One of the most frequently asked questions we get at South Made is how local businesses can increase their visibility in search engines. There are a ton of business directories so it is hard to know which are important to spend time, money and energy on. And, if you’re a business owner we know you are likely getting bombarded with calls from Google, Yelp and the like all soliciting your business and, money.
In today’s digital marketing world it is becoming more and more of a pay to play market. But, we urge businesses to be careful. Paying for exposure can be a slippery slope and not all directories are created equal. Nor do they all yield results. In fact, spending money on some digital marketing platforms can have a negative impact because once these directories realize you’re willing to pay for your spot they will constantly try harder to sell you more and more.
We often talk to our clients about if the juice is worth the squeeze… Put your time, money and energy into the platforms that will help your business most.
FREE (ish) Business Listings:
- Apple Maps
- Google My Business
- Linked In
The Top 4 Directories For Small Business Marketing:
Facebook has a Domain Authority of 100 which means they have hella power. Basically they come up first in search. Your business must have a presence on this platform. Make sure your info is up to date and you are posting relevant engaging content. Further, a lot of people will check your reviews here and are likely to message you via Facebook Messenger before they pick up the phone to call.
2. Google My Business
Google (of course) has a Domain Authority of 100. Google rewards businesses who have claimed their business listing. Having a Google My Business Page (GMB) increases your chances of showing up in search, on Google Maps and Local Finder. This is how most people will find you. Be sure your information is current and you have recent posts that show your page is active.
3. Linked In
Probably our least favorite platform for social media, but it is very important to have a business listing. The Domain Authority is 98, so still incredibly powerful. Plus this is a great platform for Business to Business marketing (B2B).
Although we don’t personally use this search engine it is a widely used tool, so someone is. With a Domain Authority of 94 it’s important to come up in search on this engine as well.
Some of the other directories worth mentioning but that didn’t make our top 4 are:
5. Yelp (Domain Authority of 94)
6. Better Business Bureau
7. Yellow Pages
Pay To Play: What Do I Do?
Now that your business is listed with these you need to consider if spending money on views makes sense for your business.
Although Facebook ads can be impactful, they can also be expensive. We do not recommend the continued use of running Sponsored Ads and say you should almost never Boost a post. Don’t be guilted, fooled or tempted to click that little blue BOOST button. It almost never has a worthwhile ROI.
Pay Per Click is an intricate dance that can have costly repercussions. We recommend using a qualified marketing company to help you with any Pay Per Click campaigns as there is extensive research that goes in to decided which key words to target. Further sometimes these “empty clicks” don’t generate any actual conversions so Pay Per Click is something you need to monitor closely. Hire is digital marketing firm to help guide you.
Our answer is a hard no on this one. Sorry Yelp, we still like you just don’t take our money. You are better off spending your hard earned marketing dollars on the other two platforms.
Need helping running ads on social media? Having a social media manager is a great way to maximize impact and budget. We spend so much time on social that we have learned all the tricks to increase how many impressions, clicks and views you can get.