Local Is Lekker – Attract South African Customers

In SEO by Andrew Bloch

4 Steps to Get More Business in South Africa

  1. Get a Google My Business Listing.
  2. Register on the Top 5 Free South African Directories.
  3. Get Trusted Reviews.
  4. Ensure Your Website Works on a Phone.

Working in Durban, South Africa, one quickly learns that the hustle is real. Durban is a third world city with access to first world technology. The trouble is the world is moving faster and the average business in Durban doesn’t have the resource to keep up. In a city where everyone lives for a discount and clients expect Black Friday every day, how does a business with limited resources keep up?

Well, Google is the new Yellow Pages. Gone are the days when you name your business something starting with “A” just to appear higher in the Yellow Pages thick book of companies.  

The Digital Age is upon us, it’s well past traditional marketing’s bedtime. Here’s a quick graph to get you excited. This is a snapshot of the results we got for a client in an installation industry in under two months:





Step #1 – Get a Google My Business Listing – Google Wants People to Find You

Coming back from 3 weeks of vacation – this is me busy writing this article at 6:30 am, planning if I can get a haircut before a meeting that I have today.

Sure enough, I turn to Google. 

Here are the results that appeared on my Mac. Interestingly enough, I used to add the location, for instance, “hairdressers Durban”, but recently Google’s been getting really good at understanding your physical location at that moment in time and Google actually changes the search results based on your location to show results that are nearby. So I’ve lived in Westville like my whole life, and sure enough, I didn’t know the first two businesses ever existed or maybe I just never noticed them.

So how do you get your business on “Google My Business”?  It’s an extremely straightforward process, essentially you need to verify that you are located where you say you are.

Once logged into your Google Account visit – Google My Business and click “start”.

Fill in all the fields.

Then verify. Sometimes video call is available which is the quickest option. Alternatively, Google will send you a letter in the post with a verification letter.

Note: if your business is already on Google My Business, you can then just verify by receiving a phone call/OTP on the registered phone number.

Step #2 – Register on the Top 5 Free South African Directories – Send Google Credible Signals

Brabys is a South African free directory site. Registration is a simple process. Once submitting your business, you need to wait for your business to be approved. It has a helpful search engine which allows you to search for a specific type of business within a specific area. In addition to the standard search engine, the site features a Map Search, Telephone Search, Postal Search and Product Search. Making changes is not easy.

African Advice is a South African free directory site. Registration is a simple process. Once submitting your business, you need to wait for your business to be approved. Unfortunately, the site is lacking in keyword/business categories and does not allow you to add your own categories. It also does not accommodate for smaller areas/suburbs when choosing your area. Making changes is not easy. If you need to make a change, you need to “Claim a Business” by resubmitting all necessary information and waiting for approval again. Image uploads are also not available.

Cylex is a South African free business directory site in the form of a community portal. Registration is a 3-step time-consuming process that requires completion in a specific manner. The site features a compose review function where visitors can review products and services that are provided by the listed businesses. The site does not allow for more than one listing of the same company. This is advantageous in that one doesn’t end up with duplicate listings when changes are made. Making changes is not easy.

Hotfrog is a South African free directory site. Registration is a 1-step process. However, the submission form often rejects postal codes or certain addresses. Images may be uploaded once registration is completed.

saYellow is a South African free business directory site which offers various paid campaign upgrade options. Registration is a simple and quick process. After registration, you are able to login to make any necessary changes. The search engine works well.

You might find that you’re already listed on these directories or similar directories. In that case, ensure the following is mentioned 100% the same on your website, Google My Business, Facebook Page and all known Directories.

  • Business Name
  • Business Phone Number
  • Business Address

It’s best to keep these 100% accurate and ensure that those 3 pieces of information are aligned and sending the correct information to Google.

Step #3 – Get Trusted Reviews – We are Tired of Bad Service.

In the South African context, digital reviews are more important than ever before. As the nation transitions to the digital age and electronic payment solutions, reviews are an important trust factor that can be a deciding conversion factor for many users.

Here are some options to leverage, where you can ask your customers to leave an honest review: 

Step #4 – Ensure Your Website Works on a Phone – 71% of South African’s Search on Their Mobile Devices.

According to Statcounter.com December 2017, an average of 71% of South Africans spends their time on a mobile device. To note, mobile is still a growing trend and users expect a “mobile-friendly” experience more than ever.

To throw some technical jargon around. Towards the end of 2016, Google announced it’s mobile-first index, which proceeded to roll out in phases towards the end of 2017. This married with a Google update, unofficially called Pigeon, opened the doors for making it ever so crucial to get a mobile-first locally optimised search experience. Local businesses that have built sites that are mobile-friendly are performing better than their competitors. If your business has recently received less email enquires or phone calls, it’s extremely likely that your Google My Business/Directories have incorrect information or Google doesn’t like the mobile version of your website.

Well, that’s 4 steps to get yourself listed and ranking on Google. If you would like to learn more, join our 1 day SEO Course.