With the exponential uptick in “near-me” searches that shows no signs of slowing down, getting your name into free local business directories may be the best way to easily (and affordably!) promote your business. Here are 25 free local business directories for businesses and clinics of all sizes.
What is a local business directory?
A local business directory lists vital information about your business including hours, location, and contact information, along with pictures and other relevant information (e.g., reviews or other links). They can be as hyperlocal as a free local directory of Jewish businesses in Baltimore or as global as Google Business (the largest and most powerful business directory).
These listings pop up as organic search results on search engines. Google’s business listings pop up on a map or at the top of search results.
What are the benefits of signing up for local business directories?
Local business directories are one of the best tools for converting the curious into customers. But that’s not all. Other benefits to using local business directories include:
- Building backlinks: Google checks the number and quality of sites that link to yours (backlinks), and uses that to rank your site on their search engine. More and higher quality backlinks can equal a higher rank in organic search results.
- Increase in traffic to your site: The top three local listings receive 60% of all traffic, with number one pulling in half of that traffic. Local business directories, done well, can boost the number of visitors to your site.
- Visibility for your industry: If your business provides a rare but important service, a free local listing can help people find you when advertising just isn’t in the budget.
The best free local business directories
Before you get started, make sure your business has a business name or a DBA (“doing business as”) classification. You also need a dedicated business address and a phone number that matches your location (get a free one on Google Voice). Starting with a few directories is a good option. You need not list your business on every directory to see good results – just the few that are best for you.
A free local business directory is only as helpful as its online reputation, too. Here are 25 of our favorites with a great reputation and widespread reach.
There are more than six billion searches a day on Google. Update your listing and keep it current (and don’t forget to do it for multiple locations). If you choose no other directory to completely fill out, make it Google.
Moz‘s local directory can help you whether you have one location or 100+ franchises.
Yelp is one of the more controversial free local business directories, but with 178 million monthly users, don’t pass it by. This is especially true for restaurants and service-based businesses, like hair stylists and fitness studios.
4. Angie’s List
Angie’s List helps you focus in on your customer base by setting you up in a specific category for your local business (e.g., lawyers, plumbing, etc.).
Foursquare allows you to add status updates to your listing (a plus in this social media-hungry climate!).
7. Yahoo! Local
Yahoo! Local is free for a basic listing, but if you pay $30 a month, they will add you to 40 more directories.
City-Data combines free local business directories with discussion forums on a variety of local topics (including recommendations for businesses).
Mapquest’s free business listings offer you the opportunity to first search for your business on several different sites.
10. Better Business Bureau
Your business listing on the BBB online business directory website shows your score and positive reviews (negative ones, too).
11. American Towns
Non-profits and community groups get a free listing on American Towns.
12. Local Guides
Local Guides offers free (and paid) listings for a variety of services and businesses.
You cannot ignore Facebook’s free local business directories with their domain authority score of 100 (a perfect score, natch).
Bing may not be as big as Google, but they are still plenty big enough (and important enough) for a local listing.
15. Express Update
Less a business directory and more a watchdog, Express Update sends your corrected business information to search engines, libraries, and in-car navigation systems – for free.
16. Local Stack
Local Stack combines social media with customer recommendations to rank your business (but you have to be on there to participate).
HubSpot is a B2B directory that puts your agency in front of other businesses looking to hire.
Another free online directory focused on small businesses and divided into easy-to-navigate categories.
Thumbtack is good for one-on-one services that might include everything from personal training to local plumbers.
Yellowbook is divided by state and then by major city, so it’s best for businesses in a major metropolitan area.
Just like the spokes of a wheel, Spoke is a directory that connects nearly one and a half million businesses with five million customers.
Veering slightly off course here, Blogorama allows you to list your blog in a directory for easy access. This can include blogs for your business.
23. Chamber of Commerce
Your town’s chamber of commerce is an organization that focuses on building and supporting local business in your town. Look to see if your town has a directory, but Chamber of Commerce also does the same thing online.
This online business directory is great for sole proprietors or small businesses.
Merchant Circle had 100 million visitors to its site last year. In addition to business listings, they also offer coupons and deals to consumers.
How to find more local business directories
The free business directories above are global, but what if you’re looking for more focused and local options? Try the following:
- Make sure the settings on your search engine are accurate for your location, and then search for “top local directories”
- Search using your location plus one of the following words or phrases: directory, add your site, add your business, or recommended links
Even if you really want to focus on staying small and serving your community with hyperlocal directories, it’s still a good idea to list your business on a few of the larger directories.
While getting listed on a free local business directories may be good for your bottom line, at Boost, we know you don’t have all day to pick which one is best for you. Local business listings are just one of the SEO strategies we use at Boost.
Get in touch today to see how we can help your business grow.