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Business Directories and SEO: What, Why, How?

Business Directories and SEO_ What, Why, How

What do you do when you want to look for businesses online? Chances are, you either use a search engine like Google or browse through business directories.

Sure, you might argue that online directories are old-school and not useful anymore, but that is not necessarily the case.

What if we told you that business directories are still a valid, yet very underutilized, opportunity to grow your business?

First, let us take a look at what directory listings are, how an online business directory and a B2B SEO agency can work together, and why you should use them.

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What Is a Business Directory?

In simple terms, business directories are a list of companies and or websites compiled in one place, so that users can easily find them. Think of the Yellow Pages, where people can search for professionals, tradesmen, and companies, based on their needs.

A good tactic for an online business directory is to focus on a single niche and industry. For example, by focusing on the travel industry your directory would contain info on travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, etc. Similarly, you could home in on businesses that are local to an area.

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Why Use Directory Listings for Business?

Why Use Directory Listings for Business

As we mentioned before, business directories are rather neglected nowadays. However, truth be told, business directory websites can be pretty beneficial. They:

  1. Improve SEO. A great benefit, especially for newer companies, is the backlinks received from directories. Furthermore, business directories usually have a high domain rating and are regarded as highly reputable websites, which makes these links even more significant. These backlinks, respectively, can have a positive impact on your search engine rankings, and improve your SEO.
  2. Boost Local Sales. Being listed can improve your local searches, therefore boosting sales, even more so, if your location and/or contacts are added to the listing.
  3. Provide Targeted Marketing. Most business directory websites have the option of searching by location, category, and other parameters. This is helpful for companies to connect with target audiences, and achieve higher conversion rates.
  4. Give Customer Insights. Directories can provide listed companies with insights into visitors. For instance, you can receive a list of terms users searched, customer demographics, and other helpful information.
  5. Find New Investors. It is possible to attract new investors by simply being included in listings. In fact, a lot of times, investors first look at directories when looking for potential contacts with companies they want to invest in.
  6. Increase Online Visibility. Directory listings and creative digital SEO services are a very good combination. Together, your chances of being discovered by users greatly increases, due to your overall online visibility boost.

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How to Optimize Business Directories for SEO?

How to Optimize Business Directories for SEO
In terms of using creative digital SEO services, directories can be optimized for success. Here are some actionable tips you can use to make your business directory easy to use and create a positive user experience:

  1. Use Clear Language. Resist the temptation to use technical jargon and complicated terminology that not everyone will understand. Instead, go for a much more clear and concise language when describing your directory pages.
  2. Add a Search Function. The search option function will be even more helpful to users if your directory is extensive or has a lot of companies to sift through.
  3. Include Complete Business Information. Being upfront and transparent about the companies and what they do will help users to quickly understand the purpose of each company.
  4. Stick to a Logical Structure. A simple and intuitive design, along with a logical organization of your listings, is all that needs to be done. Again, the goal is for people to be able to quickly and easily find information, so don’t overcomplicate things.
  5. Customize Metadata. There are cases when a huge number of pages are automatically generated, so they cannot have proper metadata. In such situations, you can use Yoast to create custom rules.
  6. Schema Markup. Also known as structured data, schema markup is essentially the language that search engines use to understand the content of your site. It classifies page content, and it can also allow them to appear on search engine results pages in the form of rich results, displaying local business listings. Updating your schema markup is important to increase your chances of ranking for relevant search terms.
  7. Internal Linking. Interlinking is a vital part of your SEO strategy – this is what every B2B SEO agency will tell you. Business directories can benefit from placing strategic links between their pages to leverage their visibility and improve website navigation.
  8. Separate Pages by Location. If a directory entry has multiple locations, it may be a wise move to divide them by location and create unique content for each.
  9. Submit Multiple Sitemaps. With the growth of your directory, you may need to create and submit multiple sitemaps. A single sitemap may hold up to 50,000 URLs, and should not exceed 10 MB. Keep in mind that having many sitemaps means you should create a Sitemap Index File, which is like a sitemap for sitemaps. The biggest benefit of having multiple sitemaps is that they make it very efficient to classify and categorize the content on your website, thus allowing for better crawling and indexing.

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What to Consider When Choosing a Directory?

What to Consider When Choosing a Directory

  1. Is It Relevant to Your Niche?
  2. Does It Have Enough Authority?
  3. Are There Positive Reviews from Users?
  4. How Is the User Experience?
  5. Do Submissions Go Through a Review?
  6. Is It Worth the Cost?

1. Is It Relevant to Your Niche?

The first thing to consider is whether or not the directory is relevant to your niche and industry. After all, you want your potential customers to find you, not just be exposed to random users who may or may not be interested in your products or services.

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2. Does It Have Enough Authority?

You need to think about the authority of the directory you are considering. The purpose of entry is to boost your reputation and online presence, which will not happen with a feature on a website with a questionable profile.

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3. Are There Positive Reviews from Users?

Always look to see how many positive online reviews and/or recommendations an entry has. It’s also a good idea to check out the negative reviews to verify whether or not the complaints are justified.

Sometimes people complain about things that have nothing to do with the company or product, such as not enough street parking or the product arriving a day late.

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4. How Is the User Experience?

Is the user experience on the website positive or negative? You can establish this yourself by looking at how easy (or difficult) it is to navigate through the entries. Check if there is a search function, whether contact information is available, and the aforementioned user reviews.

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5. Do Submissions Go Through a Review?

Some directories have an editorial review process that evaluates submissions before accepting them. This can serve as a signal for higher quality, given that there are people dedicated to checking companies manually, instead of everyone being automatically accepted.

Sure, due to this process, your application might take a little longer, but it will be well worth it.

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6. Is It Worth the Cost?

You might find some free directories, but that shouldn’t be the main factor behind your decision. The truth is that a quality service most likely means you will need to make a payment to be listed. The question is whether it will be worth the cost.

Think about how much visibility and traffic the directory could direct to your business, and how competitive it is.

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Wrap Up

Contrary to popular belief, directory listings can give you a much-needed boost in online visibility, strengthen your SEO, and connect you to potential customers, and even new investors.

Online business directories are a somewhat underused strategy that is well worth the time and effort. Of course, it is a good idea to pay attention to which directories you will be involved in.

Another good idea for your business would be to ask us for help when you need it. DevriX is a world-class WordPress agency with a proven track record of scaling businesses through our diverse services.