For those of you who may not know, FS Local is more than just a small business blog. We are also an online directory website that’s dedicated to showcasing local businesses across Canada… and beyond. And in this blog post, I will be going over the top 3 reasons why small business owners should build a listing for their company to the FS Local business directory.
Reason #1: Thanks to recent Google local changes, your business website is now buried under directory listings in search results.
If you’re reading this post, then chances are you are a small business owner. And if so, you probably belong in one of the two following groups:
- You have hired a link building company dedicated to building citation sources for your business.
- You are learning the ropes yourself, and personally submitting your company to as many online directories and review sites as you can find.
If either of the above accurately describes who you are, then you already know that building a web presence on local directory websites is a key component to any successful small business online marketing strategy.
Not sure what location citations are, or why you need them? Don’t worry! I recommend checking out this blog post on the importance of citation building for local search to catch up.
Well I’m here to tell you why building citations and adding your business to local directories is more important than ever. That’s because – surprise, surprise! – Google has once again changed the way they output their Google local search results (although this really shouldn’t be too surprising I guess if you had the chance to read my blog post on the never ending rollercoaster of changes to Google’s local search products).
So far reports indicate that on August 6, 2015, Google launched a new algorithm update affecting all search results pages tied to queries with local intent. Instead of the usual “7-pack” that we’re accustomed to, Google has now reduced it to a “3-pack” (or the “Snak Pak” as some local SEO industry experts have been dubbing it, including Mike Blumenthal).
What does this mean for you as a local business owner? Let’s start with the most obvious. By dropping the number of businesses in the local pack from 7 to 3, that means an unlucky 4 of those 7 businesses can no longer count on the local pack as their guaranteed ticket to page 1 status in Google local search results.
Let’s take a moment now to break down the different elements that typically make up the first page of Google local search results. Although results may vary quite a bit depending on the keyword query (i.e. you might not see the same results if your searches involve more populated regions or more competitive industries, etc.), page 1 will generally consist of:
- Paid ads
- Local 3-pack
- Organic search results
So if your business website has been shut out of appearing in the newly reduced Google local pack, you will be forced to either buy PPC ads, or rely on organic search as your only option for local search visibility.
But here’s the catch. When Google launched their “Pigeon” local algorithm, they effectively made it impossible for individual business websites to rank anywhere close to the top of local search results. Instead, they paved the way so that business listings from online directories, Internet yellow pages and review sites are consistently outranking everything else.
When combined, are these changes providing a good user experience for local searchers? Probably not. But the fact is, unless you are willing to spend money on AdWords, the only option you have to achieving prominent local search visibility is by adding your business to directory websites like FS Local.
Reason #2: Now is the time to position yourself online as an industry specialist.
Phil Rozek is another renowned local SEO industry expert. According to this recent blog post that was published last week, he believes the only way businesses will be able to successfully acquire prominent search visibility is by repositioning themselves online as local specialists.
Consider these scenarios originally proposed by Rozek, now that Google has changed their 7-pack into a 3-pack:
- Scenario #1 – An auto shop that used to rank well for both “auto repair” and “transmission repair” will likely have to change their focus and concentrate on trying to rank for just one of those keywords, because trying to rank for as many terms as possible is no longer attainable.
- Scenario #2 – A dentist striving for visibility in local search will now have to fall back on more long-tail queries such as “emergency dentist” or “pediatric dentist” instead of the more competitive and unattainable keyword of “dentist.”
So how does this tie into FS Local? Well, if it’s true that the path to success for local business owners is to become industry specialists, then building a listing on FS Local is in line with achieving that goal. That’s because we strongly believe the key to online marketing success for a small business owner is to establish yourself as an “Expert” within your area of expertise. Heck, we even created an entire Experts program based on that concept! And this is the driving force behind why FS Local is an online directory website that’s powered by over 1000 niche business categories.
For example, let’s pretend you are the owner of that automotive shop described above in scenario #1, and you offer both auto repair and transmission repair services. By adding your company to our web directory, you have the option of assigning your business to up to 3 subcategories (or up to 5 if you upgrade to our Platinum package), including:
- Automotive > Auto Repair Shops
- Automotive > Transmission Shops
How does this benefit your business? Well, for one thing, you just successfully created a location citation for your business on an online directory website. Congratulations! But in addition, you are also sending positive signals to Google and other search engines that you are more than just an automotive business. You also offer auto repair services, but more importantly, you are a specialist in transmission repair.
Great news! I’m happy to announce that just this week, we have decided to officially open up the categorization process so that you, the business owner, will now have full control over what local industries you want to establish a presence in within the FS Local community… and ultimately within Google local search results.
Already an existing member of FS Local? Simply log in to your account, and click to edit your listing once you have signed in to the dashboard. You will be able to choose your niche business categories in step 1.
Not yet a member? Sign up for free today.
Want a guaranteed top placement position within your chosen niche category? Claim your category by upgrading to the FS Local Platinum package!
Reason #3: Build a socially powered online presence, and not just a business listing.
Although FS Local is an online business directory, it is unlike the traditional directories or Internet yellow pages you’re accustomed to finding on the World Wide Web. That is because all of our local business listings (even the free ones!) are supercharged with unique features that aren’t typically offered on sites like YellowPages.ca or 411.ca.
For example, when you’re building a listing for your small business on FS Local, you have the ability to synchronize your company’s social media profiles. That means you have the option of enabling your Instagram account to dynamically populate your listing’s image gallery with eye-catching pictures that visually showcase your business. It also means you will be able to automatically update your listing to keep your customers “in-the-know” with the latest news about your company – all accomplished with no maintenance effort required. You simply have to go through an initial step of logging in and connecting your Twitter and/or Facebook business accounts. Just a few clicks, and presto! You now have a socially powered online presence for your local business that’s continuously updated, constantly fresh, and effortless to maintain.
Get started today and join the FS Local community by visiting our site at http://www.fslocal.com.