Why You Should Consider Listing Your Small Business in an Online Directory

Apart from the concept that online directories will increase the amount of exposure your website gets and help with your SEO strategies, they are also a very effective way to directly target potential customers. Online directories make it easy for online users to find something they want. According to a study performed by Burke, 8 out of 10 people will use a print or online directory to find companies or products they are looking for. The same study also suggested that 8 out of 10 people who use these directories to locate a business do so with the intent to purchase a product or service from them. This is a very effective form of targeted advertising. The customer already needs or wants your product or service and you can directly target them by listing your website in an online directory.

Another reason why you should consider listing your small business has to do with your Return On Investment or ROI. Since the potential benefits of getting increased website traffic are great compared to how much you will have to spend to list your website in an online directory, you can see a great return on your investment in the form of increased revenue. You also want to keep your brand and your company name in the minds of consumers at all times, which is something else that an online directory can help with.

What Online Directories Should You Use for Your Small Business?

Even though listing your website in many online directories will improve your website’s exposure and SEO ranking, it is not effective to just SPAM your website into every single online directory you can find. You will want to take some time to consider which specific online directories will give you the best ROI. The best option is to find a great combination of directories to join. If you run a small business the best place to start may be with a local directory. This is because most people will search for businesses in their area they can patronize. Local market and niche-specific online directories can offer extremely targeted advertisements to potential local customers.

After your business is listed in these directories you can take a look at the larger and potentially more expensive general-interest directories. You will probably want to consider listing with the top 10 online directories, as these will be used by a lot of people and will offer higher relevancy and authority in the eyes of search engines. Google Places and Google Maps are large general-interest directories that you will want to list your small business in. If your website sells tangible goods you may also want to consider listing it in comparison shopping websites and product listings directories. Studies show that 42% of consumers will look at a comparison shopping website before they decide to purchase a specific product.

The best way to figure out which specific online directories your small business should be listed in is to start with your competitors. Take a look at your local and niche-specific options and figure out if your competition is already listed. If they are you need to be listed too. If they are not listed you may want to list your website as a way to beat them to the punch. In some situations it may not make sense for you to have a listing in a specific online directory, even if your competitors are listed in it. Your goal should be to be listed in every relevant and niche-specific directory you can find as well as many of the major directories, but no so many directories that you appear SPAMMY.

In addition to listing your website in online directories, you also need to maintain these listings. It is important for your online directory listings to be up to date and accurate, or else you could just be wasting your time. If your directory information seems out of date your customers will probably look elsewhere.

It will probably take some time to see the results of listing your small business’s website in so many online directories, but eventually you will see results. The best way to find the perfect combination of online directory listings for your business is to use some sort of tracking or analytics system. You will want to be able to see how many people clicked on your website links from within the directory and if your website has shown increased traffic since then. You will want to stop wasting your time with online directories that are not producing results and increase the time and effort you spend on online directories that are productive.

Best Practices for Listing Your Small Business in Online Directories

Now that you understand why your small business should be listed in online directories and have started locating the directories that you want to be listed in, you are ready to begin creating your business listings for submissions. Here are some tips and best practices for listing your small business in online directories.

  • Start by choosing local directories and directories that are niche-specific. So if you own a model airplane hobby shop in Phoenix, make sure you find a local Phoenix business directory and a directory that is related to model airplanes. If you can find a model airplane hobby directory for the Phoenix area, you are all set.
  • Once you’re in local directories, start searching for larger and more generalized directories. Pick directories that get a lot of traffic and that are listed highly on major search engines like Google. A higher search engine ranking means that the directory will be considered as both authoritative and relevant in the eyes of search engines, making any links you get through these directories more valuable to your SEO strategy.
  • Include all of the relevant information regarding your small business in your website’s directory description. This should include your business’s name, location, telephone number, contact information and possibly reviews, business hours and anything else that is relevant. Add in photos, maps or other interactive features if the directory lets you.
  • Try to keep your information consistent across all of your online directory listings. This will help your website to retain its credibility in the eyes of search engines and will assist with your SERP rankings.
  • Try to make your business stand out by offering an explanation of your business or any specific message the customer should know in your description.
  • Keep all of your information up to date. This may mean frequently updating all of your listings several times per month.
  • Allow customers to leave positive reviews and use them in your listing if the directory allows it.
  • Always be professional and consistent with your business’s listings and message. This includes any information regarding your brand.
  • If you sell products or services to a local market, make sure your business is listed in a local business directory. Include geo-specific keywords and information. An example would be: “Dave’s Model Plane Shop” + “Phoenix”.
  • Optimize your website for SEO purposes and include the relevant keywords in your meta titles and listing descriptions. Keyword research is important.

Get Listed in the Top 15 Online Directories

Now is a great time to get your small business listed in the Top 15 Online Directories. There are few other Internet marketing techniques that will offer so many benefits for such a small investment on your part. Listing your business in an online directory will increase your website’s online presence and help more people find you, which can help you increase your business’s revenue.