I remember 20 years ago, opening a store online was a big deal. It was complicated and hard to find opportunities for promotion. Most had to use a platform like eBay; otherwise, it was challenging to get traction online. Promoting your online business now involves a much different landscape.
The need to attract users online is even more critical today, with shifting buyer behaviors and a focus on eCommerce and mCommerce. Beyond advertising and social media, how can you promote your brand and become more visible?
We all know the tricks about content marketing, email drip campaigns, social media marketing, etc. What about on a more local level? How about capturing the attention of those searching for B2B businesses and connections? Your best bet is always going to be business directory listings.
- Online business directories offer another channel for discoverability by buyers.
- High-quality directories can generate traffic to your website.
- Online directories are very impactful for local search results.
The History of Online Directories
Directories have been a staple for a long time. At one point, they were the only way for online searchers to find you. At some point, that blew up. Website owners started using directories to gain links rather than increase online visibility. The demand for free or cheap links resulted in the creation of thousands of directories for the sake of providing those links, but this was their only purpose.
Quality matters immensely in backlinks and SEO. Google put its digital foot down and began to penalize cheap directories. Thus, directory submission for the sole purpose of links has become useless.
Few high-editorial-discretion web directories survived. These are still helpful for promoting your business, both for online stores and brick and mortar with an online presence.
Why Use a Directory for Promoting Your Online Business?
Even though directory submission changed, there is still value. Two major reasons you need to have your name in those high-quality directories are mobile and web search.
When you add your local business’s NAP (Name, Address, Phone) to directories, you raise the visibility factor, creating SEO advantages.
These citations are more powerful than you may realize, impacting search behind the scenes. Directories are a great way to ensure you’re included in local search. They can also become a formidable source of traffic for your website because people use them to find solutions for their challenges. The trick is being very selective when it comes to picking a directory for submission. Since this activity relates to SEO, it should be part of your content strategy.
What to Include in an Online Business Directory
Beyond NAP information, you should also, if possible, add:
- Link to your website: This is the backlink. You’ll be better able to track results by using a tracking link.
- Company description: For this description, input your value proposition.
- Imagery: Your logo is a must; if there are opportunities for other media, consider a link to an intro video or pictures of your product.
The Best Online Directories for Your Business
The following is a list of directories that I recommend for your business. The listing includes a description, how-to use insights, and domain authority.
1. Google My Business (Domain Authority: 100)
Of course, Google places on the top of any list. GMB is a free business listing that allows your business to come up in results on Google Search and Maps. You can include a host of information here, including NAP, descriptions, hours of operation, links to your website, images, and more. Further, you can make posts on GMB just like you do on social media.
You’ll need to activate the listing if you haven’t already. If you currently have an account, revisit it for improvements. Watch the video below for some optimization best practices.
2. Discover Our Town (Domain Authority: 54)
While the website is simple and old school, it’s still a very useful tool. Users can search by topic (lodging, dining, shopping, etc.) and by state. It’s a great directory to be on if your audience includes those new to the area or just visiting.
3. Yelp (Domain Authority: 94)
Yelp is a directory and review site that you’ve probably used in the past. It’s a popular site that helps people find businesses in their town, from restaurants to plumbers. You want to be on Yelp because it’s where potential customers are most likely to find, review, and read about you.
You’ll need to monitor your Yelp account to ensure the information is accurate and for reviews. Whether positive or negative, it’s a good idea to always respond to these.
4. Better Business Bureau (Domain Authority: 93)
The BBB serves as an “ethical marketplace” for buyers and sellers. Having BBB accreditation can improve your trustworthiness in the eyes of customers. Start by getting your business listed, then monitor for any complaints so you can respond.
5. Foursquare (Domain Authority: 92)
The Foursquare City Guide is an app that lets visitors find a variety of businesses within a city. It started as a check-in type of app and evolved to serve companies and users better. To add a listing, sign up on the website, then click on ‘business’ to input your information.
6. FindUsLocal (Domain Authority: 58)
FindUsLocal is an online business directory by city. It’s a simple search engine, and it’s easy to add your business.
7. eBusiness Pages (Domain Authority: 67)
Another simple, easy-to-use directory, this one allows users to search by city and service. It currently has over 15 million business listings.
8. Dir Journal (Domain Authority: 58)
One of the richest in content, this directory has strict editorial guidelines, making it one of the most trusted sources online. Start by claiming your Business Page. Complete the short form, and you’re ready to go.
9. Jasmine Directory (Domain Authority: 64)
This website is one of the oldest, best-established directories. It survived many Google updates, which is solid proof of its quality. To add your business, you will have to pay for the listing.
10. Alive Web Directory (Domain Authority: 53)
This platform has quality policies in place and requires a paid submission. There are numerous categories to choose from, so it’s a good fit for almost any type of business.
11. Chamber of Commerce (Domain Authority: 66)
Many local businesses underutilize regional Chamber of Commerce lists. To have a listing, you’ll need to be a member, but the listing can garner attention. Additionally, an award or endorsement from your Chamber can elevate your reputation and credibility.
12. Angie’s List (Domain Authority: 91)
Angie’s List offers users a reliable way to find professionals. Most businesses on Angie’s List are in-field services, such as contractors, electricians, professional cleaners, and landscapers.
Those seeking out these services trust Angie’s List and the reviews they provide. Businesses can also receive awards that show a business’s commitment to customer service. Angie’s List is more than a directory. You can manage leads, communicate with customers, and more.
13. Best of the Web (Domain Authority: 74)
Best of the Web has been around since 1994 and is “the internet’s oldest business directory.” That tenure leads to excellent domain authority and value for businesses. Check out their trusted seal and pro listings.
Have a directory you love? Let us know in the comments!
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