I did a post on 5/29 on local searches and decided to write more about them.
So where should you start? The first place is Google Local.
Next, do a search by country, like “United States business directory”, since a lot of local search engines are specific by country. Look for directories that are specific to your geographic area. Then make a decision as to whether or not the directory is worth your time and effort. The first criteria should be, of course, location. Does this directory have a category for your area?
The next criteria is whether or not the directory has a category that is relevant to your business. Take a look at the categories you are considering to see if the businesses already listed are relevant to your business. If you are in the travel agency, and you see no hotel/motel/agency listings, don’t bother listing yourself.
Price is important. If the directory is free, go for it. If nothing else, it will provide a back link to your site. However, if there is a fee, you need to determine if the listing is going to be worthwhile.
How do you do that?
The first way is to check how much traffic the directory gets. The easiest way to get an idea about the traffic is by checking the site's Alexa rating. The closer the rating is to 1, the busier the site is. But even if the site isn’t very busy, it could have good SEO benefits.
Good SEO benefits will help you with organic traffic. First, check the Google Page Rank of the directory’s home page. If it is less than 5, move on. But a home page with PR of 5 or more has some authority. Next, go to the page that your listing will actually be on and check to see if the page is indexed by Google (N/A on a PR search shows it is not indexed) and if it has any Page Rank. If yes, the listing could be helpful.
You need to check further to find out if the directory uses nofollow tags or redirects clicks. If it does, then your link is worthless as regards to SEO. Some directories actually create a new page for each listing. That means your link will be starting from ground zero as to being indexed by Google. However, if the directory provides a straight link to your site, then it will have SEO value to you.
If you have decided you want to be in a local search directory, fill in the online forms and make your payment, if required. Paid directories usually will have your listing up in a day or two. It can take days to several weeks if you are submitting to a free directory.