Each geographic region will likely have its own local authority directories which vary by country and even by city.
In the United States, some of the heavy hitters are:
• Merchant Circle
• Angie's List
In the United Kingdom, you’ll find a different set of authority review sites such as:
• Approved Business
• Thomson Local
No matter where you live, you can find relevant local directories by searching for your desired service type and city. For example, if you would like to find the best directories for a plumbing business, enter “plumbing repair directory reviews” into Google. You’ll find local directories within the first two pages of the search results.
Many review sites offer businesses free listings. Some even go so far as to create listings on your behalf. Thus, you may have a presence on some of these sites without your knowledge! People may be reviewing your business on these sites even if you never heard of them before. These sites typically allow you to either set up a new listing or claim an existing listing.
In order to find most of your business’s existing citations, type your business name, address, and/or phone number into a search engine. You’ll discover the directories where your listing exists.
Why claim a listing?
Doing so provides you with greater control over the listing itself, its gives you greater citation authority in the eyes of search engines, and it provides you with access to additional markets.
By claiming a listing, you can enter additional information about your business, products, and services. You can add photos, links to your website, and in some cases, contribute to a blog or interact with other members of the site.
Another reason to claim listings is to ensure that the listing contains the correct information for your business. If the site created the listing on your behalf, such as by pulling information from a third party database or manually keying the information in, who’s to say that the information is correct?
What if the phone number is wrong or they have your home address listed instead of your business address? By claiming your listing, you can edit it.
Each site will have its own unique requirements for claiming and validating listings, though each is fairly straightforward. Google My Business is the biggest and most important directory and many other directories pull information from it. Thus, start by claiming your Google My Business listing and make sure it is complete and 100 percent accurate.
Add a description, photos, categories, product pages, coupons, and other elements. From there, make sure all of the additional directories you claim have the exact same contact information. Once you have claimed your listings, you’ll be all set to start gathering reviews on your selected third party review sites.
What is citation authority?
Remember how back links used to serve as “votes” of confidence for a webpage? Local listings complete with your business’s name, address, phone number, and other details on authority sites such as Google My Business or Yelp serve as votes of confidence, too. They signal to Google and other search engines that your company is a legitimate local company.
At the same time, creating a presence on these sites exposes you a wider market. Many of these sites are social networks in their own right. Users on Yelp, for example, may limit their search for providers to those listed on Yelp. If you’re not listed, you won’t be found.
Another reason to claim a listing is so that you can respond to negative customer reviews. Responding to negative reviews appropriately and promptly can quickly resolve the original situation as well as show others that you truly care about your customers.