Research study based on SERP analysis
Authors: Imre Papuscan and Mariana Martin See Bio
🕐 12 minutes read
Key 'Takeaways' From This Research
By now it is no news that business directories are the next big thing to search engines. There are so many business directories out there, that it might get confusing when it comes to your search engine optimization strategy.
Almost all the other lists are generated based on page rank, estimated traffic and domain authority for a particular business directory or citation site.
We consider that for a small business these things are subjective because when it comes to local search what really matters is how well a business performs in SERP for searches based on branded keywords and business categories.
This study in comparison to other sources aims to provide a list of citation sources based on the local search visibility score.
The goal is to help a small business show up in search results when users search for specific terms related to the business’s industry, brand, or products and services. Search optimization is an essential strategy for small businesses trying to attract attention, drive website traffic, and grow their business.
A huge amount of time was spent to conduct extensive analysis and detailed research to see which local business directories are among the first 10 results in SERP.
The data was taken from a trusted 3rd party source and cross-referenced with our own internal tools to verify that the numbers are accurate.
We used a metric compiled from several relevant search factors that are used to calculate how visible a citation site is in a search engine’s organic results.
This local search visibility score was calculated based on a set of keywords which covered all business categories and all the locations from the UK and the site’s position for those keywords in SERP.
The maximum possible score for a site is 10,000 if it appears in the first position for all the searched keywords.
We’ve also analyzed a set of business names (branded searches) that are registered in the majority of the local citation sites. Each citation site has a maximum possible score of 10 000 if it appears in the first position for all the searched business names.
Click-through research data reveals the importance of 1st, 2nd or 3rd position in Google, however, we applied a linear function to compute the score. The decision is based on the limited possibilities of SERP analysis taking into account personalization based on location, device, language, search history and many other factors. Our tools and user tests demonstrated that the position in SERPs shows a big variation across users: for the same query +/-5 positions on the same day. These estimation values are close and decrease on a linear value.
Because of Google’s Personalized Search, the first 10 positions usually vary quite a lot.
Personalized search means there is no consistent search experience across users, locations, and devices. It's still crucial to track your keywords, but you need to realize that it is not giving you the exact picture every searcher sees.
Local business directories and citation sites play a vital role in reputation, rankings, and revenue. They are a key part of your local search optimization.
What is a Local Citation?
A local citation is any mention of your business on the web. It is a combination of your business name, address, phone number and website address. Citations can occur on local business directories, on websites and apps, and on social platforms. Having lots of citations that all display the exact same, accurate info about your business can help improve your ranking in local search results.
What is a local business directory?
A business directory is an online list of businesses within a particular niche, location, or category. One way local businesses can get found by online searchers is through inclusion in business directories.
There are 3 key benefits to why you need to be listed in online business directories:
1. It increases your discoverability
2. It improves your SEO
3. It strengthens your reputation
Another key aspect you need to take into consideration is how well is your brand performing for branded search and branded keywords.
What is Branded Search & Branded Keywords?
A branded keyword, or a branded search, is any query via a search engine that includes the name of your company, business or brand.
Branded searches are imperative and shouldn’t be overlooked. Many assume that search queries involving your brand will naturally lead to your website, but that’s simply not the case.
By incorporating branded search into your overall digital marketing strategy, you can quickly accelerate your brand, helping it stand out on the SERPs and provide a better experience for audiences.
The top 10 local citations that had the highest local search visibility score for a set of keywords which covered all business categories and all the locations from the UK are:
The top 10 business directories that had the highest local search visibility score for a set of business names (branded searches) are:
What is the best UK business directory?
Based on the local search visibility score the best UK business directories are cylex-uk.co.uk, yell.com and facebook.com. These three sites had the highest score calculated based on a set of query combinations and the site’s position for those combinations in SERP.
They had the highest local search visibility score for a set of listed business names (branded searches) that were registered in the majority of the local UK citation sites and also for a set of keyword combinations which covered all the business categories and all the locations from the UK.
Where should I list my business?
According to the local search visibility score, the top 3 citation sites where you should register your business are: cylex-uk.co.uk, yell.com and facebook.com. However, our suggestion would be to register your business in as many citation sites as possible.
Based on the local search visibility score here are the top 25 citation sites you can register your business for free: cylex-uk.co.uk, yell.com, facebook.com, beta.companieshouse.gov.uk, endole.co.uk, companycheck.co.uk, 192.com, companiesintheuk.co.uk, bizdb.co.uk, 118118.com, tripadvisor.co.uk, yelp.co.uk, thomsonlocal.com, nhs.uk, mybuilder.com, gumtree.com, checkatrade.com, booking.com, gb.kompass.com, duedil.com, local.standard.co.uk, zoopla.co.uk, find-open.co.uk, foursquare.com, localmint.com
It is extremely time-consuming and repetitive to go through each resource to find, update or add listings manually. Local listing services solve this problem. The popular technological solution helps companies to provide users with complete and correct business information and manage their reputation by means of working with reviews.
Please look at these comparison facts and decide which online-presence management service is better or most suitable for your business.
How can I get free exposure and advertise my business?
List your business on these top free places and maximize your chances of appearing at the top of a Google search, even if you don’t know the first thing about online reputation management or search optimization methods: cylex-uk.co.uk, yell.com, facebook.com, tripadvisor.co.uk, yelp.co.uk, thomsonlocal.com, beta.companieshouse.gov.uk, companycheck.co.uk, 192.com, companiesintheuk.co.uk
How do I get customers for my new business?
The first step would be to list your business in these top free local citation sites. Local business directories are on a constant path to develop innovative solutions to help clients grow their customers’ base and online presence.
Below you have an overall view on each of the top UK business directories.
1. Cylex Local Search is a free online platform, which puts a great value on one of the most important aspects of local search, ensuring that a business’ information is consistent, accurate and accessible throughout the web. Users can check contact details and opening hours as well as read and write reviews about local businesses.
Advertising on Cylex is completely FREE unless you upgrade to their optional Premium Listing, which helps increase your visibility around the areas you cover.
They have over 100 employees whose job is to manually evaluate each business registration, providing quality information on UK local businesses. Another great aspect that Cylex has to offer is DoFollow and NoFollow Links. Citation sites with links through to local business websites are invaluable to local SEO.
They also offer a free lead-generation service for local businesses. Every day several thousand potential clients request for a free quote on their platform.
2. Facebook allows businesses to develop their brand, grow their audience and start conversations with customers and people interested in learning more. To create a Facebook Page, you’ll need to already have a personal profile. Getting your business on Facebook is free. However, if you wish to reach a wider audience you will need to use Facebook ads to advertise your business.
3. Yell, also known as Yell UK, is the subsidiary in the United Kingdom of the global media organization, hibu. Yell has been publishing yellow pages since 1966, originally as a portion of General Post Office, and launched its Yell.com website in January 1996. Submission for a basic online listing is free, but paid-for listings still remain their focus.
4. TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel platform which helps 490 million travellers each month make every trip their best trip. Accommodations, restaurants and attractions can be listed on TripAdvisor for free! If you have a free listing, all bookings are taken online through their website and you pay a processing fee of 3% per booking.
5. Yelp is a business directory service and crowd-sourced review forum. It was founded in 2004 to help people find local businesses. In addition to reviews, you can use Yelp to find events, lists and to talk with other Yelpers. Every business owner (or manager) can setup a free account to post photos and message their customers. However, if you wish to reach a wider audience you will need to pay to upgrade your account.
6. Thomson Local is a local business telephone directory, published up until 2016 in the United Kingdom by Thomson Directories Ltd. You can list your business for free, but to gain access to their premium features, this includes priority positioning, the option to display photo galleries, opening times, special offers, payment methods and much more you will need to call them to get a price offer.
7. Companies House is the United Kingdom's registrar of companies and is an executive agency and trading fund of Her Majesty's Government. It falls under the remit of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and is also a member of the Public Data Group. Their new public beta search service provides access to over 170 million digital records on companies and directors including financial accounts, company filings and details on directors and secretaries throughout the life of the company. Free access to the data is available both through a web service and an application program interface (API), enabling both consumers and technology providers to access real time updates on companies.
8. Company Check is a UK Limited company check with data from Companies House. Company Check is free to use, with unlimited company searches and basic information including registration details, key financials and director records. They gather company and director details from various sources including Companies House, the Registry Trust and local Gazettes.
9. 192.com is a British company that publishes an online directory as well as information contained within the public domain for the UK, based in London. It is an online directory where you can find people, businesses and places. Many of the records on 192.com are available for free, but to access premium records, you will need to purchase credits before all the data is revealed to you.
10. Companies In The UK provides free information on UK Limited Liability Companies, company documents, annual accounts and financial information. However, if you wish to enhance your listing there is a monthly cost.
2019 is all about the following three reasons why businesses should list their website with online business directories for SEO:
Building customer confidence
As you’ve seen above, not all business directory sites offer the same benefits, particularly when it comes to improving SEO. So, without further ado, these are our suggestions for the best business directories for 2019 that you should make sure you are taking advantage of.
Whilst we have provided the top general directory sites that are essential for SEO, it is worth doing your research to find the best performing sites that are specific to your industry.
Another important directory or citation source is, of course, Google My Business.
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business. The rumor is that Google may decide to charge for Google My Business listings. They can charge from $10 per month to over $70 per month to be listed in the Google local results, according to this survey. (source: Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Land).
Here is a list of other 30 important citation sources that had a good score based on the local search visibility index:
|Opening Hours Directory||Attractions Directories|
|General Business Directories||News Directories|
|bigreddirectory.com||Address Finder Directories|
|gb.kompass.com||Hotels & Restaurants|
|Jobs Directory||Government Directory|
|Home & Social Care||Lead Generation Directories|
Besides these citation sites we had a number of other websites which had a higher score in the local search visibility index:
|Social media||Score||Job Sites||Score||Online encyclopedia||Score|
About the authors
Imre Papuscan is a mix of business analyst, product manager and usability specialist. Creative thinker, UX oriented, extensive experience in user behavior analytics and content strategy, loves to create useful and innovative products.
Mariana Martin manages Cylex’s data and content management team, producing insightful articles, research studies and all kinds of data resources that enable local businesses and SEO’s getting the best results in local search.
Do you know of any other high-quality UK business listing sites? Let us know about them in the comments below or at firstname.lastname@example.org