Are local business directories still needed in 2019?


How citations can help your local SEO: The definitive list of free UK local business directories

It’s 1999 and the world population has just surpassed 6 billion, the millennium dome has just opened and the new issue of the Yellow Pages has just been dumped on your doorstep. It’s amazing to see the change in the UK’s consumer habits 20 years on and how local business directories are now almost solely online. While local directories don’t live next to your telephone and are no longer used by short guys to kiss taller girls (Yellow Pages advert); they are vital to your local search engine optimisation (SEO) campaign in 2019. We’ve put together background information, a citation planner to download and an overview of free business directory listings in the UK for you.


Do people still use online directories to search?

Yes, but they are a minority. Only 12% of consumers use local business directories to find local information compared with 83% that use search engines *1. The reason we advise a wide and accurate local citation portfolio is not because of the searches within those directories. We would advise you to have many citations in local directories to improve your local SEO.

What Is Local SEO? And, Why Is It Important?

Local SEO is the practice of optimising your website and online presence to be found through search engines by potential clients searing in your area. This differs from search engine optimisation (which does also have a positive impact on local SEO) which can attract clients outside your business’ reach. Local SEO improves your ranking in local search results and with 46% of searches on Google’s being local*2; local SEO has never been more important.

Improve your rankings in local search results

How do Local Directory Listings Improve Your Rankings In Local Search Results?

To understand how the UK’s local business directory listings improve your local SEO, you first have to understand the Local Search Ecosystem*3. We have found a diagram for you based on the U.S. which provides a good idea on the structure of business directories. According to this overview , the ecosystem is made up of 4 types;

  • Primary Data Aggregators – These guys, such as Factual and Acxicom collect, vet and validate huge data sets. Search Engines like Google, Bing, and Apple license the primary aggregators’ data.
  • Key Sites in the Ecosystem – Examples include Facebook and Yelp help feed this information to search engines.
  • Geo & Vertical Directories – These directories not only provide your site with increased traffic but feed information to core search engines to further validate your business and its information.
  • Core Search Engines – Google and Bing need no introduction!

By increasing your portfolio of accurate local citations you get;

  • More indicators to search engines of who you are, what you do and where you do it. This helps search engines like Google verify your business and your services. The more “Domain Authority” a directory has, the more influence it has on your local search ranking.
  • A link to your website from a bigger, more authoritative site improves your indexing from search engines and boosts your ranking in local search results.
  • Accurate information to potential clients to aid them find, visit or contact your business.

Tip: Inaccurate data cannot only be an inconvenience for users but can negatively affect your local SEO. Keep your information accurate and consistent by planning your citations using a [citation planner]. Should you ever move, re-brand or change your opening hours or phone number; the citation planner will have a list of directories with your listing and will make life easier for you.

How Do I Add Or Claim Existing Listings?

The process differs between each directory. Thankfully, most sites have really clear and easy-to-follow processes about how to add your business or claim an existing listing. For those that aren’t as clear, or make it seem like there isn’t a free list option; We’ve added some cunning tips, tricks and links to the [list of directories below]. Before you start, Prepare! You will need to;

  • Gather all your business information in a single place. Try our [free citation planner template].
  • When you’ve got all your information together, ensure your business has a page on all the relevant social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn and you have the links to your pages in your planner.
  • Have access to the company email address you wish to publicly list – some directories require you to authenticate your account by replying to the email address you wish to list.
  • Be able to answer a company telephone number you wish to publicly list – some directories require you to authenticate your account by calling you with a verification code.

Listing in 50 directories will more than likely take a weeks work, or more if you aren’t prepared. So make sure you plan and download our free local citation template. Or,  if you simply don’t have the time; you could engage a local SEO specialist to ensure your citation portfolio is large and accurate.

Our FREE Citation Planner

Subscribe to our blog here to dowload our free planner for UK local directories and boost your SEO.


Should You Pay For a Listing?

Some directories charge for premium listings. If the directory is extremely targeted (like an industry specific directory), or you only need a handful of sales to justify the premium listing; a premium listing may pay off. The value we see in these listings is the link to your site and the amount of consistent information you can spread across the web to get noticed.

The Definitive List of Free Local Business Directories in the UK

We have used all of  these directories ourselves so have 1st hand experience with listing a citation in each directory; we have only submitted citations to free business directory listings that work in the UK. If a directory is no longer working or you find it difficult to add a listing, please send us an email and we will update the info in our blog post to keep the list up to date for our readers. We’ve ordered them by domain authority (DA) to help you prioritise your citations.

Skip the table.

97This one needs no introduction. When you search in Google for a local business you will most likely see their my business link with a map and more detailed info about them. To add your business follow this link. To verify the listing they’ll mail you a postcard with a verification code to complete the listing. Some businesses are eligible for email or phone verification and some for or bulk (10+ locations) or instant verification.
LinkedIn97You’ll first need to have a personal account on linkedin. So sign up, then follow the instructions here to add your business
Facebook95Facebook make it really easy to create a page for your business. They’ve even written a really useful section about it here.
Bing Maps94You can easily list your business at Bing Places Similarly to Google, they will mail you a verification postcard. However, if you’re a little more patient and verify with google first, you can simply import your listing from Google 😀
The Sun Online Business Directory94This is managed by Scoot. Simply whiz to Scoot’s add listing page and you will be listed in this directory automatically if eligible.
The Independent Business Directory93This is also managed by Scoot. just like The Sun, go to Scoot’s add listing page and you will be listed in this directory automatically if eligible.
BT The Phonebook93You need to visit this page to send an enquiry to request a listing with these guys. You’ll need to submit a contact number and email you can access to verify.
The Evening Standard Business Directory92Another one managed by Scoot. Head here and you will be listed in this directory automatically if eligible.
The Scotsman Business Directory88Again visit Scoot to be automatically listed in this directory if eligible.
Wales’ Business Directory85Another Scoot-managed directory. Go to Scoot to be automatically listed in this directory if eligible. high authority domain managed by Scoot. Go here to be automatically listed in this directory if eligible.
TomTom83Visit TomTom mapshare tools, create an account and add your business as a place of interest. TomTom will then validate the request and include it in it’s next update.
Yell.com74Once the business directories, Yell is still a big player click here to claim or add a listing
Yelp72Visit this page and click the big red button to claim your business.
Just Landed69A website designed for ex-pats, simply go here and list your business.
192.com64Simply go here to search for your business by post code and either claim or add your listing.
Infobel59Visit their pricing page and click on the “try” button for the free listing, you don’t have to give any credit card details etc. so don’t worry about being charged in future.
Spoke58Click “register” in the top right of the homepage and then click here to list your business.
FreeIndex58Go to their sign up page and register to advertise.
Central Index56Visit here, register and add your business.
Scoot55Although the domain authority isn’t the best, Scoot manages and disitributes the info you provide to other much more powerful directories so it’s well worth going here to add your listing.
Cylex Business Directory UK55Click here to find the registration page and fill in your info.
Global Brownbook55Head straight here and add your business.
Companies In The UK54You need to be registered with companies house for this one. Visit this page and enter your company reg number to fetch your business details.
Relevance53Pretty straight forward, go here and register.
Thomson Local52Go here and fill in your details. Don’t worry too much if you don’t get a notification or response, we didn’t! After emailing their support they told us it takes up to 14 days.
ShowMeLocal.com51Follow this link and set up your citation.
Tupalo50Pop here to add your free listing.
iBegin50iBegan (see what I did there?!) with going here entered the details, easy!
Europages49Go here to sign up
Cybo49Head over here to list your business.
Touch Local48Another Scoot-managed directory. Go to Scoot to be automatically listed in this directory if eligible.
YelloYello47Sign in and submit your listing at here.
Hotfrog47It’s really easy to create your profile by visiting this page.
Storeboard46All you need to do is sign up on the homepage and you’ll be directed as to the type of profile you wish to create. Hit business and enter you info.
MisterWhat42Go to the homepage and click “sign up” in the top right. You will then be able to login and go to “my profile”. You will then be able to click “add company”.
Locallife41Go to this page to create an account.
iGlobal39Go to their add business oage and fill in your details. if your business is already listed here and amend or add your listing. It does take 3 months for them to approve it if you want a free listing!!
UK Small Business Directory37A bit of a weird one. Since “TJ” didn’t get any thank you’s you have to email him for a listing! Visit this here and click on the link to email him to request a listing – don’t forget your pleases and thank yous!!
Dentons37It’s easy, just go here and click “create basic listing”. N.B. for this listing you will need to have a seperate personal email for registration to the one your are using for the public profile.
Where 2 Go35“Go 2” here and follow the steps. if your business is already listed here and amend or add your listing. It does take 3 months for them to approve it if you want a free listing!!
WAND33Visit the homepage and there are two buttons in the middle where you can either “register now” or “update listing”.
The Trade Finder31Visit this page, scroll down a little bit and fill in your details.
Searchme430All you need to do is visit here and register your business
InUKLocal27This one is a bit of a chew… visit this page and use the “local sites finder” at the bottom right to drill down from region, area to the town you wish to advertise in. Go to your town’s page and scroll down and click “Advertise your business (FREE)”. On the next page click “create an account” and away you go.
Opendi24Visit their listing page and submit your listing. up your free listing here.
On OpenStreetMap16Pinpoint your location on the map on their homepage and click “add more details” under the map to add your citation.

Our FREE Citation Planner

Subscribe to our blog here to dowload our free planner for UK local directories and boost your SEO.


What About Industry Specific Directories?

Some industries have extremely useful and authoritative sites you can place a citation. Such as TripAdvisor for Hotels, Restaurants and Tourist Attractions or HomeAdvisor for tradesman and architects. It is well worth researching the directories available in your industry as they may be the most key directories to a successful local SEO campaign.

thanks for reading

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*1 – Consumer Barometer with Google –

*2 – Hubspot –

*3 –

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