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How to Get Your Small Business Into Local Directories

Yesterday and Today

Not so long ago, someone starting a small, local business had one place where they needed to be listed: the good old-fashioned Yellow Pages. And I'm not talking about the website; I'm talking about that big book with yellow pages filled with addresses, phone numbers, and advertising.

Fast-forward to the 21st century and the situation is not nearly as straightforward. Today's potential customers are using many types of devices, websites, services, and apps to find businesses, and usage of the old paper Yellow Pages is declining steadily. Unlike earlier times however, there is no single place where a businesses can be listed and expect the vast majority of their customers to be able to find them through that one mechanism.

Customers today find the places where they want to shop through an ever-changing list of services. It's important for a small-business owner to understand this landscape and form a strategy of how best to get their business listed.

Who Are You?

The first question that needs to be answered is, "What type of business do I have?" The category of the business will change the answers for what services are important. For example, if you own some sort of home repair business, Angie's List may be a good place to be listed. If you are a restaurant, you may want to look into the more food-oriented ones, such as OpenTable, Allmenus, GrubHub, etc.

And of course there is one company that seems to want to be the solution for whatever a person may be searching for on the Internet. And so many people begin their Internet browsing with this service that they should not be ignored. That company, of course, is Google.

Data Sources

There are some data sources which provide data for multiple sites. This is a good way to ensure your listing appears in many local directories at once. Factual provides data to Yelp and TripAdvisor, as well as here at YLocale among others. Other data providers include Infogroup, which provides data to Google Maps and others and Neustar Localeze, which provides data to Bing Local, Yahoo Local, and Apple, among others.

Review Sites

There are sites which specialize in reviews. While it is good to have a listing on these sites, the tricky thing is to also make sure you have good reviews. But be careful, many of them have become quite skilled at detecting fake reviews and are not afraid to delete suspicious reviews and close the poster's account.

The most well-known sites here (and which your business may already be listed on) include Yelp, Foursquare, and CityGrid, which are also the sources where YLocale gathers reviews from. You may also wish to look into,, and of course,

Map Sites

With the arrival of smartphones, map sites and applications have become an important source of local traffic. Users will often look at a map where they are and see interesting locations nearby.

Google, once again, is one of the most-used services here, with their Places data integrated with their Maps. Bing is another important source of traffic. While the adoption of Windows Phones is not huge, especially in North America, Bing is the default search engine for a very large number of desktop PCs and laptop/tablet/hybrid devices. Apple is a more recent entrant into the mapping game, but with large number of iPhone and iPad users, this is an important place to be listed. There is a self-service portal called Apple Maps Connect that allows you to update your business information.

You may also wish to look into Yahoo, Here from Nokia, and MapQuest. While these may not have as large numbers as the others, you may be able to one-up your competitors by listing with them.

Yellow Pages Sites

There are quite a number of Yellow Pages-like sites on the web. Perhaps the biggest is However there are many others of varying size and quality, such as DexKnows and LocalTom. There are also sites that specialize in certain countries, such as for the U.K.

Where To Start?

You may have noticed the lines between these categories are beginning to blur. is a Yellow Pages site, but has reviews and a map. The map sites tend to have reviews as well. The review sites have maps and function similarly to the Yellow Pages sites. This shows the importance of looking at all of these categories, as they are all trying to gain customers through various channels.

If you are a new business, it makes sense to start with the places where many of your potential customers would be looking. This could be Google, Bing, Yelp, or Angie's List, depending on the business. Right here on YLocale is a great place as well, giving you full control over the look of your listing unlike most other sites. Without taking action, you may in fact already be on some of these sites. However, it is a good idea to try and create a profile at the various sites, as you may be able to customize your listing with information.

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