rank-on-local-directoriesGoogle is important, but don’t forget all the other local directories out there, with the potential of sending you traffic as well. They do a pretty good job of sending relevant traffic with their own algorithms- and many use “signals” some of which Google claims not to even bother with. Let’s take a look.

“Local Directory”, Defined

Sites which accumulate business data and return results on local searches are considered local directories. They’re really search engines, but they display results according to an algorithm which produces ranked results, similar to how a sites like Google or Bing would do.


Here are few of the most well-known among them:

  • Yelp
  • Yell
  • Top Pages
  • Yellow Leaf
  • Free Index
  • Scoot

There are basically four areas which sites like these look at when running their search algorithm, or which somehow affect your rankings even it’s not the alogithm. These are:

  1. Relatedness
  2. Consumer Response
  3. Geography
  4. Ad-Worthiness


It may sound painfully obvious, but if your basic business information doesn’t match a search, it won’t come up for that search.

Logically, if your business info isn’t complete or isn’t even correct, you won’t be ranking very well for your local searches!

  • Make sure you’ve categorized your business correctly in your listings.
  • Make sure your business name is spelled correctly.
  • List everything you do or offer- be specific (e.g. instead of simply saying you’re a “handyman“, mention that you do carpentry, plumbing, building services, etc.)
  • Write a nice full description of your business with the keywords for your business in that description. While it’s not good to “keyword stuff”, some of these local search engines still use keywords in their algorithms.
  • If you’re part of a group of businesses, a franchise or what have you, make sure that’s clear. List your own phone number, address etc. Show your association but also show that you’re a separate location. It will help the search engines sort things out.

Consumer Response to Your Website

You may not be able to “manage” this, since it’s consumer driven, but you can do a lot to make sure visitor response to your site is positive:

  • Web design that reduces bounce rate.
  • Seek ways to get good reviews.
  • Some of the social media sites allow local search engines access to your data, which means Social Signals (“likes”, “check-ins”, followers, etc) matter.
  • Things visitors contribute to your listing on a directory: comments, questions, mostly. Some allow you to post articles on your listing. All this helps


Your proximity to the searcher is of course very important in local searches. Some business categories, however, are marked as having wider service areas- yours may be one of them. In that case, proximity is less important.

Mobile searches show a very tight radius of results, since it’s assumed the searcher needs something near their exact location. This means you have less of a chance of appearing in their searches, so find other ways to compensate (e.g. more reviews) so you might appear.


It’s important to understand how ads on a directory work, so you don’t waste your advertising budget.

  • Generally, the more you spend, the more often you appear, and the more info about your business shows up, too.
  • Coupons help.
  • Buy an ad, rank higher in the organic results!
  • Before you buy an ad, make sure the local search engine has a good keyword-mapping system or you’ll waste money paying for ads to appear on irrelevant searches.
  • Again, make sure you claim your listings and fill them out.



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