As you know, link building is an important part of search engine optimization. It increases your company’s brand and visibility online and establishes trust with the search engines. The more relevant inbound links that your website has, the greater the chance that your website will rank well. There are many ways to build your links. Popular strategies include article marketing, social networking, blogging, blog commenting, distributing newsworthy press releases and directory submissions. Another great way to build your links is to submit your website to local profile directories. Some people tend to think that only a local business should do this, but that isn’t true. Even if you sell your product or offer your services to people across the country, a local profile can’t hurt. People are sometimes weary about what they see online and are worried about scams and concerned about privacy issues. A local profile establishes that you are an actual company, with an actual physical location. You’d be surprised how many more people are willing to trust you if you provide this information.
There are numerous places to submit a local profile online for free. The first place to start would be local search engine profiles. Google, Yahoo!, and Bing all offer free local profile submissions. The process for each is slightly different, but they are all pretty simple to submit to. Google Places, which is also sometimes referred to as Google Maps or Google Local, asks you to sign in using a Google account. You then type in the main phone number that is associated with your business. If that phone number isn’t listed and is available you can then “claim your business” and fill out information about your company including your address, your website, and a brief explanation about the products or services that you provide. Other information is optional to include, such as the days of the week that your business operates and what hours you are open. Once you fill out the form you will need to adhere to Google’s verification process. In order to exclude non-legitimate listings, Google has implemented a verification process that is done by phone or by mailing a postcard to the address that you used to sign up. It usually arrives within 2-3 weeks. Once you are contacted by Google, you can verify the listing and your Google Places page should be up and running. Bing Local is very similar to Google Places and also sends a verification pin to the business. For Yahoo! Local you only need to sign up, there isn’t a lengthy verification process. According to Yahoo! a site that you register should show up in Yahoo! Local results in about 5 days.
While it’s most important to submit your site to the local search engine profile directories, there are many other places to sign up for a local listing online, such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Local.com. The key to local profiles is to include the keywords that you are targeting. If you want to receive phone calls, try and get your phone number in the listing more than once. Local profiles are a great way to build links and get noticed.