There is an incredible number of directory sites out there for small business owners that are all willing to list your company for free.
However, most SME owners probably haven’t realised how important these sites are for getting their business recognised. In fact, we would recommend having your business listed on as many directories as you can to boost your online marketing strategy, and help as many of your potential customers to find you online quickly and easily.
So why not start now? Here are some key reasons as to why online listings can guarantee your company’s success, with a selection of the main directories to look out for.
• Google Power
Search engines recognise each listing you have in the top directories, so it is very important to make sure you have covered a wide range. Since Google is one of the most popular search engines, it is vital you get your business listed at on its main site, Google My Business.
Customers searching your business in the area will then be directed to you via the Google search engine using the power from local searches to link up with Google Maps and direct people to your business. The same applies to Bing’s Places for Business and Yahoo Small Business.
• Make the most of your positive reviews
You work hard to receive encouraging comments and feedback from your customers, so why not share them via a service that includes reviews? Directories and listings are not just a place to fill in your contact details, so sites like Yelp, Tripadvisor and Fourquare can help you encourage potential new customers to try out your business. Yelp and Foursquare are also important as key data providers to Apple Maps.
• Use the brands people know and trust
Naturally, customers will be drawn to familiar and trusted brands. While few people now skim through a print copy of the Yellow Pages, they are still using its online version, yell.com, as a trusted recommendation of what’s available in their area. Thomson Local is another popular site for consumers and your business will also be included in its published directory – what a bonus!
• Let someone else help you do the hard work
Keeping your potential customers up to date can sometimes be very time consuming However, for some sites, there is no need to update your page every time something changes. Online companies such as Cylex UK does this for you by continuously verifying and editing data you submit, so it saves you a lot of precious time you could be spending elsewhere.
• Enrich your content
Aside from basic company information that all directories and listings need, you can add lots more detailed information and ‘rich’ content, including opening hours, menus, product & service price lists, photo galleries, staff photos, bios and videos.
All content is good content when it comes to online listing information. This will improve signals sent to search engines, and what’s more, it’s free and only takes a couple of minutes!
Keeping all your information up to date, and carefully selecting a manageable number of directories to use, will lead to a higher number of potential customers visiting your website, and you can make sure that your competitors aren’t stealing your thunder.
By Chris Brake, MD, Digital Kitbag
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