This morning, Site Reference enewsletter appeared in my inbox, with a nice little article about “SEO that’s not really SEO“, which focuses on business directories and how to take advantage of those listings. I like this article, it points out something I’ve been doing for a while now, but it doesn’t finish the picture.
I believe that in addition to getting the #1 listing on Google searches for a target keyword phrase, the secondary goal of an SEO consultant should be to dominate the Google top 10 listings.
If you do a search for a vague business term, such as “barber shop in suburbia” you will notice how many times the same barber shop’s name appears in the search results. If not consciously, your subconscious is drawn to repetition and we tend to believe that this repetition increases the relevance of that particular listing.
Business directories like Google Places, Bing Listings or YP.com are just the tip of the iceberg of well-ranked pages that can include your name. And the best part? This isn’t spam, it’s not even gray hat it is so honest, and it’s a valid way to dominate listings.
Here are my favorite places to keyword optimize a local business name to have it dominate the search results:
- Search Engine Maps – Google Places, Bing Listings – these often aggregate reviews, so pay special attention to #3
- Business Directories – BBB, Chamber of Commerce – simple directories with name, address, website & nothing additional in the profile. Be sure to select well-traveled, well-thought-of sites for this, and don’t pepper link farms with your URL.
- Ratings & Reviews Sites – Yelp, Kudzu, Superpages, etc. – there are dozens of these sites out there, some specific to industry. These will need monitoring and attention, responsiveness to reviews, etc. But they are worth it.
- Social Media Sites – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn – a social media plan should be in the back pocket of any good SEO, and not just for back links (which are only so-so anyway). These sites rank well, you can name your own URL in many cases, and it’s another easy entry in the top 10 that leads back to the business!
- Partner Sites – If you advertise enough on a given partner website, or if you donate enough money to charity, sometimes they don’t want to pass you link-love from their website as an inbound link. A second choice would be a landing page on their site with your business name in the title tags, with details about your partnership.