Now You See Me, The Importance of Directory Listings
While many people understand the term SEO, and the idea behind it that leads to increased website visits, business listing sites, or web directories, can be another useful tool to bring visitors to your website. As a business executive who is dependent on website traffic for optimal growth, it’s critical to understand the difference between these two options, and why your organization should consider both.
A DIRECTORY IS NOT AN SEO SERVICE
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a technique that optimizes your website to allow "spiders" or web crawlers to add your site's information to their search results. SEO success is a result of adding content to your site on a regular basis, helping the search engines to classify your site in the categories where you should be found. By contrast, Directory Listings are not part of your site at all. They are listings of business information submitted by the website owner (or webmaster) and added to an existing Internet directory following evaluation (usually) by a human reviewer. Together, SEO and Directory Listings can impact your site’s SERP, or Search Engine Results Placement, which help you develop a successful game plan for your website.
WHY A DIRECTORY?
Directories themselves are a great listing source for web users, but even if your prospect doesn’t look for you in a directory, a listing in the right directory can help that prospect find your business! Many search engines, such as Google, are fond of local directories because they are an existing, trusted repository of business data.
For a business, it is important to select high-quality directory sites that are both selective and specific to your industry, regional locale or niche marketplace to help users understand the products or services you offer. This is important to your SEO efforts because Google My Business, Yelp and other listing sites will pull contact information for businesses matching organic search parameters. Make sure you are among the results, ,all of your competitors will be!
Some of the most widely used directory sites include, Google My Business, Yahoo Local, YELP, Local.com, Bing Local and Factual. Each will provide contact information for local businesses in organic searches, as well as on their own sites. Many of these sites also provide rating systems, reviews and links that help businesses rank higher and respond to consumer questions and needs.
WHY YOUR BUSINESS ISN’T FOUND ONLINE
So your business is listed in YellowPages but can’t be found in search results? One of the biggest mistakes that a business can make is allowing inconsistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone) data to exist on the web. Having differing versions of your business name, multiple street addresses or several URLs can confuse the listing site and cause your business to be acknowledged as multiple different companies. That is bad for SEO because it limits credibility and may cause your rankings to be lower.
HOW TO MAKE SURE YOUR DIRECTORY LISTINGS ARE CORRECT AND CURRENT
The best way to ensure accurate listing, higher rankings and business credibility is to ensure the most up to date information is entered into the listing sites and inserted into each page of your website. But be warned, this can be very time-consuming, even if you have a strategy for unifying content for dissemination. Most digital marketing professionals use industry tools like Yext to can automate some of those steps, however even with these, regular monitoring is required to ensure accuracy.
Once you to have all listings updated and consistent, plan to regularly check them to make sure your content is correct and updated. Your data can change when information is received by a directory from other sources, so it’s up to you to ensure that information is always kept current. If you don’t want to manage this yourself, you can engage a provider that provides such a service. Check with your digital marketing provider or webmaster, or check out our Directory Listing Service for an idea of what you can expect.