(6 minute read)
Many small service business owners know about online business directories, but might not understand how advantageous they are to their business.
Online directories are not just a digital version of the Yellow Pages, where you have to flip through pages to find what you’re looking for. They are comprehensive platforms that enable users to instantly identify, learn about, and contact businesses relevant to them and what they searched for.
They can do it from anywhere, at anytime from their smartphone and Google. It only takes a few seconds.
“How Many Searches Do You Do a Day”
This article will help you understand online business directories and the specific ways they benefit your small business.
An online business directory refers to any online database that connects users with relevant businesses. Directories contain a diverse range of information on each business, however some may have a primary focus. Some of the more specific focuses of an online directory might be to:
Online business directories can take the form of a website, app, and/or other platform. They exist on the web, social media platforms, smart phones, and even on specific devices.
There are many FREE online directories in which to list your business. Some are free but require additional payment for special features, such as multiple locations or categories, including a website link or call to action, removing ads from your listing, or adding photos and video.
Google My Business is the one most business do at first. But, many business owners have duplicate copies and this hurts their list ranking.
Some business owners mistake online directories as massive databases where their listing will just get lost in internet space. True story, these platforms have enormous benefits for small businesses.
If you search for your business name on the internet, you will likely see your business show up in directories for which you never submitted a listing. This is because many business directories today pull from other larger directories and automatically create listings. This can be a good thing, as long as the listing is correct and matches the info that you have elsewhere on the internet.
This means that getting listed in one directory, usually means getting listed in several more, allowing you to kill a few birds with one stone. On the flip side, sometimes the information doesn’t transfer over properly. It’s very important to check, claim, and update your listings regularly. Which can be difficult, time-consuming and stressful, if you don’t even know what lower tiered directory has pulled your info. So you have to search and run checkups.
Some online business directories are huge, but have advanced filtering and suggestion capabilities, and connect you with your target audience. As a local business, directories are beneficial because they make your business visible to your local community.
Many online business directory allows users to search by specific criteria, such as service, location, and category. By simply entering complete and accurate information in your listing, the directory will then connect your business to the people searching for it, even if they don’t directly search your business name. This is very beneficial because most people don’t know to search a specific business name or the specific service they need.
Most online business directories have a customer review component (Yelp, Google, etc.), word of mouth has always been a trusted source for consumers. With real-time and sharing capabilities of mobile devices, customers can now publish reviews in seconds. People seek and trust online customer reviews today more than ever, so get listed in online business directories and you’ll be placed in a direct channel to your target audience.
NOTE: Online reviews are favorable for SEO and the help you rank higher in search results.
The fear of negative reviews prevents many businesses from getting listed online, but this shuts them off from getting positive reviews too, which are essential for an excellent reputation. As long as you know how to properly handle a critical review, the benefit of many positive reviews outweighs one negative review. Plus, a mix of reviews can even help your reputation, as it shows that you are a genuine, healthy company that has nothing to hide and responds to reviews, when possible.
When a user performs a search in an online business directory, it will display a list of relevant results, each with a brief snapshot so that you can decide which one to click on to learn more. This means that even if a user doesn’t click on your listing, they still see your business. Every encounter a person has with your business increases their awareness of your company, which can lead to further engagement.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of providing your web content in such a way that search engines will favor it and rank it higher in the search results. Search engines want to be trusted by its users, so the more information it gathers about your website, and the more consistent that information is, the better you will rank. Online business listings are a great way to support your existing information, plus give it more credit.
It is possible to get on the first page of Google through SEO practices, but it can take a few months to start seeing results. Online business directory sites, on the other hand, have been around for a while, have high amounts of traffic, and are mostly trusted by search engines. Since Google likes these characteristics, its first page of search results regularly shows pages from online directories. If you get listed in an online business directory, you have a chance of benefitting from their well-established SEO and showing up on the first page of Google.
And it does that in two ways. First, by association, because when potential customers see your business in the directory, it gives them proof you are a legitimate business. Not a fly-by-night. Business directory listings have become a key part of your online identity or footprint. The other way in which it boosts your authority is by the value the search engines place on the links from the business directory back to your own website. Having these ‘back links’ as they are called, will move your website higher up the search rankings.
Small businesses also face tough competition. A directory listing gives your business more recognition than those who have no online presence. Customers can contact you directly from most directories to know more about your services. This is one advantage of local online directories.
Find out more about our Local SEO Services by Contractor Marketing Network. This service is a cross between a bodybuilder for its power listings, detailed like an artist for its information scanning and a mad scientist how it tracks data.
Online business directories have tremendous benefits, and neglecting them can actually hurt your business.
So get listed,