1.) Online business directories are very beneficial for small businesses. You just have to know how they work.
An online business directory is a website submission service that allows your small business's website to be added to a specific category where it can be searched for by interested visitors. These searchable online directories allow their visitors to search for websites and businesses that they find interesting or that they want to learn more about. Listing your small business on an online directory increases your website's visibility on the web and helps to create inbound links to your business' website. Online directories make it easy for people to find what they are looking for. All they have to do is jump online, which means that people could find your business' website from their home, office or even while traveling.
2.) Want to know how online business directories work?
The concept of online directories is actually a pretty simple one. Online directories are very similar to the printed Yellow Pages in the real world, only these listings are only online. (Actually Yellow Pages.com is now also one of the largest online directories as well.)
An online business directory is just a listing place for a number of websites. Any type of website could be listed in an online directory. Some online directories are huge and cover every topic that someone could create a website for, while others are very small and specific to a specific niche. This means that online directories will direct you to just about any website that you want to find. All you have to do is perform a search in the online directory for a specific topic, or browse through the various categories until you find the type of websites you are looking for. When you perform a search you will be given a list of all of the websites that relate to your search term. You will be presented with a number of links to these websites and each link will have a short description of what you are likely to find on the website. You can read the descriptions and choose to click on the website that best suits you.
3.) Being listed in an online business directory can give your small business more exposure!
Exposure is important for all business marketing strategies. After all, the more people who are exposed to your business the more people are likely to utilize your business's services. If online viewers are not able to see your website, they probably do not even know it exists and they are probably not going to purchase your products or services. Listing your business' website in online directories helps your website to gain exposure. Thousands of people use online directories every day to find things that they are interested in. These are people who are actively searching for websites that are directly related to your products or services. They are already looking- all you have to do is make it easy for them to find you. Online directories will expose your business to more online visitors, which could increase traffic to your website.
4.) Being listed in an online business directory can also boost your SEO efforts!
Online directories offer multiple search engine optimization, or SEO, benefits as well. Firstly, these online directories offer you more inbound links. When an online visitor sees your website link in an online directory, they will be able to click on it and be immediately re-directed to your website. This is a great way to increase traffic. It is a great way to improve your status in the eyes of search engine crawlers, too. The more backlinks that a search engine crawler can find, the higher they will rank your website. This is especially true of authoritative online directories. Being linked to a major online directory, such as Google My Business, will give your website more relevancy in the eyes of Google's search engine crawlers. This will result in a higher page ranking on the SERP. As you know, a higher search engine result page rank you get, the more people are going to click on your website link.
5.) Where's the best place to start looking at online directories you should be in? Start with your competitors!
You will probably want to consider listing with the top 10 online business directories, as these will be used by a lot of people and will offer higher relevancy and authority in the eyes of search engines. Google My Business is a large general-interest directory that you will want to list your small business with. If your website sells tangible goods, you may also want to consider listing it in comparison shopping websites and product listings directories. Studies show that 42% of consumers will look at a comparison shopping website before they decide to purchase a specific product.
The best way to figure out which specific online directories your small business should be listed in is to start with your competitors. Take a look at your local and niche-specific options and figure out if your competition is already listed. If they are, you need to be listed too. If they are not listed, you want to list your website anyway as a way to beat them to the punch. In some situations it may not make sense for you to have a listing in a specific online directory, even if your competitors are listed in it. Your goal should be to be listed in every relevant and niche-specific directory you can find as well as many of the major directories, but not so many directories that you appear as spam.
6.) Listings are important, but they're just the beginning. You also want to make sure you have reviews!
Local listings in online business directories are a great way to market your company and get the word out about your business and what you do. However, if you do not have any positive reviews within those local listings they can do more harm than good. This is because when reviewing all the different businesses within your industry or category, users will always look to the reviews to give them a better idea of the service and quality of product they can expect. And if you do not have any reviews but your competition's page is filled with positive reviews, you're sending customers directly to them instead of to you. You can get more reviews by using surveys, providing incentives, having a table with the review site already up to hand over to customers, responding to reviews already up, and by knowing when and where to refer customers.
7.) Remember that once you're listed you need to track, track, track!
It will probably take some time to see the results of listing your small business' website in so many online directories, but eventually you will see results. The best way to find the perfect combination of online directory listings for your business is to use some sort of tracking or analytics system. You will want to be able to see how many people clicked on your website links from within the directory and if your website has shown increased traffic since then. You will want to stop wasting your time with online directories that are not producing results and increase the time and effort you spend on online directories that are productive.
In summary, here are 3 critical reasons why your business must take advantage of the top online business directories to help you get more customers.
- Maximize Exposure: Every day potential customers are searching for businesses in your area to help solve their problems. And more times then not they're finding these businesses on online directories.
- Social Proof: When prospects find a business online they read reviews to make sure they're making a good decision. Having customers post positive reviews on your listing will build tremendous credibility and prove to everyone that you're a reliable business that can be trusted.
- Low Cost: Most of the top online business directories are free to use. Making it one of the best marketing values your business can have.