if you will. 

Directories can also throw you into lists like “Top Ten Pancake Places in Portland” and “Restaurants Open Past 10 pm” (that last one is a real problem, guys). This also gives incentives for other directories and businesses to link back to your website, which will only increase your credibility. And before you know it, your Domain Authority is gonna be STACKED.

Updating Your NAP is Easy

If high priority directories have all correct, consistent, and pertinent information, we move onto updating other directories. It’s a painstakingly long and slow process to update local citations on directory sites, which is why we use a tool called Moz Local to do it for us. Moz Local pushes your information to data aggregators like Infogroup, Neustar Localeze, and Factual that then pass it along to lower-level directory sites.

Data Aggregator, the Digital Crocodilian

Think of data aggregators as kind of like a low stakes Halliburton. There are thousands of directory sites but only a handful of data aggregators will push information to them. They’re basically all secretly owned by each other and it’s nearly impossible to talk to a human about any lower-level directory listing.

Internet Babysitters for the Busy Business

If data aggregators don’t have something like Moz Local or Yext to babysit them, they’ll scrape up random NAP information tied to your business and distribute it across lower-level directories. It’s like a toddler in a walker. You know they’re just gonna run around your house and move things so make sure that the only things accessible are safe for them to grab.

Check your NAP Right Now. Do it.

BrightLocal and Moz Local are great tools to monitor the accuracy of your high priority listings. If the majority of your citations are updated and correct, those act as positive reinforcements to tell Google that you are who you say you are. The high priority, ideal directories that you definitely, absolutely, need to check are things like:

  • Google My Business
  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Bing Places
  • Apple Maps
  • LinkedIn

Depending on your industry, there are also some important directory listings that pertain to your specific business. Specific directories for your industry are great to check and claim a profile on so you can get reviews and build credibility. Some of these directories are:

  • Avvo (lawyers)
  • (lawyers)
  • Houzz (remodelers and contractors)
  • HomeAdvisor (home services)
  • Angie’s List (home services)
  • TripAdvisor (tourism and travel)
  • Thumbtack (local professionals)

Check out the full list here!

Don’t Forget About Second Tier Directories

The second tier features a list of notable free directories that work more like old school phone books. Nonetheless, they’re still important enough to keep a careful eye on:

  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  • Foursquare
  • MapQuest
  • Yahoo! Local
  • CitySearch
  • YellowPages
  • MerchantCircle
  • SuperPages
  • WhitePages
  • YellowBook
  • Local
  • InsiderPages
  • DexKnows
  • JustDial
  • YellowBot
  • SaleSpider
  • Best of the Web (BOTW)
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • HotFrog
  • 2 Find Local
  • LocalStack
  • Brownbook
  • ShowMeLocal
  • Cylex USA
  • Localeze
  • CitySquares
  • InfoUSA
  • YaSabe

Pay to Play Options

While there are many free business listings, some business directories ask you to pay a fee to list your business—some are legit, some are a total scam. There are some super spammy citation sites out there, so don’t go submitting your business info to everyone and their mother. 

If the directory reaching out to you is notable within your industry, you should definitely consider it; the valuable referral traffic you could get might be worth more than the listing fee you initially paid. Whatever your decision is on the directory, we recommend monitoring the traffic and type of leads you get from their site to determine whether it is worthwhile to continue listing your business there.

What Still Confused?

If all this NAP stuff is just too much for your plate right now, we understand! It’s a lot of work to go around the internet and correct incorrect information about your business. That’s where we come in! At Intuitive Digital, we have a team of SEO badasses who do this kind of stuff for a living. We know all the tips and tricks with local citations services and ethereal yellow pages. Call us up and learn more about how we can increase your google rankings and domain authority by updating your information online.

About the Author

Nick Footer

Nick Footer is an entrepreneur and founder of Intuitive Digital, a national award-winning digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses improve their online presence through search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website design.

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