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How to Handle Your Online Directory Listings for Even Better Local SEO
Tenth in a series
You already use online directories as a consumer – as do your customers. So are you making the most of these advantages for your own business?
What online directories are
Last time, we talked about increasing brand recognition through digital networking. Central to your active marketing efforts is the support of online directories. You probably have an idea already what an online directory is, but you might not realize how many directories there are.
Simply, an online directory is a third-party website that has a listing of businesses. There are over 1,000 different online directories, with about 100-150 suitable for businesses in the United States. Not all will be applicable to your specific needs and some wouldn’t accept your listing even if you submitted it.
Directories usually have a focus. For instance, there are industry-specific directories that list law firms, pre-schools, or home remodeling companies. There are also geographic-specific directories such as chambers of commerce or service clubs. And don’t forget mapping websites and other mobile apps.
Why you need to manage online directory listings
There are also several major data aggregators that feed many directories. Even if you have never submitted anything, you may have an online presence because these aggregators crawl around the web, collecting data. The good news is that they push your information onto other third-party websites. The bad news is that, if what they find isn’t accurate, they are pushing bad information about your business onto other third-party websites. This is the biggest reason why you need to manage your listings.
Directory management starts by locating all the places where you are already listed. Check every listing for mistakes, but also be sure that your details are consistent and accurate. For instance, if your business name is “My Business, Incorporated,” that’s how it should be listed and not “My Business, Inc.” or just “My Business.”
Inconsistent details can result in duplicate listings and that’s bad. Your customers can get confused, of course, but more importantly, you wind up competing with yourself in the search engines. With so many other competitors, why make it harder? It can be time-consuming, but you need to remove these duplicates.
At the same time, you can beef up your listings by adding more details, photos, or a logo image. Just keep in mind that not all directories offer these additional opportunities and some may charge for updates.
How accurate online directories help your business
Online directories are an important partner of brand recognition and marketing. In the most basic way, you increase the chances of driving traffic to your business website by listing it in more places. Also, seeing your business listed on a trustworthy website helps prospective customers see you as trustworthy, too.
But beyond that, directories help with your Search Engine Optimization. Correcting your listing information boosts your standing with Google and removing bad duplicates can lessen your competition. Google also gives your website more “points” when you have links from high-quality sites, such as appropriate online directories. Finally, accurate directory listings mean that the aggregators will find and pass along the right information, even when you aren’t actively submitting.
In the early days of SEO, much of this was done by small business owners themselves. It still can be, but it’s a little more complicated than it once was. Systems have been created to make the job easier, and while pricey for an individual to run, they are affordable through agencies like Sprocket Websites. Save yourself the hassle and the expense by letting our team do the work for you. Contact us today to get started with our Multi-Directory Listing Service.
Read the next post in this series.
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I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history. Other posts by Kate Gingold
I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.