There was a time on the internet where in order to find a website you would have to know the website’s URL beforehand. It is now almost 17 years since popularization of the web platform and we see things evolve day in and day out. You no longer have to key-in www in front of a website’s URL, and for the most part browser’s come with their own Search Bar built into the address bar (i.e.. Google Chrome), which makes things significantly easier for someone searching online, to find your website. A not so recent, yet still underrated development on the internet scene, is the insurgence of Local Directories, and their role in search engine optimization, reputation management, and internet marketing as a whole.
What is a Local Directory Listing?
A Local Directory Listing is the submission of the information of your business, to one of the local platforms, whether it is Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing, Yelp!, or all of them. The information is placed in their databases and it is presented in their own format, which varies from site to site. The most basic listing will have at least the business’ phone number, website address, fax, contact email, and a spot for reviews, the latter is proving to be a key player on the online reputation management game.
Why is it important for me to get listed?
Most search engines are now giving prime real estate to businesses listed on their own local platforms, whether it is Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing, or Yelp!. Sometimes the local listing even shows up higher than the business’ website on the search engine results page. Each search engine behaves differently in regards to some of the information on the listing, Google for instance will reward a listing with high ratings and good reviews.
A local listing is also an opportunity for your practice to receive the recognition it deserves, through ratings. Encourage your patients to write reviews about their experience at your office, on the platforms you are listed on, this will greatly increase the optimization of your listing and make sure any potential patients looking for the services you offer, are aware of the quality of the services you provide.
Another important aspect of Local Directory Listings is the ability they have to pinpoint your practice in a map. Most internet users access the web from their smartphones, tablets and other similar devices nowadays. These devices are usually featured with a type of GPS system, that allows the user to search for businesses around them. This is when the local listings come into play. When a user searches for a service or type of establishment, the search engine cross-references the location of the user and the location of the businesses in their local databases, to bring up the closest listings matching the keywords they searched for. This is one of the key factors why Local Directory Listings play such an important role in the realm of medical search engine optimization.
Make sure you ask your internet marketing account manager about the status of the directories your practice is listed under, and confirm that they are verified and active.