Local business directories spring up dime a dozen every other day. Most of them are copycats run on free open source software which is not maintained as it should be.

Local business directories spring up dime a dozen every other day. Most of them are copycats run on free open source software which is not maintained as it should be. I have stumbled upon so many of them with inaccurate data, poor listing and erratic searches. Our daily job is to find and maintain a good list of local directories for our local SEO package. Our team researches not only US, Canada local business directories but extend to UK, Australia and other major countries. Let me share the US/Canada favorites here.

We analyze these local directories and grade them based on the following

-    User Activity, which I consider very important as this is where you need to list your business to see what your clients are thinking about your business. You may get the good and bad rankings, reviews and comments but this will help your business in the long run to focus more on what your clients like and fix any issues.

-    Site Authority, How secured is the local directory and how long they are in business. Is the data safe, secure and confidential? We analyze the privacy policy and terms. We check for SPAM such as selling email lists or bulk mailing to local business etc. by these local business portals. If so we blacklist them as we do not want our local business client to get loads of SPAM in there inbox for getting listed on these directories.

-    Fast and Good Approval rate which is more important because one cannot wait for months to get the business approved.

-    Check if they have local presence in the Print and other traditional media such as TV etc which will give an added advantage.

-    Mobile Friendly. It is vital that local sites are mobile friendly as the vast majority of searches for local business is on mobile and hand held devices.

-    Social Media. Options to share the listings on social platforms.

-    Maps, Reviews, Ratings, ease of edit and 15 other Features


Based on the above I have shared my favorite local business sites for 2013 here.  This list will be updated as and when we find useful new directories and remove those which is less active. You can subscribe for the updates here.

The #1
– I don’t want to quote the obvious. Big brother G is the forefront and leader of local business, let it be map, review, rating or search. Last year they merged Google places with Google+ which has become even more convenient to promote the business with business pages, reviews ratings, street maps and all other business activities under an umbrella. Needles to say they are authentic ease to use, effective, mobile friendly etc. Any business should start their presence here.

My second choice
– We often argue on the fact that who should be next? Yahoo or Bing? While some of my colleagues consider yahoo my vote is for Bing. Bing is innovative and not afraid to introduce new features, test them and implement based on user input. I love some of their recent introductions Interior Views, Enhanced OpenTable Integration, Real-Time Transit, and Streetside for Mobile

– You must have guessed right Yahoo Local. I wish Marissa Mayer will get things going in the right direction for yahoo. Yahoo had been my favorite in the end of 90’s when I completed my college and internet was fairly new. Yahoo failed to improvise or innovate which made it fail miserably. However my third priority goes to Yahoo local.

The fourth place
– This position is very important as the 3 giants we have above has established their business over decades and this spot is the competitive one for the other players. My choice is Merchant Circle. With almost all the features of a perfect local business directory MC lists 20 million plus business with millions of  visitors every month. The coupon, deals feature at MC is worth considering for any local business planning a promotion.  http://www.merchantcircle.com/signup/

#5- YELP
- Considered mainly as a review site, YELP offers a decent listing and easy to use interface where you can search, rate and review businesses. Yelp has gone into everyone’s heart and mind that when you want to try a new restaurant or get your home refurnished the first place you search is for Yelp reviews. From a review site it has grown into a robust online community.

6th Place
- Founded in 1995 I can say they are one of the early starters in the local business world. All along they have evolved into a review, rating and competition site similar to Yelp. Users have the option to vote for their favorite local business which includes a variety of business such as Restaurants, Night clubs, Super Markets, Malls and outlets.

Yellow #7
- When you want to find any local business the first thought which will come across your mind is yellow. Gone or those days when we used to flip the pages of the big yellow page print directory to find the business we are after. However print is now replaced by digital in the form of online yellow pages which is more or like the print version and believe me lot of old schools still give the first priority to Yellow pages online over other local directories.

Number 8
– SuperMedia, which helps local business found in social, mobile and online searches. They are honored by Local Search association as the best local directory in 2012 and also they have a top notch mobile app which responds to voice and has a number of useful features. They have good repo with all the three search giants Google Yahoo and Bing.

The 9th place
- Local.com the local business portal which offer a variety of sections including local events, Deals,  and activities. It is simple easy to use and also they have a tie up with YEXT. You can get your local business on Local and YEXT (40 sites). But I do not recommend any system or software to maintain local business listings. It will lose the human touch.

– Mapquest is the best in class map based local business search and listings. They are not limited to business listing but also offer unique services like Gas Pricing, Traffic congestion travel booking etc. Recently they have launched travel blogging. Their app works good on most of the mobile and hand held platforms making it the number one in map search. With Smartphone searches on the rise it is possible that it will go up on the list on my next update.

No. -11
- Linkedin which boasts 200 million real professionals all around the globe will be the place where you want to list your business. While it doesn’t help a plumber or electrician much, certainly it helps white collar business to find partner and associate with other businesses. Unlike Facebook fanpages Linkedin business profiles are frequently seen on Search engine results which are an added advantage. I myself have got several leads for our company through Linkedin. The best part is the business get authentic reviews by real people which boost your brand to a great extend. You can view my profile and connect to me at Linkedin


12th position
- goes to Thinklocal which has nothing big to boast about. Founded by Network solutions they offer tips for local living, moving etc. Pretty simple interface and the support is not world class. However there are a significant number of business listings(over 15 million) and considerable amount of visitors.

4Square – 13

- Foursquare’s brilliant mobile app is a unique innovation of its kind and estimated 25-30 million users have it on their mobiles. The searches are fast, precise with accurate results. FS offer free business tools which help your customers find your business on the move.

There are another 15-20 local business sites including GPS data aggregators etc which can help growing your business. which I will update shortly.

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About Guna Nadar

Guna Nadar

Brief Info about Guna Nadar +

I mostly write technical aspects and not much into creative writing. For the past decade I worked along with top notch SEO & Internet Marketing professionals which naturally lured me into the world of Search Engines. When I am not writing I read from comics to philosophy.Antiques, Fishing, hunting are my passions. Currently I am working on Google Penalty protection and .... more info