When you’re trying to grow your online presence, there are a few things you can do to boost your branding without spending a fortune.
One of the ways you can create more citations (listings) for your website is by creating social media profiles on the major platforms. Don’t restrict yourself to the usual suspects of Facebook, Google+ and Twitter though! Be sure to explore the other high authority social platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and so on (check out a pretty exhaustive list here: https://www.liftigniter.com/social-media-seo/).
But once you’ve moved on from social media, you’ll want to explore online business directories.
Free & Paid Online Business Directories
There are to main types of online business directories – paid, and free.
It should be noted that, like most things in life, free doesn’t always mean “bad” and paid doesn’t always mean “good”! You should always start with free before moving on to the paid listings – here’s what we recommend.
First, register for the Yellow Pages, White Pages, Pink Pages directories – whatever options are available in your market. Then register for the most common ones in your country such as HotFrog, Yellow Pages, Yelp! and so on. You may end up getting results like Pivotal Homes, an investment property builder in Surfers Paradise (owned by a friend of ours). They recently did a great job of doing this & got several of their directory listings showing up on Page One of Google for quality keywords.
We also recommend Yeep.com, which has great authority and will help you rank well. Even job sites can help, like Indeed.com or Monster.com.
The best option is to simply Google “business directories <city>” and explore the various options which come up. Look specifically for free listings first.
In our experience, upgrading to a paid account on almost all directories is pointless – all you really need is the website backlink for better rankings.
General vs Industry-Specific Business Directories
Once you’ve exhausted the general business directories, you’ll want to move on to the niche-specific ones. These may include Houzz, UrbanSpoon or any number of target directories depending on your niche and location.
Similar to the previous example, Google “business directories <niche>” or “business directories <niche> <city>” and explore the options you see.
A Good vs Weak Business Directory Link
If you’re really wanting to boost your website rankings, you’ll want to avoid adding links to low quality (or spammy) business directories. One way you can check the authority of the directory before you create your listing, is to check the domain at ahrefs.com – you’ll want a Domain Authority of 10+.
Final Tip for Finding The Best Listings
Lastly, use Google (in case you missed it the first two times!)
Run a search like “best business directories <niche> (or <city>) seo” and see what results you get! Chances are, someone has already done the leg work for you, and you can just copy their results. Why be a pioneer?
Populating Your Directory Listings
For best results, be sure to populate as much of the listing as you can. That means you need to:
- Upload your logo
- Provide your full business address accurately and consistently in all sites (as it appears in Google+)
- Upload as many photos of your business / staff / products etc as you can
- Provide your operating hours
- List your accepted payment methods
- Specify ALL your services or products
- Create as many relevant keywords / tags as you’re allowed to provide
- Putting your business in the most accurate category / categories
- Providing a detailed description, using as many words as you can within the limits provided
Linking Out To Your Business Directories
Once you’ve populated your online business directories, be sure to send your clients to them via blog articles, social media posts, emails and more. You’ll be able to drive up traffic to your directories, increase the chance of getting customer reviews, and build your online presence much stronger.
It can also help you battle against negative articles or search result listings for your brand!
Just one word of warning – avoid “keyword stuffing” in your listings. If you want to rank in Google for “plumber <city>” for example, you’ll only want to mention that exact phrase once or twice in your listing. Keep it “natural” and easy to read.
It’s good practice to keep your eyes open for quality business directories – it isn’t a one-time deal.
You can find competitor backlinks and list your website on directories they’ve used… a free and sneaky way to improve your online presence!