Are Online Directories the Only Real Authority?
Well, they are real and they are authorities, as far as your customer is concerned. And as far as Search Engines are concerned. (SEO)
Everyone is familiar with Google My Business, Yahoo Local, Bing, Manta, Yellow Pages, Super Pages, the list goes on and on. Any time you do a search, you will find results from a number of online directories. Many will offer a list of the top 5 or top 10 companies.
If you are looking to increase the number of visitors to your website and increase your sales, your journey should include directories for business. Most offer a free business listing and will add credibility to your brand.
So let’s dig into why Online Directories can be your best friend if you are looking for consistent and sustainable leads and customers.
- Actions per online search grew by 20.1% from 2017 to 2018.
- More actions (to call, get directions, appointments, and clicks to a website) are taking place in search results.
- New reviews for business almost doubled from 2017 to 2018.
- An increase of 87% in review volume shows consumers are leaving feedback online.
- Local Pages are where the action is. (Think Local SEO)
- Actions like booking appointments, placing orders, and asking for information, were up 30.4% in 2018.
You may have thought the internet was in full bloom.
You think people understand what they can do on the internet, but they are only getting started.
Since the early ’90s, the business website was it for customers. People would go to the website and navigate to find the information they needed.
Now we have search engines and social media and voice search and who knows what is coming next? (How do they know I visited a website for fishing supplies?)
Add to that, you have a lot of competition out there fighting for the same customer you are.
People are using the magic of search engines to find solutions to their problems. Primarily led by Google My Business, Bing, Yahoo Local, SuperPages, Manta, & Yellow Pages. These are general directories that carry a lot of weight online.
Now, by the time they get to a website, they’re ready to buy and go straight to a landing page, bypassing the homepage entirely. We’ve learned that gaining customers is no longer on the website, it’s the search engine results.
There are also industry-specific directories like Houzz, Angie’s List, and Home Advisor for the home repair industry. We’ve all seen their ads, and they can be a good source of leads. There are directories for just about any type of business you are in.
Industry-specific directories are a little tougher to set up (they require more marketing skill, and usually require a fee for all the benefits), so I would set them aside until you get the basic directories set up.
Most local businesses are looking to increase their sales revenue. If you are not looking to get more customers, then you need not read any farther. Go watch the latest cat video.
So how does this help to get you more customers?
You have to be easy to find. And today, that means search (engine) page results. And being at the top (or at least the top 5) is the place to be.
Now, I am not going to tell you that getting on directories will put you on the top of the list. It takes a lot more than just directories. But I can tell you that without directory listings, you will never be on top.
Most people never go to the second page of search results, many don’t even scroll past the first few listings. You had better be close to the top if you want to be seen.
So what are Online Directories?
Here is the description as given by Wikipedia:
A web directory or link directory is an online list or catalog of websites. That is, it is a directory on the World Wide Web of (all or part of) the World Wide Web. Historically, directories typically listed entries on people or businesses and their contact information. Directories have authority in search engines.
This is where things get good.
Directory Submission is a part of SEO. Directory Submission is a process to create backlinks of your website by using directory submission sites. …
So directory submission is one of the fastest, best and effective ways to get high rank in search engines (SERP’s).
Directory submission is a widely practiced SEO tool because it is very effective in getting good page rank and good position in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page. You want to be on page #1). If you do it in the right way, it will be a valuable source of good links to your website.
Being listed in important directories helps your search engine visibility because it counts as an incoming link, which is one of the variables in the search engine’s algorithm.
If you are serious about increasing your website’s visibility and increase traffic, it is important to have inbound links pointing to your website.
Why Directory Listings Matter as a Part of Your Local SEO Strategy
Each directory has a slightly different theme and set up, but they will all help you achieve higher search engine page rankings, build trust, and host your online reviews.
If you are strategizing your local SEO campaign, be sure that you’re including directory listings in the mix. They have numerous local SEO advantages that will give your company’s presence a boost in the search engines.
For businesses that don’t have a lot of content on their website, and haven’t invested in an SEO strategy, being listed on the right set of directories may help your business show up on page 1 even if your website doesn’t.
Your listing on sites like Google My Business, Yelp, Bing, and Yahoo as well as industry-specific sites, just might show up on the first page.
How to Properly Submit Your Business Listings
Business owners typically think that it is easy to post directory listings. While it’s certainly a simple process, there are three primary factors:
Search Engines hate inconsistent and inaccurate directory listings. Because errors in the data cause confusion with your customers and with the search engines as well.
Something simple like a typo in your phone number or business address can spell trouble, and the search engines will probably downgrade your position in the SERPs (search engine ranking page).
So you tell me you’ve already got a Google My Business listing?
Well good for you Peanut! So do all of your competitors. It is what else you do that will set you apart from them. That’s what will help you show up for the game and come out a winner.
Please don’t DIY
You all know I am not a big fan of businesses going all DIY for a number of reasons including your time is better spent elsewhere and it is not your specialty. You want an expert doing this for you right?
The bottom line is you have to be consistent and accurate with your NAP (name, address, phone) information everywhere on the internet. It is one of the best practices for enhancing your exposure online and getting the most out of SEO.
It’s no secret that directory listings can increase your local SEO, there are numerous other benefits that will help grow your business and your reputation online.
Want Free (well, almost) Advertising?
= Directory Listings
Marketing your business is essential to growth, and you don’t want to cut corners when it comes to getting extra exposure.
Directory listings are an affordable method of getting your business name in front of customers.
Build Your Brand’s Image? = Directory Listings
A major benefit of local business listings is branding your company name. Your competition is flooding the market, and it is tough to cut through all the noise.
Directory listings make your business look as attractive as possible to customers. Your listing should give the ability for customers to leave positive reviews, and help build your brand even further. 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal referrals.
As a business owner, it’s important to get your name in front of as many of the right people (you’ve heard me say this before) as possible.
An Adweek survey shows 81% of customers conduct research online before buying from a company. Directory listings give your customers the ability to research your brand, from finding your contact information to reading reviews from happy customers.
Managing Your Directory Listings and Online Reviews
So are you still thinking you want to go all DIY on me?
Let me break it down for ya Buttercup:
- Just like social media and your website, don’t let your listings become stagnant.
- Take advantage of directory listings to publish photos and update them regularly.
- The more content that you can add to listings, the better presence you build online.
- You’ll want to pay close attention to all reviews that are left on your directory listings.
- Listings such as Yelp and Angie’s List allow customers to leave reviews about your company, and they won’t always be in your favor.
- Reputation management is vital to your brand’s image, it’s something that you don’t want to take lightly.
- Take the time to respond to each comment, whether it’s positive or negative. Be sure to remain professional and polite as possible, customers will be judging on how you deal with critical feedback.
- Now, with hundreds of directories out there, just choosing the right ones is going to eat up a lot of your time. (You should be on 50-80 at least.)
- You can count on 60-80 hours to do this right. Mistakes will cost you dearly.
- Add to that the time it takes to update each one (exactly the same) at the same time on a regular basis, at least monthly. More if you want to list sales or special offers, etc.
- You should plan for at least 20-30 hours each month.
The good news is there are people out there that do this for a living! They have the experience, knowledge, and software to handle all of this for you. They will do it right, accurately, and consistently. Plus, they will do it at a reasonable rate.
The Bottom Line
Now that you know the ins and outs of directory listings, it’s time to get started boosting your SEO and enhancing your business presence online. You will get more visitors to your website, more calls, more appointments, and most of all more sales!
I would suggest you go for a monthly plan. It will reduce the upfront investment and you will be sure that each month updates are made. Most will even send you a report so you can see how much better you look (online).
If you have trouble finding someone to do this for you, just drop me a line. I will be glad to introduce you to people in the know.
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