If you were born in the 1990s or earlier, you probably remember the Yellow Pages. For those who have no idea what this is, this was basically a thick yellow-colored book listing the phone numbers and addresses of a ton of businesses. Before Google, when you want to look for a new yoga class or find out where the nearest hardware store is, the Yellow Pages was where you would look.
Obviously, since the internet boom, they became redundant. Any potential customer can now simply go and search online and get many options and recommendations. However, with so many competitors out there, all vying for the same customers, how do you make sure that your business stands out and shows up on Google, at least on the first page? Well, online directories might be the way to go.
Building Trust and Authority on the Web
It is worthwhile to list your business on established and trustworthy sites with good domain authority. Google tends to identify links to other businesses only from recognized and trusted sites. Listing on such a directory might not get you much traffic directly, but it helps in building the authority and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of your own domain. Unfortunately, most directories are not in this category, but there are definitely some that appear at the top whenever you do a search, based on organic rankings and paid ads. There are some ranking sites that show you updated posts on their listings page, for instance, an updated list of the casinos ranked and reviewed, along with their bonuses mentioned. This means that you should also be on your toes to provide updated information whenever possible so that only the most relevant information is available to users. It is a good idea to look into these for your own business as well.
Should you pay for it?
Of course, there are some directories where you have to pay for the service. Look into these very carefully before you sign up. Google advises against this, so it might not be such a great idea to pay for links in an effort to gain rankings. It might, in fact, have the opposite effect. Instead, having a strong backlink strategy could prove to be quite useful. These refer to inbound or incoming links which are placed on a webpage to direct the user from one page to another. The Google algorithm seeks healthy backlinks, which directly impacts where your website shows up in the search rankings as they tell the search engine that this content is valuable. The directories then basically become sort of certifications for your business as far as Google is concerned. You get brownie points for a stronger backlink profile.
Ratings and Reviews
Potential customers always look for reviews and expert rankings, especially for online businesses. The emerging trend is that of more social directories, which not only list the businesses but also review and rank them. This works in pretty much the same way as buying a product from, say, Amazon. When you see a lot of similar products with the same price, the reviews, and ratings are usually what seals your final decision. However, keep your target audience in mind whenever you get yourself listed. A local directory won’t work for a business that is operating on a national or global scale. Additionally, also think about your industry or niche. If there is a directory that focuses specifically on that industry, then that’s what you should aim for.
Generally, the objective of being listed in an online directory is not to get direct traffic or customers on your website, although that could happen as well. These directories actually help in providing exposure to your business. Your own website might not show up on a Google search, but the directory might. This will make it easier for people to find you. They also give a boost to your SEO, especially if you are listed on an authoritative site.
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