What are local directories, and why are they important? Getting listed in these directories should top your list of priorities if you’re looking to boost your website rankings and be more easily discovered online.
Local directories are vital for your search engine rankings, online discoverability, and overall digital marketing efforts. We’re going to discuss why they matter and where you can find them, and offer tips for getting the most out of your listings.
Table of contents
- What are Local Directories and Why Are They Important for Churches?
- Where Can You Find Local Directories?
- Tips for Creating an Effective Listing for Your Church
What are Local Directories and Why Are They Important for Churches?
Local directories are online listings of businesses in a specific geographic area. They help potential customers find local businesses, including churches, that offer the products or services they’re looking for.
There are dozens of websites out there with directories or listings (think: Yelp, Foursquare, Google Business Profile). Each one offers an opportunity for your church to be discovered by people who are actively searching for a place of worship.
How Do Local Directories Help Improve Local SEO?
When you invest in SEO, Search Engine Optimization, you will be able to ensure that your church website shows up at the top of search engine results pages. In addition to helping customers find your church, local directories also provide valuable backlinks and citations for your website.
Backlinks are links from other websites to yours, and they’re important because they signal to search engines that your website is relevant and trustworthy (check out this episode on link building for churches).
Citations are mentions of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on the internet. You want your NAP and other contact information to be consistent across all local directories, as well as your own website.
If there are inconsistencies, it confuses search engines and can hurt your rankings.
When you claim your listing on a local directory website and include your NAP information, you’re automatically creating a link and citation for your church, which is great for boosting local SEO.
What’s the Difference Between Local Directories and Local Citations?
People often use the terms local directory and local citation interchangeably, but they’re not exactly the same thing.
A local directory is a website where you can create a listing for your church. It’s a website that specializes in listing local businesses in a specific geographic area. Also, they usually include additional information about each business, such as reviews, ratings, hours of operation, and so on.
A local citation is simply an instance of your NAP being listed on the internet, which could be in a directory or somewhere else. Local citations may also be from a blog or website, social media site, or any other online platform.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about where to get listed!
Where Can You Find Local Directories?
Local directories cover pretty much every city, town, and village out there. Some sites have listings across the country (even globally) while others, such as a Chamber of Commerce or local business association, are specific to a particular geographic area.
Popular U.S. Directories
Here are 10 nationwide directories where you definitely want an up-to-date listing for your church:
- Google Business Profile
- Yellow Pages (YP.com)
- Apple Maps
- Bing Places
- Yahoo Local
Local Directories in Your Area
There may be additional websites specific to your city, neighborhood, or geographical area. Do some research to see where you can list your church under “Churches and Places of Worship” in community resources.
Some examples include:
- Chamber of Commerce
- Local business associations
- City or town websites
- Neighborhood websites
- Local newspapers or media outlets
- Local blogs
Finally, there are also church-specific directories where you can list your church’s information. These websites are geared toward helping people find local churches. They can be a great way to reach people in your community who are specifically looking for a church.
Some examples of church-specific directories include:
- Your church denomination website (or church affiliation organization)
- Church Angel
- USA Churches
Tips for Creating an Effective Listing for Your Church
It can be quite time-consuming to keep up with applying for and updating all of these directories, but it’s a worthwhile investment that will help boost your local SEO rankings. Here are a few tips for creating an effective local directory listing:
- Include all of your church’s contact information, including the name, address, phone number, email address, and website URL.
- Include a description of your church.
- Choose the right category for your listing.
- Include photos and videos whenever possible.
- Encourage your members to leave reviews.
- Update your listing regularly and any time you make major changes.
Another option to tackling your local directories yourself is to use the services of a company like REACHRIGHT. We’ve identified dozens of sites and directories. When you partner with us for local SEO services, we’ll ensure you get listed and updated on all the major directories.
If you have any questions or need help getting started, feel free to contact us. We’re always happy to help!