As part of a comprehensive local marketing plan, creating at least basic listings in free local online directories is a must-do, even though it will eat up some of your valuable time. Free business listing sites increase your company’s online exposure and help improve your local search ranking results in major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Depending on your business, some may be more relevant than others, but you should at least work your way through the top ten, as a minimum.
1. Google – This is the site where you can add your business listing to Google+ Local. Business owners can claim or add business listings, add photos and coupons, respond to customer reviews, and see statistics and analytics. As Google receives nearly 6 billion searches daily, this should be at the top of your list.
2. Yelp – Yelp is arguably the Internet’s most popular review site, offering consumers a chance to post longer, more in-depth reviews than many other sites. Business owners can claim or add their listings, and upload photos, coupons, and more. Yelp also powers certain content on other directories in this list. Because it’s so popular as a review site, it’s important that business owners respond to reviews, both positive and negative. A five-star rating on Yelp is a golden ticket.
3. Facebook – America’s favorite social media site, Facebook is used by over a billion people to connect with friends and family. It’s important to have a business listing on Facebook so that users can refer others directly to your site. More than half of Facebook users visit every day, and the mobile app is on three out of every four smartphones.
4. Bing – The Bing Business Portal allows business owners to manage local listings on Bing. Upload your logo, photos, deals, menus, and any other important information. As the second most visited search engine on the internet, it’s important for your business to be present correctly.
5. Yahoo Local – Yahoo! Local provides listings and reviews of local businesses. Business owners can claim or add their professional listing to ensure they get found on the Internet’s third most popular search engine, with millions of searches conducted daily.
6. Yellow Pages – Now found at YP.com, Yellow Pages is the online answer to what used to be America’s standard for looking up businesses. Business owners can claim or add listings and add any important information. While not as relevant with the younger generations, Baby Boomers and older still have strong ties to yellow pages.
7. MapQuest – A popular web mapping service, MapQuest helps bring local customers right to your doorstep. Claim or list your business listing at the MapQuest local business center, add photos, parking directions, and even relocate your map marker if it’s inaccurate.
8. Superpages – Powered by Dex Media, Superpages is an online business directory offering local business listings, reviews, and advertising solutions. Business owners can claim or add listings and include important information, offer deals, and respond to customer reviews.
9. Foursquare – Another popular social media site, Foursquare helps users keep track of where friends “check-in” and find nearby businesses. Business owners can claim or create listings and receive real-time data around customer activity, and even offer coupons to customers who check in. Foursquare also feeds their information into other websites and mobile apps.
10. MerchantCircle – Designed exclusively around small businesses, MerchantCircle is an online local business directory offering free marketing tools along with free listings. Business owners can claim or add their listings, add coupons and/or newsletters, respond to reviews, and more.
11. LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a great site to create a public company page for your business, linking your employees’ LinkedIn profiles to your business whenever they list you as their employer. Primarily used as a professional networking site, it’s a great place to display information about your business enterprise.
12. Citysearch – An excellent network for restaurants, bars, hotels, and spas, among others, Citysearch is a city-based online guide to business and entertainment. Business owners can claim or add listings, include important information, and add special offers. Citysearch offers city guides for the most popular cities in the United States, so you’ll want to be sure you’re included.
13. White Pages – The online equivalent of the white pages found in a traditional phone book, White Pages is a quick and easy listing service, and makes your business contact information available to over 200 million people.
14. Yellowbook – A subsidiary of Hibu Business, Yellowbook.com allows business owners to create an easily searchable listing, including business information, a link to the business website, product descriptions, and more.
15. Manta – With over 30 million visitors per month, Manta offers business listings for companies worldwide. Local business owners can claim or add listings, upload company logo, photos, and important information. Inc. rates Manta as one of the fastest growing business sites on the Internet.
16. The Business Journal – Originally created to offer business news and advice, The Business Journal has recently created a local business directory for most major U.S. cities. With four levels of listing options – free, bronze, silver, and gold – local business owners can claim their free listing, or choose to pay to receive even more targeted traffic to their website.
17. Angie’s List – With two million paying members who read and post reviews, Angie’s List is one of the most well respected online directories for services. Business owners can claim or add a listing for free as long as it falls within a specified category, centered around home improvement, auto, health, pets, or various miscellaneous services. Business owners seeking to establish a strong online reputation through positive reviews should use Angie’s List.
18. DexKnows – Another popular online directory, DexKnows provides business owners an opportunity to engage with customers and track their online reputation through their business listing.
19. Yellowbot – Similar to Yellow Pages, YellowBot provides basic contact and location information about local businesses, and permits customers to post reviews.
20. Kudzu – Geared towards homeowners interested in renovating, Kudzu offers reviews, advice, and deals for local businesses. For businesses providing home improvement services, Kudzu is a must.
21. Hotfrog – With around 1.5 million visitors per month, Hotfrog is a business search engine designed to help businesses improve their Google search results. Business owners can claim or add a listing, upload photos, and create deals, as well as use reporting tools to see which keywords are driving traffic.
22. Magic Yellow – Similar to Yellow Pages and YellowBot, Magic Yellow is a business directory offering local business listings and reviews. Business owners can claim or add a business listing and include any important information.
23. Express Update – Express Update allows business owners to add a public profile page to help their business get found. They also provide a variety of resources to help businesses ensure that their listing gets distributed throughout the web.
24. City Slick – A local business network designed to help local businesses get more customers, CitySlick.net offers both paid and free local advertising opportunities along with business listings. Business listings are search engine friendly and provide a unique way to advertise locally.