How Online Directories Help Your Business
How Online Directories Help Your Business
I recently hosted a Twitter Chat on this topic, and some of the discussion from that chat will be used in this article. Also at the very bottom I will be offering a FREE online directory template that I created to keep track of my own online directory submissions.
What is an online directory?
An online directory is a website that lists business and website information for users searching for them to find. Think of the old school phone book or paper version of the Yellow Pages in an online format. Popular online directories include Yelp, Yellow Pages (online), and industry specific ones such as Angies List or Houzz.
What is an online directory listing?
An online directory listing is the specific information available on an online directory about one business. So when you submit your business to an online directory, it will create an online directory listing for your business specifically. Depending on the website your online directory listing may include your business name, address, phone number, short description, category, logo and possibly more.
What are the benefits to listing my business on an online directory?
There are many benefits to including online directories in your digital marketing strategy. The biggest one is that when a high ranking website includes a link to your website on theirs, it creates a high quality backlink that is one of the many ranking factors that Google uses to rank a website. So the number one benefit to getting your website linked on an online directory is for SEO.
Other benefits include having your business be found for specific searches both on Google and on these online directory websites. Online directory listings are not only good for SEO for your website, but they will also send traffic and potential customers directly to your business.
How to use online directories to grow your business
So how do you get started? Really it is up to you how often or how many online directory sites you submit your business listing to. The best practice is going to be quality over quantity. So even if you work with just a small number to start, the benefits will be immediate to your business and your website.
I suggest starting with a small list of the most popular online directories such as Yelp, Yellowpages, and perhaps some of your local business directories if your business is local. For example here in Orangeville we have www.shoporangeville.com and www.orangeville.com that are quick and easy places to list a business.
Before you get started I find it incredibly helpful to have a standard and consistent information cheat sheet so that when you sign up for a directory listing you use the same information, as much as possible, in all listings. So have handy your business name, logo, tagline, address & phone & email you want publicized. A short and a long bio or description. (Pro tip: Use Keywords in all of your business directory listings)
When you have all of your information ready, then you can simple go to each online directory site you wish to submit your business to and get started. Each of them will be slightly different, so be patient with yourself and work through them at your own pace.
A good goal in my opinion is to gain one to three good quality backlinks per month for SEO purposes. So even if you worked on adding just one directory listing per month you will see benefit fairly quickly. Remember SEO is a long term strategy of your business marketing efforts, it is never going to be done, nor is it ever going to be done overnight.
How to manage your online business directories
Once you get started on adding your website or your business to online directories it is highly suggested that you keep track of everywhere that your business is listed. Trust me on this from someone who has made the mistake of not keeping track. The risk you face if you don't keep track is when there is a change to your business it is very difficult to circle back and update all of your online directory listings if you didn't keep track of the logins.
What are some ways to manage online business directories?
- Use a special file folder or email folder
- Keep track in a spreadsheet
- Use Trello or Asana
Other notes about online directories
Some other great discussion came out of our Twitter Chat including when seeking out places to list your business see if there are other opportunities for collaboration. Do they accept guest blogs or press releases on their website? Perhaps as part of the directory listing you can publish posts?
In closing there are many benefits to including submitting your business to online directories that include but are not limited to - better search engine optimization (SEO) from quality backlinks, drive traffic to your website from others, lead generation.
The challenge is to set aside a little bit of time in your marketing calendar to manage these listings, to properly keep track, and to explore new opportunities on a regular basis.
I have put together a template in Google Sheets that I have started using with an initial list of 20 FREE business directories you can list your business on. You can get started today!
If you are looking to outsource this task - the SEO team at Dufferin Media include this as part of their amazing SEO Package.