The primary purpose of SEO is to increase your company’s online visibility. The idea is to make it easy for potential clients to find your company, products, and services. Typically, improved visibility requires SEO tactics designed to rank targeted keywords higher than your competition. While on-site SEO impacts rankings, there are also other methods of increasing visibility, such as online directories.
What Are Online Directories?
Online directories such as Yelp, EZLocal, and Apple Maps are essentially the modern version of the phone book. Each directory contains detailed information about websites such as name, phone number, address, and domain. There are general directories and industry-specific directories. Each listing provides a backlink to your site and tells Google that you are a legitimate business. There are thousands of directory listings, and while some charge for their premium services, almost all of them offer a free listing.
How Does Listing in an Online Directory Affect SEO?
Online directory listings not only establish legitimacy for your business but they help you appear in non-branded searches. Studies show that 85% of people use the internet as a means to find local businesses. However, when they make this search, they often are looking for a service or topic rather than a specific company. Online directories categorize businesses by industry and service and your listing will often pop up for a related search. Because of the visibility of the online directories, these types of listings may generate more leads than a company’s website.
For example, a local carpenter may have more exposure on Home Advisor than he would with his own website, or a dog groomer’s Facebook listing might outrank the website listing. Ideally, a business will have multiple channels for reaching leads. Directory listings and a website are just two of the tools available.
How To Choose The Right Directory Listing
Let’s assume, after reading this, that you want to take advantage of online directories for more visibility, but you don’t know where to start. There are two ways to go about it. You can manually create the listings yourself or you can use a listing management service. Some services can cost as much as $1000/year but there really is no need for that. For a local business, your most important listing is your Google Business Listing and you can easily claim and verify that yourself. If your market is national or international, then a Google Business Listing is less important (and there are arguments for not using it at all). We recommend managing your Google Business Listing manually. Make sure to fill out as much information as you can and post to it regularly.
Apart from Google, we like to use a listing management service like SEMRush/Yext. For around $480/year you can push your information to over 70 directories, both general and industry-specific. There is one interface for updating information, so you don’t have to keep track of multiple logins and accounts. With the push of a button, you can easily update all your listings at once.
For local businesses and new businesses especially, directory listings are a must. It’s too easy for disgruntled clients or competitors to submit false information to one of the directories without you knowing. Having control in one place ensures that you are notified immediately and can react accordingly.
Our team can help you sign up for local listing management of your online directories at a reduced rate by passing along our agency discounts. We do everything we can to work with our clients to make web design and online marketing affordable. Contact us for more information.