Many small businesses still rely upon their yellow pages listings to some degree for business referrals. A business’s listing data is not only found online in the internet yellow pages, but that same data feeds into the local search engines like Google Maps, Yahoo! Local, Live Local Search, and a myriad of other directory sites and local info sites.

A really simple way to increase your small or medium business’s (“SMB”s) exposure on the internet is to insure that your business listings are associated with as many apropos categories in online directories as possible.

While it seems a no-brainer, many SMBs neglect to check how various online sites have categorized them, and as a result get ineffectively and insufficiently displayed throughout the internet.

Back when I worked for a major online yellow pages company, I recall how one of our data aggregators had attempted to automatically categorize a great many non-classified establishments by using words in the business name. While this worked to some degree, a bunch of businesses were put into the wrong category. For instance, they’d shoved all businesses with the word “garden” in the name into “Garden & Lawn Supply” categories, but there are a lot of restaurants with names like “China Garden” that got lumped in with them!

So, today’s Local Search Engine Optimization Tip is easy: go out to the top online directory sites such as Superpages.com, Yellowpages.com, Yellowbook.com, Google Maps, Local.com, Yelp.com, DexKnows.com, Yahoo! Local.com, and any others you’d expect to find your business in, claim your listing(s), and check to see if they’re in the proper business categories!

Choosing Categories in Google Local Business CenterMany internet yellow pages allow you somewhere on the order of five category associations for free, so you should be able to update and enhance your listing in these services for free.

Try not to limit yourself to just two categories — if the directory site has a rich taxonomy, you may be able to find a number of categories that are exactly right for you business.

Imagine, if your company is only in one category and/or a wrong category, just by fixing this business categorization you could increase your referral rate by a few times over!