Rank higher on Google Places – Top UK business listings you want to be on
I’ve talked before about how important it is for your business Google Places ranking to have as many ‘structured citations’ as possible, especially from authoritative sources.
Structured Citations are critical
Just to recap, a ‘structured citation’ is your Business Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) listed on web sites that Google can index and attribute to your company. The more places Google sees this, the more confidence it has that your NAP information is reliable and the more credibility it gives your business in Google local search.
It’s not the only factor, but it is one of the most important. If you have inconsistent NAP data across the various online sources of business information, any optimisation effort for local Google search will fail. You really have no chance of featuring highly in Google local search if they’re not confident on what you’re called, where you are, or how customers can call you.
Bad NAP data affects everyone. It can be new businesses starting out who don’t have many listings or an established legal firm that’s been around since 1875, but somehow a wrong phone number, post code, etc has made its way onto a number of important listings (it happens). If you’re not featuring on Google Local results for search queries that you think you should be, this is one of the prime candidates.
There’s a lot of information on business directory sites in the US, but data on the UK is a bit more scarce. So I’ve put together a list of the main business directory sites in the UK that you really want to be listed on, and listed with accurate NAP information.
Note that there are good regional and business niche specific directories that you also really want to be on (Google likes when your business is listed on both topically relevant and locally relevant directories). These are too numerous to mention here, but further down this post, I’ll provide some tips on how to find these ‘gems’.
The Top UK Business Listings
Below are the main business listing sites in the UK together with the web address to submit your business to. It’s not an exhaustive list, there may be other good sources out there, but these are the main ones identified from local SEO client research. The most important directories are the ones marked in bold.
- www.192.com (my118information.co.uk/)
- www.accessplace.com (www.bizwiki.co.uk/write.htm)
- www.approvedbusiness.co.uk (www.approvedbusiness.co.uk/register.aspx)
- www.bizwiki.co.uk (www.bizwiki.co.uk/write.htm)
- www.brownbook.net (www.brownbook.net/business/add/)
- www.businessnetwork.co.uk (businessnetwork.co.uk/listing/update/)
- www.city-listings.co.uk (www.city-listings.co.uk/add_listing/service)
- www.citylocal.co.uk (www.citylocal.co.uk/changelocation-all.php?type=business)
- www.city-visitor.com (www.cityvisitor.co.uk/listyourbusiness/)
- www.cylex-uk.co.uk (admin.cylex-uk.co.uk/firma_default.aspx?step=0&d=cylex-uk.co.uk)
- www.freeindex.co.uk (www.freeindex.co.uk/myfreeindex.htm)
- www.hotfrog.co.uk (www.hotfrog.co.uk/AddYourBusinessSingle.aspx)
- www.infoserve.co.uk (www.infoserve.co.uk/)
- www.localdatacompany.com (See localdatasearch.com below) for submission URL)
- www.localdatasearch.com (www.localdatasearch.com/edit-business.php)
- www.locallife.co.uk (navigate to your city first, then select ‘Advertise your business’)
- www.manta.com (www.manta.com/profile/my-companies/select)
- www.marketlocation.com (marketlocation.my118information.co.uk/)
- www.misterwhat.co.uk (www.misterwhat.co.uk/content/add-company)
- www.mylocalservices.co.uk (www.mylocalservices.co.uk/list_your_business.php)
- www.mysheriff.co.uk (www.mysheriff.co.uk/free-business-advertising/)
- www.qype.co.uk (www.qype.co.uk/business_users/search_and_claim_place_pitch)
- www.scoot.co.uk (www.scoot.co.uk/add-listing)
- www.smilelocal.com (www.smilelocal.com/get_listed.php)
- www.thomsonlocal.com (www.thomsonlocal.com/free-listing.aspx)
- www.tipped.co.uk (www.tipped.co.uk/login)
- www.touchlocal.co.uk (www.touchlocal.com/add-listing)
- www.ufindus.com (www.ufindus.com/get_on_ufindus.php)
- www.uk-local-search.co.uk (uk-local-search.co.uk/add-listing.aspx)
- www.uksmallbusinessdirectory.co.uk (www.uksmallbusinessdirectory.co.uk/advertising/free.asp)
- www.wheresbest.co.uk (www.wheresbest.co.uk/suggest-or-edit-business.php)
- www.Yell.com (marketing.yell.com/products/yell-free-listing/)
- www.yelp.co.uk (biz.yelp.co.uk/)
- Yalwa.co.uk (www.yalwa.co.uk/post/)
Location and business specific directories
Depending on your location and business type, there will be additional business listing opportunities. Structured citations from local and topically relevant web sites are a major positive signal to Google.
For example, if you are in the restaurant business you have the additional national review sites:
For restaurants in London you have additional locally focused information/review sites:
There are a number of local directories covering all business types that focus purely on specific regions/cities.
For example for Edinburgh, there is a little niche site called www.edinburghdirectory.info that features highly in Google local search for a good number of Edinburgh related business queries. If I were an Edinburgh business I’d be looking to get on that list asap.
How do I discover good local and business relevant listing opportunities?
Good question. There’s 3 ways that you can uncover additional opportunities to get structured citations for your business:
- Manual approach.
- Use 3rd party research tools.
- Research your competitors that are featuring highly in Google Local search results.
Nothing complex here. Open up Google on your browser and search for your business niche and location in Google, just like you’d expect customers to do. E.g. if you’re a dentist in Edinburgh, search for ‘dentist edinburgh’, ‘edinburgh dentist’.
Look at the search results and see what business directories you see featuring highly. Don’t just look at the first page of results, instead look at the top 30 – 50 results. You’ll probably see the usual suspects, e.g. yell.com, thomsonlocal.com, but you’ll also see local listing directories and niche dentist/medical listing opportunities. Have a look at these to see if you’re already listed, and if you are, that they have the correct NAP information for you. If not, get your business listed asap!
3rd party research tools.
There are a few tools on the market that do most of the hard work for you. My favourite currently is Local Citation Finder from Whitespark.ca.
Note – this is not a free tool and currently their basic plan is US$20/month. However, if you’re doing research for your own business you probably don’t need to use this for more than a few weeks to build up your target list of new citation sources, so just pay for a month and cancel when you’re done. It will save you alot of time.
This tool allows you to do 2 main search types:
- Search for new citation sources for a given business niche/location (e.g. find the top sources for ‘dentist edinburgh’).
- Search for citation sources for a specific business and phone number – great for discovering exactly where your competitors are getting their top citations from.
For more info into how Local Citation Finder works, check out these good resources:
Research your competitors
Nothing gets a job done quicker than a bit of good old-fashioned plagiarism. Look at which of your competitors are top in Google Local results for your business niche/location. They’re obviously doing something right, and quality structured citation sources are very likely to be a prime factor.
If you’re using a third party tool (e.g. Whitespark mentioned above), you’ve already got this covered – they can do great competitor analysis and allow you to export in a nice CSV or Excel format ready to go.
The cheaper approach, and still effective, is opening up Google on your browser and doing some searches yourself. You want to see the top sites where your competitors are listed. You can do this by searching for their business name, address, phone number, or a combination of these.
I’ll use an example to illustrate. I’m ‘Jimmy Pliers’, a local dentist in Edinburgh. If I search in Google for the term ‘dentist edinburgh’ I see ‘Citrus Dental Care’ at the top. Their business NAP is:
Citrus Dental Care 1 Meadow Place EDINBURGH EH9 1JZ, 0131 656 4525
What I now want to do is see the top sites where their business information is listed. For this I’ll use a few searches on Google to get their top listings:
- ‘Citrus Dental Meadow Place’ –site:www.citrusdentalcare.co.uk
- ‘Citrus Dental 0131 656 4525’ – site:www.citrusdentalcare.co.uk
- ‘Citrus Dental 0131 6564525’ – site:www.citrusdentalcare.co.uk
- ‘Citrus Dental EH9 1JZ’ – site:www.citrusdentalcare.co.uk
- ‘Citrus Dental EH91JZ’ – site:www.citrusdentalcare.co.uk
The –site:www.citrusdentalcare.co.uk in the search query tells Google that I don’t want to see any results from the web site www.citrusdentalcare.co.uk as obviously their own web site will have their NAP all over it, so I want that removed the results.
This will give you a good list of web sites that list their business information. Go through the list and identify any useful sources that you can contact to get your business listed.
Hope this helps, and best of luck getting your business ahead of the competition on Google Local results! Any questions you have, you can always get me on firstname.lastname@example.org.