Gone are the days of yellow pages business browsing. Research indicates that up to 97% of consumers of products and services utilize the internet to find their services locally. Of course, search engine powerhouses like Google carry out the vast majority of these searches. However, what many local business owners—certainly many dental practice owners—do not realize is that there are different levels of searching within those engines.
Business Directories or “Citations”
Business directories are large, user-driven and created stockpiles of business listings (‘citations’ as we call them in the SEO “biz”). From women’s shoe stores to pet psychologists to cosmetic dentistry, business directory listings are the neighborhoods that make up the cityscape of Google, and its brethren. To maximize your dental practice’s visibility (and therefore bookings) on this digital marketing frontier, a strong presence on various prominent business directories is essential.
Although it’s important to cover a wide swath of digital terrain listing your practice, it’s worth paying attention to which directories are yielding the most results for other practices and businesses.
Not all business directories are created equal; in fact, there are some directories which may actually reduce the amount of traffic your practice’s website receives! Talk with your SEO consultant about which directories are worth your time.
For starters, the Google My Business Page is a fairly bulletproof directory that should be a required listing for any practice. Although virtually every practice has a website and is duly concerned with its SEO ranking, upwards 56% of all local businesses nationwide have still not claimed their My Google Business listing.
Moreover, only 33% of nationwide local businesses have claimed their Yelp listings. These directories are powerful—their recognized names instill confidence in the people—your prospective patients—who are reading the reviews posted on their listings.
The Search Engine Journal as well as the popular SEO site Moz.com have both corroborated this importance, indicating that an owner-verified listing on Google My Business is among the top search engine ranking factors. They also suggest that consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) information is a top ‘signal’ of SEO success.
Additionally, Moz.com offers their MozBar extension of Google Chrome, which allows its user to access real-time metrics of various business directories. Page authority (the actual success and strength of various directories) and domain authority (the predicted success and strength of an entire domain) are measured and displayed, allowing the user to make an informed decision about which business directories to post with (or avoid posting with).
Confirm Your NAP! (Name, Address, Phone Number)
Once you’ve gotten your practice on large, watershed directories like Google My Business, Yelp, and Bing Places for Business, you’ll want to make sure that your listings are live and accurate. To confirm this, the NAP Hunter extension of Google Chrome by Local SEO Guide will perform searches for various combinations of a business’ name, address, and phone number. It will then link you to the various listings (also called citations), thus confirming their activity.
Ultimately, there is no excuse for not having a strong presence on numerous reputable business directories. Being widely promoted by these ‘neighborhoods’ of the greater ‘cityscapes’ of the search engine world is a surefire way to promote your practice’s SEO ranking.
As our client, The SEO Dentist makes sure that your dental practice is listed on powerful business directory listings. This is one of our pillars to ranking success. Contact us today!