If you thought local business listings were dead – you’re wrong. With the release of Google Pigeon, this form of organic marketing is experiencing a resurgence and increase in traffic. This shouldn’t be too surprising when you consider how important local business listings are in Google marketing. Dental practices that have given up on Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs) need to revisit their profile and make sure that it is optimized so that you can get the maximum traffic and patient referrals out of it.

Which directories are seeing an increase after Pigeon?

• Smartpages.com
• Manta.com
• Insiderpages.com
• Superpages.com
• Yellowpages.com
• Yellowbook.com

Industry specific sites have also seen an increase in visitors viewing their local business listings. Things like Avvo.com and FindLaw.com are perfect examples and lawyers advertising here may see a direct organic marketing benefit. As a dentist, these industry sites are not helpful but it highlights how local business listings and review sites have fared overall.

What To Do Now

You can improve your organic marketing by re-focusing on your local business listings. You should have an active profile on all of the major sites like Yelp, Yellowpages, Smartpages, etc. in addition to being listed as a local business as part of your Google marketing strategy. Each profile needs to be optimized with your location and contact information, business description, keywords, and customer reviews.

In order to determine which sites you should be listed on and how your profile should appear, conduct a search for your business category and hometown. For example, “pediatric dentist in Portland.” This will show you which listing sites come up, whether or not your practice has a profile there and how it ranks compared to other ones in the area. Play around with a few keyword combinations to round out your research. Based on the results you can determine whether their free listing package is enough for you or if you should incorporate paid advertising. While these sites are great for organic marketing, that doesn’t mean you can’t advertise to get better visibility.

Optimize your profile for SEO. Think of local business listings as your own individual website and the directory site as the internet as a whole. There are things you can do optimize your listing profile so that you can come up on the first page and near the top. Use every opportunity to optimize your listing for all of the locations patients may use when searching for a new dentist. You should also use relevant keywords in the description areas. For example, if you are a pediatric dentist that also offers sedation dentistry, you may want to incorporate “pain-free dentist” “painless dentist” “comfortable dentist” and “sedation dentist” in your descriptions so that if someone does a search on the site for “painless dentist Portland” your listing comes up near the top. This is why content is so important in organic marketing. You need to think about what your patients will search for and be sure to include those keywords in your profile. The same holds true for Google marketing, your local business listing, and Google+ profile.

You can create an opportunity for patients to find you today by improving your presence on local business directories so get started by conducting your own search.