In the first part of the Local Citation Building Study series I shared the results of a research I did for some of the most competitive local search niches. The second part is dedicated to the more generic business directories.
In the “local SEO” space the names of a number of citation sources circulate, and for good reason – the more often a website is mentioned, the better the chances its value is high. This assumption is very similar to the one Google is making when counting “local citations” as a determinant in the local organic search rankings process. Additionally, the more authoritative the source of the “citation”, the higher its value. That is why I used a number of the best and most comprehensive lists of local business directories from the most renown authors in the local search space to see which are the “highest ranking” citation sources. As there are a lot of such lists not only for USA, but also for the UK, and Canada, I decided to also include them in this study’s next part.
I used the following lists for my research of the business directories in the US:
Local Search Ranking Factors 2011 (by David Mihm and others)
75 Local Citation Sources Prioritized (by Direction SEO)
Best Citation Sources (by GetListed.org)
The Definitive List of Local Search Citations (by Phil Rozek; disclaimer – I’ve helped Phil with some of the citations)
The Ultimate List of Local Citation Sites (by Mike Wilton)
Super Long List of the Best Local Search Citation Sources (by Zipline Interactive)
The Ultimate List: 50 Local Business Directories (by HubSpot)
Top 50 Citation Sources For UK & US Local Businesses (by Myles Anderson)
Getting Your Business Listed (by Chris Piepho)
Local Search Engines & Providers (by eMarketing Matador)
Google Maps: Citations, Reviews, & User Content (by Matthew Hunt)
IYP SEO Rankings Report 2009 (by Andrew Shotland)
I also took into account the sites that are part of Yext Local Search Scorecard and GetListed LocalDashboard.
How the Scoring System Works
Every time a directory is mentioned in any of these lists, it gets 1 point. Some of these lists are more authoritative than others, so the websites mentioned there get additional points:
1. A citation source mentioned in the Local Search Ranking Factors 2011 gets 3 points.
2. A citation source mentioned in top 20 of the 75 Local Citation Sources Prioritized gets 3 points.
3. A citation source mentioned in the places between 21 and 50 in the 75 Local Citation Sources Prioritized gets 2 points.
4. A citation source mentioned in the Best Citation Sources gets 2 points.
5. A citation source mentioned in bold in The Definitive List of Local Search Citations gets 2 points.
From the final list of the best local citation directories (according to the pros) are excluded a few directories of websites:
– ones that are specific for only particular industry (or for just a handful of industries)
– ones that require payment to get a direct listing
– ones that do not provide the option to directly get a listing on them or are not working
– ones that are mentioned in not more than one of the lists
The Best Local Business Directories (in the US) for Citation Building According to the Pros
|TheUSAExplorer / Bridgat||4|
The overall number of directories is 84.
Some business directories worth mentioning were left out of this list, with the most notable ones being Judysbook and Openlist. The first one of these currently accepts only paid listings, and the second one doesn’t accept listings directly. From the ones that are free and working, DirectoryCentral.com and Cylex-USA.com would also deserve a place in this top list.
A Few Notes About the List
1. Localeze, ExpressUpdate, and Axciom are not business directories. They are business data providers, but I chose to include them in the list, because I consider them very important local citation sources.
2. A few days ago MerchantCircle.com stopped providing free business listings. I contacted them with a request to provide additional information if the free service was completely stopped, but I haven’t got an answer yet.
3. Cityvoter.com, Boulevards.com, HelloMetro.com, Patch.com have specific websites depending on the location of the business and might not be available for some locations.
Remark: As part of our local citation building service we take the value of each citation source into account. One of the factors we use is the points a business directory received according to the above mentioned list.
*Note: Our Citation Building Guide features more information, tips, and tactics on how to do local citation building.