Most small businesses understand that they should be listed on major national search engines such as Google and Bing, but how do they know which local and vertical sites are important for improving their overall SEO performance?
For example, if you’re a plumber in Boston looking for local sites to post your business listing on, you could look at the listings of other Boston businesses, by running a query for “Boston Plumbing” to find other local sites:
If you want to find vertical sites, you could look at the listings of other dentists, such as Tribeca Dental Associates in New York:
Even better, you would want to look at businesses that are in both your locale and your vertical, such as Charles River Dental Associates in Boston:
Finding local and vertical sites this way is a tedious process because you have to go through many businesses one by one. An alternative is to use an online tool that automatically aggregates all the sites where your competitors are listed.
But with all of these approaches, you end up seeing the large, plain vanilla sites like Yelp, CitySearch and SuperPages. Whether you’re a dentist, florist or plumber, and whether you’re in Boston, Chicago or Chico, these generic sites aren’t necessarily the right ones for you to be listed on.
Not Just Hyperlocal, Hyper-Relevant
It could be that in order to rank high on Google Maps, you need to be on a hyperlocal site or the hyper vertical site that is ‘hyper relevant’ for your type of business! Otherwise you may be lost under the big nationwide, multi-category sites that just list all 15M US businesses.
To get a better understanding, we ran an analysis of 3 million SMB’s in multiple verticals and locations, and used that data to look at just the vertical sites and just the local sites – and found some interesting things. Here is an example of what we found for Faneuil Hall Dental Associates, a Boston dentist.
These are the nationwide sites for their business category, which include both the big sites like Google and more relevant sites such as healthgrades.com and wellness.com (vertical sites are marked by and multi-category sites are marked by ):
Below are the local sites where they should be listed. Some of these smaller local sites one might never think of (such as nomoreclipboard.com or clinicwalk.com) but Google thinks they are important:
It’s clear that the plain vanilla sites are not the only ones you need to be listed on – equally as important are the smaller, simple sites that Google finds to be important for your business category. What’s important for SMB’s to understand is that not every dentist needs to be listed on clinicwalk.com, but that they would do well to consider all the sites that are most relevant to their vertical and their locale.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.