Online local directory listings help your customers find you
Just the other day we were 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 your business didn’t make it into the directory each year, you were out of luck.
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 very important to the success of your local SEO. We should really add them to our must haves list.
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 equally, and links from a web directory listing are less influential than a relevant contextual link from a high-authority site in your niche.
That’s not to say listing on web directories is pointless. It is not!
The impact of directory listings on local SEO is still relevant and doing the work to load your details is definitely still worth the effort. Woodswork can help with other SEO services such as blogs and landing pages too.
According to Moz research, web directories and local citations are still a ranking factor, especially for local businesses.
What’s a directory listing?
A directory listing is a local business listing that includes your name, address, website, Facebook link, opening hours, logo, photos, email and phone number, along with information about your business offerings.
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 CANNOT simply copy paste the same information into each directory; the information should, as much as possible, be unique for each listing. Google frowns very heavily upon identical copy being used.
The following guide will help you get it right…
1. Access to the email account
You’ll need to have access to the email account / email address that you are loading to the directories. For example, if you’re loading your web design company details and the contact email address you’re going to use is firstname.lastname@example.org, you must have access to that email account so you can validate the emails that come to you from every directory (they’re 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 contact email address you’re using, or you must forward each email you receive from the directories to them.
2. Choose you logo
Have a 300 x 300 logo saved and handy for loading. It is also good to have 3 or 4 relevant photos and a banner image.
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
- Facebook and LinkedIn 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 website designer’.
5. Write your descriptions
This is best done in a table. 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. Do NOT include your phone number, email or business url.
We recommend you write about 20 of these. Some of the description 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 allows 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’s a first impression, so by optimising your directory listings, you can win customers in your area.