Directories still DIRECT business!

Back in the “olden days” of the internet (a.k.a. late 1990’s- early 2000’s), it was easy to get site traffic because, let’s face it, there were fewer websites.  In today’s world just about everyone you know has a website – you, your landscaper, your neighbor’s nephew who fixes PC’s in his basement… we’ve all got a little corner of the internet to ourselves, and one of the biggest challenges for a small business is to drive traffic (especially quality traffic) to your own site.

A great way to help in trafficking quality leads to your website, while maintaining control of your corporate brand, is being listed in trusted online directories that prospects may be turning to directly when in need of a your product or service.

Additionally, these directories may already be ranking in the major search engines for terms your prospects are searching for, and being listed will give you an opportunity  to receive a lead and gain a customer.

The key is to focus on reliable, trusted online directories and sources your prospects may frequent.

Online directories have taken the place of the phone book (when was the last time you used a phone book as anything more than a doorstop?) and have the potential to accurately portray your site’s information and branding across a wide spectrum of viewers.

Here is a list of some great “directories” to be listed in:

  1. Google+ Pages
  2. Bing Business Portal
  3. Yahoo!
  4. Yelp
  5. Merchant Circle
  6. LinkedIn
  7. (YP)
  8. Whitepages
  9. Supermedia
  10. Yellowbook
  11. CitySearch
  12. Mapquest
  13. Biznik
  15. Foursquare
  16. ThinkLocal
  17. CitySlick
  18. USYellowPages
  19. MyCity

Most of these directories make sense, especially the top 3, but don’t be embarrassed if you’ve never heard of Biznik or Supermedia before.

These directories (and there are many more), while largely behind the scenes, can have great potential for influence when the correct information is set up within them.  Directories like MapQuest are essential to be a part of for mobile users, MerchantCircle helps build brand credibility, and sites with a social twist like Foursquare give you the opportunity to allow your customers to advertise for you.

Along with the quality inbound links and the proliferation of your name and branding, directory listings can play a crucial part in helping a site show up favorably in search engine results.  According to an article written by Gregg Stewart and published on August 20th, 2012 on the site, Google trends are showing a correlation between the latest algorithm update (Penguin, released in May 2012) and an increase in internet directory traffic.

We all know that correlation doesn’t prove causation, but it certainly can’t hurt to pay attention to the trends and adjust your local strategy accordingly.

So here are my questions for you:

  • Do you have all your listings up-to-date?
  • What directories is your business currently a part of?
  • What kind of impact do you think various directory listings can have on your business? and
  • Are you tracking leads from various directories in your analytics for attribution?

Quality directories offer a very cost-effective way to establish a foundation for Internet marketing and is especially beneficial in helping new websites get noticed.
They may help your site build traction in an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace and if you are not capitalizing on them today, you may be missing a great opportunity for your business.