Visibility is one of the most crucial factors in running a business. However, this can lead to an unfortunate dilemma; it can be expensive to advertise a business but you also need to spend money to make money. That is where this list comes in. We have collected the 10 best free places to advertise your business. Many of the sites listed below also include paid advertising options, but first, you should take a look at their free offers.
What you may not know is there’s a lot of sharing of business listing data around the web, and that may even start with a website you’ve never heard of. Don’t worry! We’ve done the hard part, sifting through hundreds of possible places on the web to list your business, and identified the ten most valuable places to get visibility for your business for free.
Skip ahead for important recommendations on how to create good business listings on any platform.
Is anyone surprised Google My Business (GMB) is at the top of the list? We’re not! As one of the largest and most visible listing platforms Google My Business is our first choice when it comes to getting seen and sharing in-depth information. Here are a few reasons why:
- GMB connects with customers on both Google Search and Google Maps giving you double the visibility
- GMB allows you to quickly show what your business is to local consumers
- GMB drives traffic to your website, location and social channels
Google My Business gives your customers a wide view of your business, showing hours, location, reviews and more, giving your customers the information they need. As “74% of consumers visit a store based on information they have found online” an optimized GMB page can be a huge push for customers. By using this free informational advertising platform to show your business to consumers you can greatly increase your sales. Get your Google My Business page started today.
2. Bing Places
After Google, Bing is the most often used search engine in the United States, with 2.55% of the market share. This is due to Bing being the default search engine on Windows Devices. Usually, those who aren’t the most tech-savvy end up keeping Bing as the default browser on these devices and discovering they like it.
Another reason to look into Bing Places is the demographics of users who tend to use Bing. Bing users tend to be over 35 and are more likely to be 55 to 64. These users also have an annual combined household income of over $100,000. By using Bing places you can have a more targeted platform for these specific demographics.
With an estimated 2.89 billion users Facebook is one of the top platforms to advertise your business for free. This amount of users makes Facebook a great place to begin your social strategy for your business in addition to giving your customers a visible place to show different aspects of your business. Similar to GMB you can show hours, locations, and services, however Facebook also gives you a greater ability to interact with your customers. Having a listing on Facebook and interacting with customers here can increase your customer acquisition and retention, since studies have shown 26% of people between 18 to 34 prefer to contact a company through social media.
Continuing our emphasis on customer experience and retention, we have included Yelp in our number 4 slot. Yelp is a popular customer-review website. An average of 142 million users visit Yelp each month giving a great amount of visibility to your business. Yelp is also particularly beneficial to local businesses. A study found that 92% of consumers make a local purchase after visiting Yelp. Yelp is the new “word-of-mouth” system in our digital age and we’re here for this ever-evolving way of marketing.
5. Apple Maps
With hundreds of millions of users in over 200 countries, we can’t see a reason not to have your business listed on Apple Maps. Apple Maps offers users the ability to explore whatever city they’re in, giving them several options during a search, one of which could be your business. Apple Maps also showsYelp reviews on its business listings, showing all those nice reviews you’ve been getting.
You may remember Foursquare as a social networking app to share locations with friends. In recent years, it has shifted to being a location-data powerhouse. Foursquare aggregates business location data and provides it to other businesses and applications, including Uber, AirBNB, and Apple Maps. Get your data right at the source, so it’ll be accurate in apps around the Internet
Dun & Bradstreet is a company that provides commercial data for businesses. While you may not be looking for b2b customers, D&B is a core data provider to several other consumer business directories. When you create a free listing on this site, you’re creating accurate data at the source, ensuring propagation of good data about your business elsewhere on the web.
Yellowpages.com which has now been rebranded as YP.com comes in at our number 9 slot. This is the new and improved version of the giant phonebook your parents used. Under pressure from the likes of Google and Yelp, Yellowpages has a fresh look and more social content and features. They also distribute listings to a number of syndication partners. The site itself currently gets 29 million visits per month.
LinkedIn isn’t exactly a place where people go to look for businesses, but it does offer rich business listing functionality, and the domain carries quite a bit of authority. LinkedIn is one of the biggest platforms for decision makers within a company like executives and CEO, so a listing here is valuable for business-to-business exposure. Add a company to LinkedIn
10. Find Your Vertical Directory
In this digital age, we live in a world with a wealth of information and specialization. That is why it is important to find a directory that is specific to your business. Run a search in Google for your business category (“ice cream shop” or “event planner”) and look for websites which help people find the right business. For lawyers, you’ll find the site Avvo, for doctors there’s Healthgrades. Many verticals have their own business directory websites that get lots of traffic and can bring you tremendous visibility with your target market.
A Couple of Pointers When Creating/Updating Listings
- Be accurate and consistent. If you have a registered business name, use that as your business name in all cases. Use the same spacing, capitalization, and punctuation. Some sites will verify your information with public business registration data, and consistency will help directories know they’re all talking about the same business, and that consistency helps your search ranking.
- Fill out everything you can. More information helps you get found and makes your listing more useful to searchers – remember, your goal is not just to have your listings show up, you want people to visit your business.
Why List Your Business?
There are many benefits to getting your business listed on other websites. Four important ones are:
- Links – links pointing to a website are a major factor in how that site ranks in search engines. I would say the most important factor, but linking is a complex and nuanced topic. Links are not all created equal. Where a link comes from is important. For example, a link from the home pages of nytimes.com is worth a lot more than a link on a page buried deep within a blog like this one. And some web sites put a “nofollow” attribute on links. This attribute is a way of telling search engines not to follow nor associate value with a link. However, there is still some SEO value in a nofollowed link, in particular, because user behavior is also a factor in Google ranking. Matt Cutts of Google explains more about the value of nofollow links here.
- Website traffic – this one is kind of obvious, but your listing will include a link to your website, which will result in more traffic. Many consumers like to visit a web site before visiting a business. If yours isn’t listed, you lose out.
- In-store traffic – often consumers start researching a product or business online, but continue it by visiting your store. Ensure people can find your business wherever they’re doing their research online by listing your business in the free places we’ve listed above.
- Citations – citations are references to your business that include your business name and some sort of geographic identifier, like a phone number or street address. Citations are one of the signals Google uses to determine ranking for local listings.