I remember fifteen years ago opening up a store online was a big deal. It was insanely complicated, promotion was non-existent and unless you were on a platform like eBay you probably weren’t going to get that far.
Today we see a very different landscape. Online businesses are just a standard part of selling a product or service, with online storefronts to brick and mortar stores a necessity, while many startups never take things off of the web but manage to make millions.
With that in mind, how can you promote outside of advertising and social media? We all know the tricks about content, email drip campaigns, social ads, etc. What about on a more local level? How about attracting the attention of those searching for B2B connections? Your best bet is always going to be business directory listings.
Why Use a Directory For Business Promotion?
Directories have been a staple for a long time and once they were the only way to get found. But at some point that blew up and website owners started using directories to gain links rather than increase online visibility? Obviously, the demand for free or cheap links resulted in thousands of directories being created just for the sake of providing those links, nothing else.
No wonder, Google came up with the announcement that most cheap directories would be penalized. Directory submission for the sole purpose of links has become useless.
However few high-editorial-discretion web directories survived and those are still incredibly helpful to promote your business, both for online stores and brick and mortars with an online presence.
There is one major reason that you need to have your name in those high-quality directories: mobile and web search. Both are heavily impacted behind the scenes by these types of citations, which are much more powerful than you may realize.
Directories are a great way to be included into local search. They can also become a powerful source of traffic for your website because people do use them to find businesses they want to deal with. The trick is being very selective when it comes to picking a directory to submit your site to.
These are directories I would recommend most, though due to my own bias, I must admit.
Local Directories and Map Listings
- Google My Business – Of course Google is going to head any list. If you have ever searched for a business type or name you will have seen some come up on local maps. That is what this tool offers. You can show people where you are and what you have to offer right there at the top of the search bar. It is really easy to use, you just have to activate it, set the details and watch your brand’s awareness grow.
- TripAdvisor – I am a huge fan of TripAdvisor and so is pretty much anyone who travels. It is more for people who are living outside of your area, though locals will sometimes use it to discover hidden gems in their area. It also gives people the chance to review your business and wishists for people to add you into their travel itinerary.
- Discover Our Town – A simple looking website, you would be surprised by just how popular this tool really is. Search by topic, such as lodging, attraction or transportation. Find out what is in nearby areas based off of suburb. Get yourself on this list and you can attract people from all over the world.
- Show Me Local – Businesses, coupons, deals and jobs… those are the four categories covered by Show Me Local. They are an excellent source of information and businesses have been attracted to it for offering coupons in particular.
- Yelp – You have almost certainly used Yelp in the past. It is the second most popular review site on the web, with only Google’s reviews ranking higher (thanks to some obvious bias, it has to be said). You want to be on Yelp because it is where potential customers are most likely to find, review and read about you.
- Dir Journal – One of the richest in content, this directory has strict editorial guidelines which makes it one of the most trusted sources on the web.
- Jasmine Directory is one of the oldest, best established on the web. It has survived many Google updates which is a solid proof to its quality.
- Alivedirectory is another good option here maintaining strict quiality policies
- City Star – Wanting to go beyond local? City Star is a great international directory. You can search by term, area or category. If you are an internationally relevant business it is a great site to be listed on because it widens your pool beyond your own backyard. A large portion of the businesses there aren’t even brick and mortars, but online only companies that sell using an updated model for the digital age.
- Chamber of Commerce – Regional Chamber of Commerce lists are depressingly under utilized by many modern businesses. Not only is it a great way to be seen, but an award or endorsement can be a star maker for companies, big and small. Getting listed is the first step towards that goal.
- Angie’s List – Angie’s List is a bit specialized, but it is usually a better option than Craigslist thanks to its more legitimate looking website design, the need to become a member and the clout they have developed over the years. It is a trusted source, where other locally based classified sites can seem trashy or even risky.
- Best of the Web – Best of the Web is a trusted source online and therein lies their real value. They are able to point people to great services that match their interests and users know they can rely on them to be good listings. Check out their trusted seal and pro listings.
Have a directory you love? Let us know in the comments!
Image source: Pixabay