Online directories

Online directories

Directory websites are the best and fastest way to get links for many businesses. There are many options available, both paid and free. The best choice for you will depend on your market and business sector. While directories will not instantly improve your ranking, they can be a helpful first step.

Directory websites are the best and fastest way to get links
Directory websites are the best and fastest way to get links

Three reasons are there to have your website listed in directories:

1. Your website’s authority will be increased by linking to directories. This will help you move up in the Google search results.

2. Google may rank your directories higher if they are of high quality and are loved by Google (these are some of the best). Sites like Yelp have seen their pages rank prominently in the past.

3. Potential customers might stumble upon your listing, and call you. However, this is a rare occurrence as most business directories offer little business to their members.

When you search Google for “business directories”, the best directories will be those that appear in Google. It is usually a strong indicator that the site has high quality.

Most directory sites that offer free memberships will have a paid option. This usually promises more visibility and higher search engine rankings for your category. No matter what salesperson says, don’t bother with paid options. I am confident in predicting that there will never be a positive ROI for any paid generic directory listing.

These are ways to increase your Google ranking for your directory listings.

Your target keywords should be included in your descriptions to ensure that they are comprehensive and understandable. To show that your listing is appropriate for both “divorce” and “probate” law, you might list a solicitors firm.

* Add links to your website to the directory description. Use your target keywords for anchor text.

* Make sure your contact details match those on your Google My Business listing. This creates what’s called a “citation” and helps boost your map listing’s rank.

If the directory allows you to add photos and/or videos, opening hours and payment options, then add them. Listings that are fully filled out will be rewarded with higher rankings on the directory’s sites. This also makes it more attractive to visitors and helps you stand out among the generic listings that make up most of the directory.

Market-Specific Directories Versus General Directories

No matter what industry you’re in, there are usually directories online that target your particular market. Local directories will be useful for local businesses that serve customers in a particular area.

Listing in niche directories can be a great idea as they are more relevant than generic directories. Visitors to niche directories are more likely to become qualified leads because they are already focused on your site.

These niche directories can be found by simply searching Google for the keywords you are interested in and adding the word “directory”.

How to spot a spammy directory

There are many directories you don’t want to be associated with. In the SEO glory years (or dark ages, depending on how you look at it), getting as many links possible was the goal. Many ‘SEO directories’ were created. These websites were easy to use and anyone could list their company on them. In many cases, the listing process could be automated. This allowed lazy SEOs (or efficient depending on their perspective) to generate hundreds, or even thousands, of directory listings automatically in a short time.

These directories are quickly stuffed with unrelated websites. Websites that list Viagra suppliers near Texas roofing companies or Australian fashion boutiques will make you happy and almost unique. Google can easily spot junk directories like these: no new content, low authority and no ‘topical relevance’.

While listing your website in these directories does not necessarily mean you will be penalised, it is unlikely that it will add value. These are the signs that a spammy directory is:

* The word “SEO”, can be found anywhere in the directory.

* The URL of this directory is unusual, e.g. www.directory1423.biz

* The main call to action of the site (the primary visitor action) is either “Submit Link”/ “Submit Listing”. Directory sites of high quality are created for searchers and not for people who submit listings.

* Directory listings are messy and difficult to categorize. Visitors are left without any options.

Many directories without a manual review process before publishing a listing are spammed to death. If you want to have one rule that applies to all directories, it is this: don’t list on directories where your listing will go live immediately. A human should review the listing before it goes live. This keeps spammers out and preserves the integrity of the directory.