The Importance of Directories for Online Visibility
While you may hear an online directory listing compared to a digital version of Yellow Pages, that’s certainly not the case. There are many additional benefits that online directories provide that this comparison leaves out. Think of it as placing your business on a channel that will directly take it to prospective customers and other relevant businesses. With perks such as advanced filter options, boosts in SEO, and a higher Google ranking, your company’s brand awareness and visibility will improve significantly.
Listing your business in online directories is one of the quickest, easiest, and most effective ways to get your services in front of qualified potential customers; however, as with all digital marketing strategies, relevance is key. Building profiles on as many directories as possible can land you in hot water, so it’s essential to take the time to research and compare niche, industry-specific directories in your space before listing your business.
Building the right local SEO strategy takes time, care, and research. We surveyed our community of B2B marketing experts and business owners to help provide you with the tips and best practices you need to start improving your online visibility by using directories today.
Read on to learn how listing your business in directories can easily improve your online visibility and brand awareness!
Directories that are directly related to the business vertical and directories that are regionally focused are very important in our SEO mix. They don’t often drive a lot of traffic on their own, but we have seen positive results both in local search and in the SERPS when adding comprehensive data about a client’s business into these kinds of directories.
Our business makes an effort to keep consistent and comprehensive listings on the directories that are regionally targeted and most commonly seen in search results for searches related to SEO, like UpCity. The few leads we get makes it worth it alone, but we correlate our visibility in the SERPS with this effort.
Ross Taylor, Principal, Alameda Internet Marketing
Directories remain one of the most important building blocks of your online foundation.
At its core, your NAP (name, address, phone) is your lifeblood. That data needs to be consistent across the web no matter where a potential customer may find you, so you can be referenced correctly and receive inbound messages.
It also builds trust in Google/search engines. Without a sound strategy in this regard, you can come off disjointed and lose out on vital communications. It’s simple but goes a long way in setting your presence up for success. They can help increase trust in search engines and can help ALL users find your contact information easily, no matter where they are searching.
They’ve helped our own website and client’s websites achieve better positions in the map packs, especially.
Patrick Cruz, Owner, Jax Media Team
Online directories are still incredibly important. They provide a chance for prospects to see my organization in places other than paid advertisements and help present my company in a neutral position elevated only by independent reviews.
Directories like UpCity have contributed to a 12% increase in new clients for me in the past 12 months!
Steven M. May Jr., President, Ask the Egghead, Inc.
Creating and maintaining your business listings in directories throughout the web is critical to staying visible to any potential new customers.
The thing is there are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of directories out there: nobody has the time to make a new listing on all of them and that would probably be a waste of time anyway.
This is where being a little selective and doing some research can be helpful. Depending on your industry, there are probably a few key directories (things like Yelp, UpCity, HomeAdvisor, AngiesList, and the other big guys) as well as a dozen or so smaller ones that, when combined, make up the vast majority of the directory sites that your business’s typical customer will actually browse.
By showing up with accurate, descriptive information in those listings, you are at the very least getting more eyes on your brand. Even if a user doesn’t become a customer immediately after seeing your business on a directory, they now have your name in the back of their mind. As long as your reviews aren’t highly negative, that presence and footprint you’ve made will only serve to help you land that customer when they are ready, and they will even feel like they already know you a little bit!
Directories help people compare and contrast a bunch of companies to find one that fits what they are looking for. Whether that is price, reputation, presentation, or otherwise, directories give customers a chance to find a good business to work with.
On the flip side, they also give business owners a pre-filtered audience to work with and a chance to put their best foot forward. Online directories can be credited for over 20% of my business’ clientele and over 30% of my business’ revenue this past quarter. They have also brought in 50% of our new clients over the same timeframe. Of all of our marketing channels, utilizing directories has been one of our top-performing avenues.
Sean Denny, Founder, Mythicode Digital Marketing
Online directories are instrumental for a business like mine. They are especially important in the digital space where we compete for clients. Google algorithms can make decades of experience vanish into thin air if you aren’t a first-page result. Online directories solve that pain point by providing accurate and up-to-date information that can reach those most in need of our services.
Online directories are able to provide information to audiences that might not know exactly what they are looking for at the given time of their search. Although the information is already out there, it can be daunting and online directories, like UpCity, are able to concentrate all this information from the web, placing them in an easy-to-use platform for any user.
Online directories like Upcity have been our saving grace many times. We are always looking to educate possible clients and online directories achieve that in a very efficient way.
Priscila Martinez, Founder and CEO, The Brand Agency
Online directories are essential for local businesses. They not only enhance your online presence and improve your local visibility, but they also help build brand awareness and allow your business to be discovered more easily.
Ace Rashid, Founder, Ace SEO Consulting
Online directories will help you scale your organic growth much quicker than on your own. They provide organic reach on a (hopefully) credible, trustworthy platform, as well as backlinks and additional brand exposure.
Drew Minor, Creative Director, DM Digital
Strong online directories can be pivotal to the success of a business, because they provide a shortcut into visibility that would otherwise take way too long to achieve, or cost substantially more to buy.
I used to think that online directories were not very valuable until we started putting some more effort into completing and promoting our listings. Since then, I would actually attribute a solid percentage of our new business to online directories. They’re instrumental to our success.
Rafael Romis, CEO, Weberous Web Design
Online directories are important for users looking for detailed information on goods or services. These directories also greatly benefit businesses from an SEO standpoint where such information identifies services and informs searchers with up-to-date content.
Aside from bringing in referral business, directory listings can provide credibility with reviews and partnerships.
Jeremy Scott, Founder and CEO, Poast Ecommerce
We always include online directories as part of our SEO strategy for clients and always recommend them regardless of an SEO agreement.
Online directories have helped us and our clients in building more robust backlink profiles with links that stick from sites with a high DA. Link building can be frustrating, as you often have no control over the links being removed in the future, but quality online directories ensure your efforts aren’t futile.
It’s also important to keep your information updated so clients and potential clients can easily find you. Proactively managing your online directory profiles is an easy and efficient way to do that.
Jen Stafford, Co-Founder and CEO, CTRL+ALT Digital
I think directories offer a lot of value and visibility, especially for small businesses. They help your business show up online in more ways than just Google search and allow search engines to validate your business information, improving your credibility. Additionally. online directories let you highlight your expertise and promote your company to potential clients that might not otherwise be able to find you.
Tammy Durden, Founder, Fearless Business Boss
Online directories have been used by businesses for many years now to gain more exposure for relatively little work. Since online directories make it easy for users to find new businesses they tend to attract a good number of visitors that are highly interested. Getting listed in directories is typically a straightforward process and doesn’t take too much work. Directories also provide the added benefit of usually giving you a backlink which can help your SEO.
I highly recommend that local businesses take advantage of local directories for a boost in their rankings. At the end of the day, there is not much downside to getting listed in directories and most directories allow for free profiles so although they won‚’t make or break your business. I would recommend you go for it and get listed!
Johnny Baskin, Founder, Nomadic Advertising
Online directories are extremely important to online visibility since this is how buyers research potential business partners. People rely on their peers to provide authentic feedback about their experiences with vendors. This feedback helps buyers validate their purchasing decisions so they feel confident in their choices.
I’ve seen firsthand how online directories have helped my organization earn the trust of future customers. They provide a foundation for trust-building that you just can’t get anywhere else. People can read about genuine user experiences and that type of brand awareness and customer advocacy is invaluable. With the help of online directories, my business has personally closed deals where we were neck and neck with a competitor.
Rachel Maner, Senior Digital Marketer, APS Payroll
Online directories are often more important than a company’s own site. Prospects want to compare top providers and minimize bias. Furthermore, the best directories have high domain authority, and the quality and quantity of backlinks they receive makes it impossible for SMBs to compete in the SERPs. Therefore, it’s usually sensible to perfect these profiles long before investing in your own website!
I have used sites like UpCity to improve my online reputation management. They also act as important local citations to support my own consultancy’s local SEO effort. Since one of my specialties is local SEO itself, this is also important to recognize for my clients like those in the solar industry, with these directories earning far more trust & engagement than the company websites themselves.
Ryan Lingenfelser, SEO Consultant, RDLDIGITAL
With local SEO becoming more and more important for small businesses, it’s more important than ever to be listed on directories. A local business that’s properly listed on directories will outpace its competition with better rankings in Google search results.
Jeff Neal, Marketing Officer, Capital Coating
Directories are not as useful as they used to be. Back in the day (before Google), listing your business in online directories provided significant benefits. People frequently used these directories to look up (local) businesses and they were a good traffic source. From an SEO perspective, the backlinks were relatively valuable as well.
Nowadays, the vast majority of people use Google to look up businesses. As a result, there is a significant decrease in traffic from the directory sites themselves. In terms of SEO, search engines do not identify the backlinks from these sites as qualitative links anymore. In my experience, they have little effect on ranking nowadays.
Tim Koster, Founder, CleverCreations
Directories are great. Having everything about a company in one place can be beneficial for both the business and the customer. From opening times to location to services offered, directories can help potential customers decide whether or not you are worth their time and money.
Ethan Taub, CEO, Loanry
Directories are extremely beneficial and important to businesses. If anything, their new life online on websites such as Yelp has provided extra relevance to how important they are, with easily accessible feedback and ratings making it easier for potential consumers to check businesses services out and see if they should potentially be avoided. It is important for businesses to utilize these directories and actively encourage feedback in order for them to be really useful to them.
You don’t know what business you could be missing because of people seeing a lack of, or bad feedback!
Daniel Foley, Director, Daniel Foley Inc.
Directories can play a big part in how visible you are online, depending on your industry. It pays for every business with a physical space to be registered on Google My Business, as this is likely where people will be doing their searches. You may feel like the information is on your website, but if a similar nearby business has registered, you could be handing business directly to them if they become more easily visible.
Chane Steiner, CEO, Crediful
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The more directories that have information about your business, and the more consistent this information is, the more trustworthy your website looks to search engines, which directly affects your rankings.
Since we listed our business on online directories, they have driven at least 50 new users per month to our website. Moreover, we received 10 or more leads that later got converted into contracts thanks to directories
Teo Vanyo, Founder and CEO, Stealth Agents
When it comes to online visibility, the importance of using directories is highly dependent on the industry. Most businesses, especially brick-and-mortar ones, benefit from creating or claiming their Google My Business listing.
For other directories, their value to businesses depends on their visibility and quality. If a directory has a poor design or lacks a hierarchical structure you may want to steer clear; however, if you are in an industry comprised of many smaller players, such as interior design or private tutoring, listing your business might be crucial for finding clients. Directories effectively reduce promotion costs per vendor by aggregating SEO efforts and attracting more clients with the promise of comparability.
I am of the opinion that directories shouldn’t be mythologized. The rational approach is to first ask yourself if you would like your company to be associated with that particular directory. Then, think of the cost to benefit ratio. Is it 10 minutes only or two hours and an annual fee? How much exposure will you get for that? If you Google your industry segment and city, will that directory appear high in the search results? Are your competitors there? Can you see genuine, human-written reviews? Are other listings verified?
Rebeca Sena, Architectural Marketing Consultant, Getpace.digital
If you’re a small business owner or a fresh new company, you’re going to look for effective ways to boost your brand and expand your reach. One easy way to do that is by listing your business in directories as it can help boost your business’ online visibility.
Getting cited on lists from Google and the like make it easier for people to discover your services and products. Simply listing basic company information and on usually free services can do wonders for you and your business.
Simon Elkjær, CMO, avXperten
Online directories can be extremely important to your website’s online visibility, provided that the directory is both relevant to your industry, and preferably, geographically related.
Itamar Blauer, Owner, ItamarBlauer.com
The importance of being listed in directories depends on how much extra traffic they bring and how much of that traffic ends up converting. Search intent determines the conversion potential of that traffic. If those directories rank high for your desired keywords with the right intent, and you cannot outrank them yourself due to low DA or lack of resources, its essential that you’re listed therein.
At Supermetrics, we don’t rely much on directories because we have the resources and authority to rank for those keywords ourselves. Being listed in some of them has brought us some extra traffic, but the value of that traffic wouldn’t justify paying for it.
Deciding whether directories are worth it for your business depends on your customer journey. Evaluate if it’s a viable path for anyone in your niche to go through directories before making a purchase decision.
Johannes Rastas, Affiliate Marketing Manager, Supermetrics
While many workforces are becoming more global, people looking to partner with other businesses still instinctively want to work with people located near them or who have been identified as being the best of the bunch. This makes online directories vitally important to marketing efforts and lead generation. While how we choose what brands to interact with is changing, proximity and prestige still play a huge role in generating leads and standing out to your target audience.
At Branch & Bramble, we’ve had great success with directories to drive brand awareness and traffic for both ourselves and our clients. For our own website, 25% of our overall referral traffic comes from directory listings. Specifically, through our listing on UpCity, we’ve seen a significant uptick in referral traffic, which has led to 46 contact form completions. Being included in reputable online directories, such as UpCity, not only increases visibility but also clearly indicates our value.
Sarah Walsh, Strategic Account Manager, Branch & Bramble
Online directories help with local SEO, but their importance has diminished over time. There are a lot of really spammy directories that provide little to no value and can actually hurt your efforts. You need to be careful about which directories you are submitting your business to. That being said, this doesn’t mean that directories provide no value, many people still use directories to read business reviews, get hours, phone numbers, etc.
For example, Google My Business is a directory and a staple in any local SEO efforts. Just be mindful of keeping the directories you submit to relevant to your niche, and keep all of your NAP information consistent. It may not help a lot with SEO, but it can certainly help to drive local traffic when submitted to the right directories, such as Yelp, Bing, and Google My Business.
Tonya Davis, Marketing Manager, Frenchplanations
Online Directories are important but not all directories are appropriate for all businesses.
Several years ago, those doing reputation management were gung ho to list businesses on every possible listing service they could find. The business entry on these sites supposedly helped your SEO by having links to your website; however, over time, it became a lot of manual work to make changes to NAP information on all of these sites. The multitude of listings became a bigger burden than a value to individual businesses.
Today, being selective about which services a business voluntarily lists itself on is extremely important. The business needs to consider whether a significant portion of their ideal clients looks for a business in their industry through that directory, what the directory costs, and how much control your business has over its information on the directory.
There are also listings that are absolutely mandatory for all businesses, such as Google My Business. All businesses should have a claimed and verified Google entry.
Janice R Means, MBA, Owner, Marketing with JR
Online directories have been around for a long time and are still one of the best ways to boost your online presence for free. Although some may argue that using directories for SEO purposes is outdated, it’s still a legitimate way to improve the online visibility of your business. There are hundreds of directories out there and it’s a grueling task to apply to every single one of them.
Thankfully, there is software and services that can automate the submission process, so you don’t have to do it all manually. However, with directories popping up all over the internet every day, you will be hard-pressed to find and be accepted to all of them. The important thing is to submit your website to the most popular and relevant directories to the niche of your business.
Dmitrij Żatuchin, Founder, DO OK
Be it local online directories that are trusted and famous, or the global directories are reliable and used by lots of people, online directories definitely help improve the online presence as well as the trustworthiness of a business or a business professional.
I have heard people say that directories are irrelevant in 2020. I totally disagree with them but also thank them as they reduce competition for others who still use directories.
Kelsey Chan, Marketing Specialist, CocoSign
Directory listings can boost your visibility in local search, increase brand awareness and reach, enhance your business’s reputation, and offer further opportunities for customers to review your products and services.
Studies have found that after searching for a local business on a mobile device, 88% of consumers will interact with that business within 24 hours. Additionally, local information is the goal of 46% of all Google searches. SEO Tribunal found that 72% of consumers who perform a local search visit a store within five miles of their current location, and 78% of location-based mobile searches result in a purchase made offline. Furthermore, in 2019, Think with Google found that 60% of smartphone users have contacted a business directly using the search results (e.g. the Google My Business “click to call option).
Despite the role that directory listings can play in helping consumers find local businesses, search engines can also sometimes penalize sites with backlinks from spammy, low-quality web directories. If you want directory listings to work for your business rather than against it, you’ll need to be picky with the directories you list in.
Although directory listings most likely won’t propel you to the top of the SERPs overnight, they still have a significant role to play in local search. If approached strategically, directories can be an effective SEO tool as part of a wider marketing arsenal for small businesses looking to increase their online visibility at a local level.
Marie Belsten, Marketing & SEO Consultant, Bootcamp Media
As a company that provides a review management platform, we can see first hand the importance of online directories and their impact on businesses.
Having a link to your website from a reputable directory can improve your overall backlink profile and consequently your search rankings. This is a minor improvement that shouldn’t be overlooked but the biggest SEO influence comes from the Google My Business directory. Claiming this listing can help your business appear both in the three-pack and organic results.
Business directories are usually comprehensive and reputable destinations and consumers often use them to directly perform a search when looking for a specific product or a service. Having a listing increases your chances of finding new customers or at least creating awareness with your target audience. Moreover, big directories also appear high in search results so it’s vital for businesses to maintain their presence and improve visibility.
Not claiming your listing on a directory doesn’t prevent others from creating it for you. In this case, you risk inaccurate or incomplete information being posted about your business that can hinder your reputation. Conversely, keeping your listing up to date and responding to reviews on platforms that allow that can improve your reputation, word of mouth marketing, and of course your sales.
Having a proactive approach to creating and maintaining directory listings is good for your business and increases your online visibility. It’s not one of those activities that is just nice to have. Skipping on directory management or leaving it to chance can be harmful to your bottom line since it reflects poorly on your reputation and makes your business look unprofessional.
Philip Kallberg, Founder and CEO, Reviewshake
Directories can make a big difference to local businesses as they are quite prevalent in searches. For example, according to a recent Wiideman study, there is a Yelp page present in the top 5 results for 92% of search queries that contain a city and business category.
As someone who works in a localized trade industry, I’ve learned the value of directories for local business for myself as well, with over 20% of web traffic to my sites in 2020 driven by directories.
The reason online directories work for local and online businesses is that they create more visibility in the SERP’s by taking up additional positions (usually on page 1) and provide users a place to leave and read genuine reviews, which numerous studies over the past decade have shown increase a user’s trust in a business more than any other factor.
If you want to increase online visibility as a local or online business AND want to win the trust of your market, online directories are the perfect solution.
Jarrod Adnum, Director, Hunter Plumbing
Directories used to be a great way to increase online visibility, but in recent years the benefit has dropped. And, while there are a few useful directories that increase visibility, the vast majority of them are a waste of time.
There are a few reasons why they aren’t as important anymore. The first reason is that there are thousands and thousands of generic directories, but only a small handful are widely used or known about. The second reason is that per Google employee John Mueller, Google now ignores most of these links which removes the benefit. The third reason is that it was speculated that Google used to verify its data with many of these directories and if the information was consistent they would rank your business higher in Google Maps; however, Google has better data sources now, and with the launch of Google My Business, it can collect information directly from businesses themselves.
With that being said, niche-specific directories can bring a lot of online visibility to your business. For example, if you’re a lawyer you want to be listed on directories such as Avvo.com, Lawyers.com, etc.. The top niche specific directories often get a lot of targeted traffic looking for exactly what you’re selling.
Dan Foland, SEO Director, Postali
Directories can help businesses understand what the searching behavior is for their customers, what budget are they looking for, where they are located, search terms they use, etc. This alone is extremely valuable to help you optimize your business’s online visibility.
Dana Levin-Robinson, Co-Founder and CEO, Upfront
The typical online business directory enables people to search by particular criteria, such as location, service, and category. By easily providing accurate and complete information in your listing, the directory will then connect your company to the users searching for it, even if they are not searching for your business name explicitly. This is extremely profitable because oftentimes, users don’t know to search for a particular business name or the particular service they need.
Danny Bluestone, CEO, Cyber-Duck
How important are online directories when it comes to online visibility? As with most things, it depends.
Broadly speaking a brand new business that has no online presence of it’s own might make good use of an online directory, but if you’re established with good SEO you want to be putting all of your efforts into pushing traffic to your own site rather than someone else’s.
When we founded StatusCake.com in 2012 pretty much every company used a listing on an online directory as a way of getting some kind of SEO benefit. Those days are long gone. So now I’d only recommend using directories where you know your target audience is going to be watching.
James Barnes, Founder and CEO, StatusCake.com
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We have found online directories to be really useful to build a foundation when starting out with online marketing. We made sure to select online directories that are relevant to our specific niche which allowed us to bring in initial traffic while focusing on longer-term digital marketing strategies.
Online directories also have the added benefit of assisting with SEO efforts given we usually receive a backlink from each directory we submit to. This has ultimately led to some small gains in our organic rankings on Google for certain keywords.
Chris Sheward, Founder, Repuzen
I launched my consulting business last year with one client. I am now working completely from home. At first, I was relying on referrals and word of mouth to grow my business. Word of mouth will only get you so far.
Within one week of listing my business in Google My Business and submitting my business to online directories, I saw results. Online directories are one of the easiest, most affordable ways to get your business found in Google. Not to mention the fact that I have gotten referrals directly from the online directories I have submitted to.
I don’t think business owners realize how quickly online directories can drive traffic to their site.
Patty Malowney, SEO Consultant, Badass Web Goddess
I think online directories are very important. People, by virtue of being human, like things to be uncomplicated. A directory exists to help them find what they’re looking for in a central location.
Online directories also lend an air of credibility to your business. Most popular directories vet the sites that end up there, so people know they can trust you.
Directories definitely helped give us our start! It’s hard to gain traction in the financial sector, and hard for people to trust you when there are so many grifters. Being listed and verified by directories helped put us on the map as a trustworthy source for debt relief.
Jake Hill, CEO, DebtHammer
Online directories are a wonderful foundational option for building links back to your online assets. This includes spreading awareness for your brand in niche-relevant directories.
They also do a good job of bringing in targeted leads that are searching through the directories for relevant resources. For us, using online directories has been a powerful way to build a stronger brand.
Sara Bernier, Founder, Born for Pets
Traditional directories like the now-defunct DMOZ aren’t the golden ticket to either user traffic or SEO benefits like they once were. By contrast, curated directories that let one plug in a specific need or service, often a location, and filter by reviews or other criteria, are still useful aggregators for a lot of industries. The important thing is to be selective, then nurture and improve a limited number of directory listings rather than spread thin, list everywhere, and have a lot of directory entries with little or no engagement.
Daniel DiGriz, CMO, MadPipe
Some businesses are doubtful about the benefits of online directories as they don’t bring in a lot of direct traffic; however, directories can be very helpful for your SEO. Online directories have authority in the eyes of search engines and a link from a directory can boost your backlink profile and thus improve your overall SEO rankings.
Being listed in a number of online directories will boost your business’s credibility in the eyes of search engines like Google. Having a consistent online business profile and NAP info across all directories will give strong local signals to Google and help your business appear prominently in local searches.
Matt Bertram, CEO, EWR Digital
Online directories will always be important, but you have to look for quality in today’s world. Good and quality web directories are important for reaching your online audience. At the same time, bad and spammy directories could impact your search rankings and hurt your business.
Akram Assaf, Co-Founder and CEO, Bayt.com
Online directories are extremely important when it comes to visibility. They help a business to maintain its image and build on it. Moreover, another reason why they’re important is that they enable you to get ranked in search engines and eventually also drive leads.
Snow Qu, CEO, Linking News
From an SEO perspective and from a user perspective, online directories still have a big role to play for businesses in regards to visibility and connecting with potential customers.
In terms of visibility, online directories rank well for service and brick-and-mortar businesses, helping brands secure more space in the SERPs. This will not only make your business more visible, but it will increase brand awareness and increase user trust by positioning your brand as an authority within your industry.
Online directories can also provide a more human connection to potential customers. Most directories allow users to leave reviews for your location or services, and these reviews can be quite influential in pulling potential customers over the line. In a world where we are virtually very connected but disconnected in real life, this can fill the gap of a friend’s recommendation.
At Firewire Digital, we have found online directories to be extremely helpful in raising our brand awareness and generating leads, as approximately 12% of our site visitors are from online directories and we can attribute 33% of our revenue to this traffic.
Shonavee Simpson-Anderson, SEO Strategist, Firewire Digital
Online directories aren’t everything when it comes to online visibility, but they can be part of a rich and strategic SEO practice. Directories tend to be considered a trusted source by Google, so being in a directory may get you noticed sooner in search results than boosting your own domain authority alone. You are more likely to be found as part of a directory than independently, and this will help boost your SEO efforts so eventually, that may reverse.
The caveat is that the listings on directories can sometimes get a bit stale, so make sure your marketing team keeps track of your listings and is prepared to reach out to admins if your information changes.
Online directories tend to be more specialized today and benefit from having the input of real people, real customers who have purchased a product or service. It adds a sense of legitimacy to potential customers who are looking for reviews, and directories are the battleground where amazing customer service can make or break a rating.
This specialization can help you because potential customers will be specifically looking up the service you provide. For example, if you are looking for the best equine veterinarian, you will search that term in a directory and maybe apply filters to get more relevant results.
John Cho, Founder, My Pet Child
Online directories can have a major impact on your web presence, particularly when you’re just starting out. Moreover, they’re particularly crucial in up-and-coming markets or industries, where the leaders have yet to be established and early adopters are hungry for information.
When we were staring out at CoinJournal, the general public had far less awareness of cryptocurrencies than they do now. Directories for both early adopters and those eager to learn more were a first stop for information. By being listed in these directories, we were able to grow our traffic and keep return viewers coming back to this very day.
You may move away from directories once you have a wider raft of marketing options. When it comes to being new on the scene, however, online directories are an option to strongly consider.
David Merry, CEO, CoinJournal
I feel online directories are invaluable when it comes to earning trust from potential leads. A positive, detailed review or a feature on a prestigious directory like Trustpilot or Angie’s List can convert a lead to a sale without even seeing a word of copy or marketing materials. These curated directories provide visibility in our specific niche, which means that most of the people who see us on these lists are already seeking glass pool fencing or compliant pool fences in their area.
There is a slight dark side to this democratization of customer feedback that some directories provide. For example, a negative Yelp review from a misunderstanding can be out in the world before you even have a chance to recover the customer interaction or solve the issue. Or, competitors can plant false reviews, which is luckily rare!
Especially during the pandemic, directories have been a great way for people to see the care and caution we put into our work. A frequent feature of newer reviews on directories include compliance with local safety bylaws surrounding COVID19, and seeing reviews from real customers gives potential customers peace of mind.
Mark Wood, CEO, National Pool Fences
Online directories can be a very valuable way to gain some online visibility, especially when they’re relevant to your industry. I think that a lot of times, online directories get a bad reputation, as there were a lot of bad actors in the early days of SEO, but online directories that are more tailored to a specific purpose or industry are still a great resource for finding relevant information about a business or service provider.
Max Harland, CEO, Dentaly
Online directories can be very important for online visibility, especially when your business is new. Sometimes online directories are one of the earliest ways for an online business to be found, and they’re particularly important if you’re in a specialized industry or in an area that not a lot of people know about.
Brian DeChesare, Founder and CEO, Mergers & Inquisitions
Online directories can be useful, especially when it comes to making contacts with other people in your industry. In tech startups, there are a number of online directories that are extremely useful for helping to network with other startup founders and investors, and these help people in the industry network and establish a reputation and connections. In some cases, if you’re not in a particular online directory, it’s almost viewed as a mark that your company is “illegitimate”, so it’s sometimes expected, depending on the industry and the directory in question.
Sanket Shah, CEO, InVideo
The finance industry is no stranger to online directories, which both institutions, as well as individuals, turn to for important PR and networking.
It’s worth looking into industry or niche directories just as much as it is the big names like Yelp or Google. For instance, there’s the Financial Planning Association Directory which serves as the largest membership group for CFPs. By becoming a member, you can also register to have your professional profile included within the FPA’s official CFP Directory, where potential local leads will easily find you after inputting their zip code.
Think of directory listings, whether for yourself or your organization, as investments in middle-funnel marketing and PR. You’re targeting local prospects and customer bases who are both geographically and topically primed for your services. The potential money saved in marketing and advertising is huge there, not to mention it all helps build your online reputation in a very cost-effective and intuitive way.
Jim Pendergast, Senior Vice President, altLINE
Online visibility relies on the ever-changing Google algorithm, and it is moving more and more towards trust and authenticity as markers of a worthy website. Online directories indicate trustworthiness and are also extremely helpful to potential customers/patients because they are able to see reviews from other people rather than inflated claims on a business’ website. While these directories can sometimes leave you open to criticisms, you still have the opportunity to defend your business or contextualize a customer grievance, or simply interact with customers online after their customer journey is underway.
Alastair Kennett, Founder and Managing Director, Optimale
It’s harder than ever to get your website on the first page of Google, but that need not be the case with popular online directories. People tend to use directories instead of Google when they are looking for something uber specific, so getting yourself listed in relevant directories will expose your brand to qualified leads looking for specific needs related to your industry.
Will Ward, CEO, Translation Equipment HQ
You can be standing in the middle of the stage with something amazing to share, but if the spotlights are not shining on you, nobody will notice you. Online directories are the lights shining on your business from different angles, so it can be found more easily.
Directories are critical to being found in a virtual ocean of possibilities but you have to do a little legwork to get your site in the prime clicking real estate zone. Just take it step-by-step and your website will get more and more traffic.
Bart Turczynski, Editor In Chief, ResumeLab
Online directories are still very important to the visibility, exposure, and ranking of every business. Having your business listed on sites like Yelp, Bing for Business, and Google My Business lends credibility to your site, provides traffic to your site from those directories, and improves your search engine ranking.
Niche directories are even more valuable to your website as their backlinks will also provide your site with traffic, and improve your search engine rankings. List your website on every relevant directory, and be sure to keep all of that information current. Utilizing online directories will increase your site traffic, and increase your revenue.
Mike Falahee, Owner, Marygrove Awnings
About the author
Jordan is the Manager of SEO & Social Media at UpCity. With almost a decade of experience designing websites and writing copy, Jordan has helped countless brands find their voice, tell their story, and connect with real people.