Online local directory listings help your customers find you
Our team were recently talking about directory listings and having a laugh about how there was once this huge, unwieldy thing called a telephone book. Two of them in some cities! White Pages and Yellow Pages. Remember them? If you didn’t invest in getting your business into the White and Yellow Pages every year, you weren’t in business.
Today, businesses depend upon online directories to make it easy for customers to find what they need to know. Directories are a source of traffic and trust and can be important to the success of your local SEO. We should add them to our must-haves list—especially the likes of a Google Business listing.
Back in the day, getting your site listed on zillions of directories was the thing to do, but as with everything Google, things have changed. While links are still one of the top-ranking signals, Google no longer views all links as equal. Links from web directory listings are less influential than a relevant contextual link from a high-authority site in your niche.
Web directories still have a place in your SEO strategy.
The impact of directory listings on local SEO is still relevant, and doing the work to load your details is definitely worth the effort.
According to Moz research, web directories and local citations are still a ranking factor, especially for local businesses.
Within a site audit, these are recorded as backlinks.
What’s a directory listing?
A directory listing is a local business listing that includes your name, address, website, social media links, opening hours, logo, photos, email and phone number, along with information about your business offerings and services.
How to get listed
Firstly, you need a list of reliable, localised directories that aren’t too spammy. Then you need to follow these steps because you can’t simply copy and paste the same information into each directory; the information should be unique for each listing. Google frowns upon identical text being used in directories or anything online for that matter.
Here at Woodswork Web, we use a list of 25-30 different directories and we can create directory listings for you. We can help with other SEO services such as blogs and regional or service landing pages too.
The following guide will help you get it right…
1. Access to the email account
You’ll need access to the email account/email address you are loading to the directories. For example, if you’re loading your building company details and the contact email address you’re going to use is [email protected], you must have access to that email account to validate the emails that come to you from every directory. They’re just checking you’re not a robot. You will need to click on a validation link in many of the emails before you can load the rest of your details. Many of these are time-sensitive.
If a staff member is loading details to directories for you, they must have access to the account for the contact email address you’re using, or you must forward each email you receive from the directories to them.
2. Choose your logo
Have a 300 x 300 logo saved and handy for loading. Having 3 or 4 relevant photos and a banner image is also good.
3. Make a list
Get organised first. In a word doc, make a list of all the important details you will need to include in each of your listings.
- Contact email address
- Physical address
- Website address
- Phone number: business landline (if you have one) and mobile
- Opening hours
- Social media URLs
4. Get your keywords
Make a list of the keywords or keyphrases, separated by commas, that best describe your business. For example, ‘north shore builder, north shore building company, north shore construction’.
5. Write your descriptions
We find this is easier to do in a table or spreadsheet. On each row, write a description, a couple of sentences long, outlining your business and the services you offer. Use information from your website, but you will need to change it to some degree, and you will need to add new information. It’s better not to include your phone number, email or business URL in the description.
We recommend you write about 20 of these. Some of the descriptions you will mix around, as some directories allow you to add longer descriptions than others.
Directory listings amplify your visibility
Online directories are platforms that allow users to find out crucial information about the businesses they want to engage with.
Think of your directory listing as an introduction. The customer is there, looking for something specific, and you show up. It may be the first impression, so by optimising your directory listings, you can win customers in your area. And it’s a good step in the direction of a great linking strategy for your website.