As a local church, attracting new visitors can be a major challenge. One way small or new churches can get found is through inclusion in online local directories. Claiming any listing of your church online verifies that you are the owner of it and authorized to maintain its presence on the web. Not all online searches are performed on search engines, and directory listings can expand your churches reach. Local directories provide an avenue for church promotion that is commonly overlooked when growing a new or small church.
Local listing provides Citations which are defined as mentions of your church or business name and address on other webpages—even if there is no link to your website. Citations are very Important in the Local SEO strategy which helps churches to rank higher in search engine results for your area. Major search engines like Google and Bing crawl the web for citations that will validate or correct the information in their own indexes. Getting listed on sites like Yelp, Manta, Hotfrog, and others which all have church categories. These listing sites will reinforce search engines' confidence in the accuracy of your churches name, location, and website.
Providing accurate and up-to-date information is essential when submitting to these directories. The most common reason local citations contain errors is, most people do not know they exist. Every local directory that you submit to is another chance to get found online, so it's important to make sure the information listed correct.
If you are having trouble creating or updating your listings, try contacting a trusted professional to help you.
In order to qualify for a local listing in any index, your church must meet all four of the following criteria:
- Have a business name or DBA
- Have a local phone number that matches your city of location (not a shared phone number, toll-free number, or call tracking number)
- Have a dedicated physical street address (not a shared address, PO box, or virtual office)
- Make face-to-face contact (business is not conducted virtually)
If you meet all four of the above criteria, you are ready to move forward to start submitting to these Top 11 Local Listings.
Google’s Google My Business is a free tool for businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing business directory listing information, you can help customers find a business through their local search.
Cost to List on Google’s Business Directory
It is free for the business listing directory portion (unless you want to show up in ads).
Why Businesses Should Be Listed On Google My Business
Businesses need to be listed on Google because it is a large online local directory, a large volume of users go through the site (175 million in a month in the US alone!), it can improve search engine page ranking, businesses can show up in local search with key terms, a business can be easily found on Google Maps, and it’s a cost effective form of local marketing. Hard to say that in one breath! Really, though, who needs to be convinced that they need to be listed on Google?
Google’s Business Listing Reach
Google’s search engine performs over 3.5 billion searches per day. Within the last month, Google had 32.30 billion total unique visits globally. The search engine has become a verb–the prevalence is obvious.
Bing is a web search engine owned by Microsoft. Bing Places for Business is a Bing portal where local business owners can add a listing for their business on the Bing network.
Average Fee to Get Listed on Bing’s Local Business Directory
You can add or claim a Bing Places for Business listing for free. There are options to upgrade a business listing from the free version for local businesses, chain businesses and service businesses that offer services at customer locations (ex. contractors).
The Importance of Bing’s Local Business Directory
For businesses with a target market is the US, Bing may be a good alternative—76.1 million visitors a month is a large volume of searches. Businesses may have a better chance of standing out by putting their listing on Bing, since less people are advertising here than Google.
Bing’s Network Span
Within the last month, Bing had 1.1 billion total unique visits globally.
Yelp is a platform where users can publish reviews about local businesses. Yelp also trains small businesses how to respond to reviews, host social events for Yelpers (a.k.a. Yelp reviewers) and provides data about businesses.
Yelp’s Business Directory Listing Pricing
Businesses can claim their listing on Yelp’s directory for free. Yelp offers free tools for businesses to manage their business listing, including the ability to respond to reviews, upload photos and create a special offer. You can also buy ads on Yelp or purchase a service from Yelp to help manage a Yelp account.
Reasons to Get Your Business Listed On Yelp’s Local Business Directory
Contrary to popular belief, Yelp isn’t just for restaurant reviews. With 36.3 million unique visitors, the Yelp site sees a large volume of local customers. Since a business can list themselves on Yelp’s local business directory for free, it is a good idea to get a business listing up on the site and let people leave reviews. Of course, once businesses do this, it is essential that they manage their Yelp reviews appropriately. Businesses can manage reviews on the site themselves, or use a software and/or service to help manage feedback. Again, look for software or services that meet the needs and budget of the business.
The Network Reach of Yelp’s Local Business Directory
Within the last month, Yelp had 172.7 million total unique visits globally.
Manta is an online business directory and search engine that provides small businesses with the information to network. The directory helps small businesses connect and grow through their community where users can buy from, partner with and connect to companies.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Manta Local Business Listing?
Small businesses can create a free profile and list their business on the site’s local business directory at no charge. The free business listing includes company name, address, website and phone number.
Reasons to Get Your Business Listed On Manta’s Online Business Directory
Manta’s online business directory generates a lot of volume, which is hard to beat, especially when you can create a basic business listing for free. For small businesses looking to network, Manta could be an added bonus. The common theme amongst the better known and ranked online business directories is that listing a company on them can improve local visibility and gives customers another way to find businesses via local search.
A Manta Local Business Listing’s Potential Reach
Within the last month, Manta had 13.7 million total unique visits globally.
Founded in 1967 as Cartographic Services, MapQuest has a history that shifts from traditional to digital media. The company was acquired by AOL in 1999 and then Verizon in 2015. It is a mapping site where users can get directions for their routes or search for hotels, food, gas, coffee, grocers, parking, bars, post offices, and more.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a MapQuest Business Listing?
MapQuest formally shot down their basic local directory listings product in 2014 and went into a partnership with a third-party data provider, though it is free to claim the listing linked from MapQuest.
Why Businesses Should Get Listed on MapQuest’s Business Directory
Although MapQuest went from having nearly all of the online mapping market to sharing that with dozens of competitors (Google Maps being the obvious Goliath), they are still a highly referenced and relevant site. AOL purchased MapQuest for over a billion dollars in 1999, and in 2015, Verizon purchased the company for nearly four times that amount, making it anything but obsolete and a worthy directory to consider listing your business on for local search.
The Network Size of MapQuest’s Business Directory
Within the last month, MapQuest had 35.6 million total unique visits globally.
Hotfrog is a local listings site for local listings that are all over the globe. Categorized by topical or regional significance, Hotfrog lists over two million businesses online. Hotfrog is unique from other directories as it allows for free promotional content, such as business press releases that allow for brand exposure.
How Much Do Local Business Listings on Hotfrog Cost?
It’s absolutely free to add your business listing. However, there are features to the site that come with a cost, such as getting an advanced listing through the Hotfrog AdVantage. This feature allows for premium positions in the listings feed search results but comes at a fixed fee.
What is the Size of Hotfrog’s User Base?
Within the last month, Hotfrog had 459,500 total unique visits globally which is approximately 76,500 visits a month.
YellowPages is an online business directory owned by YP. YP is a local marketing solutions provider that focuses on helping local businesses grow. YP launched in May 2012 and was the result of bringing AT&T Interactive and AT&T Advertising Solutions together. YP’s offerings include their YP℠ app, yp.com, and The Real Yellow Pages® directory.
YellowPages’s Business Directory Listing Pricing
A business listing on YellowPages’s online business directory can be added or claimed for free. A basic information business listing includes company name, street address, city, state, zip code, email, website and more. YellowPages also offers a free coupon tool for those with free listings.
Why Businesses Should Get a YellowPages Business Listing
Did we mention how much we like free? Since it is free, it wouldn’t hurt to ensure a business’s local listing information is up to date and claim the free basic business listing on their online business directory. YellowPages attracts a high volume of US local search users in to make it worth the time it takes to get a free account. Depending on what you get for an enhanced listing, you may want to scope out the prices if it is an online business directory that a lot of local search customers in the area area using.
The YellowPages Local Business Directory Reach
Within the last month, YellowPages had 28.5 million total unique visits globally.
Local is a local business listings site where users can find the best local services, products, activities and events. The site contains more than 16 million business listings across every zip code across the United States (local.com).
The Price of a Local Business Listing
You can create a business listing on Local’s directory for free. A free listing will show the business name, address, city, state, zip, phone number and website on their site.
Reasons to Get Your Business Listed On Local’s Online Business Directory
Local is ranked high and is a quality online business directory, therefore adding a business listing on this local directory creates a strong link back. This link back from the site increases a company’s site’s authority and ranking, and adds a positive value to the business’s online presence for search engines. If a lot of people in your local area know the site, a paid listing may be worth it for some businesses. Businesses can even ask a few customers which directories they use to search for local businesses to garner some insight as to how valuable a listing on Local’s online business directory might be.
A Local Business Listing’s Potential Visibility
Within the last month, Local had 3.5 million total unique visits globally.
MerchantCircle is a service that helps small businesses network with other local businesses and reach local customers through free marketing tools and social media features (MerchantCircle).
MerchantCircle’s Online Business Listing Fees
MerchantCircle has a great short video that shows businesses how to edit their business information. MerchantCircle sources their listing data from third-party data providers. Business owners can search for their local business listing. If it is on the site, they can claim their business information and update their data to take ownership of their online presence on MerchantCircle’s online business directory. If the business isn’t listed, users can become members by creating a new listing page for free. If you want to advertise on the site or increase your exposure, you can look at paid options with MerchantCircle.
MerchantCircle’s Prominence as One of the Top Local Business Directories
You can create a local business listing on MerchantCircle’s online business directory for free, which also includes free tools to promote a business. Creating a profile takes minutes and will increase visibility in search engine results. MerchantCircle also has reputation management tools, an Ad Wizard to publish on their network and push the ads to Google and get local customer referrals. Some of the tools or options mentioned may come at an additional cost (MerchantCircle).
MerchantCircle’s Business Directory Viewer Reach
Within the last month, MerchantCircle had 41.2 million total unique visits globally.
There is no set number of directories your business should or shouldn’t be in. It’s the quality and relevancy of the directories that is important to keep in mind.
It is important you control your business profile because you need to engage and advertise to consumers where they want to be. Once you claim your profile, update any information that is inaccurate, and be sure to provide details about your business that are a selling point and may draw a new customer in. Most importantly, claim ownership now so that you can respond to positive and negative reviews of your business in the future.
If you are having trouble creating or updating your listings, try contacting a trusted professional to help you.