Does listing your business on directories helps SEO?

Does listing your business on directories helps SEO?[ 6 min read ]

Part of the SEO strategy for our clients is to check if they’re on numerous directories – both standard business ones and niche industry-specific ones. And now we’re going to tell you why you should be listing your business on online directories and how it can help your search engine ranking.

Firstly, Google has stated in the past that listing on directories itself doesn’t directly affect your ranking; they do like links back to your website from other sites, but given directories can easily be set up purely to be used for this purpose, they don’t use this as a big ranking factor so people can’t ‘cheat’. But, listing on good quality directories can help in other ways, especially in the long term.

To be found by customers

This one might seem a little obvious, but remember the Yellow pages? Old paper based directories used to rule the roost with businesses even naming themselves to try to appear on the first page – like ‘AA Taxi Service’ for example.
But the big wodges of paper have now, in the main, migrated to online directories (and thank goodness! Think of the trees!) which are still used if people want to find a service provider. And, most likely, that person would visit your website to check you out…resulting in a traffic boost.
Not only that, these larger businesses spend a lot to get their website up the rankings so your listing stands a better chance of being seen by your potential customers.

To strengthen your reputation

Search engines want to deliver the best list of results to their users, and part of their ranking is establishing the website’s reputation – are they a real business, are they well used, trusted and liked etc
If you’re business is listed on several well-known, well-trusted directories they give your website a bit of kudos. And, the longer they’ve been listed the better.
Some directories even have an area for online reviews, and these can influence the ‘trust factor’ for your customers. Hopefully, they’ll visit your website to find out more or to get in touch.

Hints and tips for listing on directories

So before you start listing your business, read our handy hints and tips for getting the most from each listing.

1. Make sure it’s a reputable and credible directory

Usually, these are the big well known ones like Google My Business, Yell, FreeIndex and industry specific ones like Trust a Trader.
If they’re not as well known, or it’s ‘free to list’ with immediate publication (i.e. no moderation for spammy sites) or they’ve just sprung up, or they’re messy and full of ads…they may not be seen as ‘reputable’ in the eyes of Google, Bing etc.
But, if they have an ‘approval process’ or even charge for the privilege of the listing, then chances are they are little better. Do your research before adding your listing.
Another way to judge is to see if they offer any other services – like business promotion, blogging facilities, event listings etc. They’re more likely to be looked on as favourable rather than sites that are just a list of phone numbers and website addresses.

2. Make sure your listings are consistent

They all need to have the same information on – same address, same business name (i.e. My Company LTD rather than one with My Business and one with Business LTD). Include the same phone number, same email etc. The description can be different, especially if different sections of your markets will visit different directories – always speak to your audience in their tone of voice.

3. Include everything! Especially your website address!

Filling out the listing forms can be tedious and sometimes it’s easier to think ‘I’ll come back later to fill in the detail’…. let’s face it, you’re busy, you’ll probably forget.
Complete the listing as much as you can even if that means you only get to do one listing done at a time.
Have images, social media links, and different length ‘blurbs’ ready to make life easier for you as you’ll be less likely to complete the listing if you have to go find an image or write a paragraph.

4. Expect sales calls

Most directories will try to upsell to you, which is fine – after all, it’s how they make money to keep going. Just keep in mind you may not need the extra services so do your research and ask around before committing to anything – especially over the phone!

5. Keep a list

Again, you’ll forget what directories you’re on over time. Keep a list of everywhere you’ve registered (and their username/passwords) so that you can update your listing if things change or remove your listing if you feel that directory is doing more harm than good.

6. Try and get reviews

If the directories offer a review function, try and get as many as possible. Some, like Trust a Trader, rely on reviews to get your listing seen – obviously, customers are more likely to choose the plumber with 5 reviews than one with none.

7. Uses widgets and badges

Some bigger directories have embed widgets or badges to add to your website and say you’re a part of their network – and sometimes will automatically show your review score. Again, using Trust a Trader as an example, by putting their badge on your website helps the customer research you and your work before buying your services.

8. Search for yourself

Some directories, not necessarily the good ones either, will scrape data from the internet and add a listing for you. Usually this information is outdated, and sometimes they don’t let you change the listing (look for a ‘claim this listing’ link). If this is the case, either claim and update the listing or ask them to remove it. If all else fails you can ask Google/Bing to disavow the link (essentially telling them that you don’t want to be linked to that site) but that’s not always guaranteed and should be used as a last resort.

If this all sounds like a headache to you then check out our SEO packages so we can do all of the hard-work for you!

Suzi Smart Bear

I'm Suzi - the owner of The Smart Bear.

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