You’re Already Online: How Taking Advantage of Business Directories Can Boost Your SEO
What Are Business Directories?
In the old days, phone books would cold call businesses in their area to solicit information to include in their listings. It’s really a win-win: phone books are only as useful as they are comprehensive, and businesses need to attract customers. When the internet launched, most phone book companies went out of business because they failed to digitize. In the meantime, tech startups built their own directories, interfaces, and brands from scratch, leaving companies like Sears in the dust.
Google+, Yelp, Angie’s List, and YellowPages are just a few national business directories online today that place businesses on the digital map. Google, Bing, and Yahoo favor these services because they are comprehensive, consistent, and user-friendly. That’s why you’re likely to find a listing for your company on these pages ranked much higher in a search engine than your own website.
Business directories are largely advantageous for consumers, and, of course, the directories themselves. They do a great job promoting themselves on search rankings so you don’t have to. But between the dozens of national and local directories available online, there is a lot of potential for promoting your own brand if you can take ownership of your own listings.
The first thing you want to do is create some listings of your own. Make your own Google+ page, LinkedIn account, and Facebook profile. Plug in all of your personal information, including address and phone number, the services you render, branding, etc.
Next, explore some of the listings that already exist. Is the information correct? If not, reach out to the directories in question and provide your updating contact information. Having consistent information on these directories is paramount for Google search ranking. Inconsistent information is bad for users, and your online reputation will be punished for it, even if you didn’t do it yourself.
Finally, consult this list (http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/10322/The-Ultimate-List-50-Local-Business-Directories.aspx) of business directories and reach out to them with your company’s information. Some are free, others cost between $10 and $500 to signup, and even require annual fees. Certain directories are tailored to specific industries, and others are more general.
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Depending on the number of listings you find in your name, the previous instructions could take anywhere from a day to a year. For large businesses with minimal online activity, this can be a full-time job for a digital marketing internship. We promise it’s worth it in the end.
Why? Correcting the information in these directories will draw users to your website, creating numerous backlinks that are very good for search engines. Google, for instance, likes to see that users are being directed to your site from numerous, unaffiliated sources. The more you can generate with business directories, the better.
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