More and more small businesses today are using online business directories to their benefit. If you run a small business, you likely spend a great deal of your time thinking about your marketing plan. online business directories can be a great addition to your current small business marketing strategy. Those sites can help your small business expand its website traffic, increase the likelihood that your website will be found by interested visitors and increase your bottom line. If you haven’t taken a look at those directories and considered how your small business could use them to increase its market presence, then now is the time to start!
What Are Online Business Directories?
There are many different types of online business directories available on the Internet. Each of these sites serves a specific purpose and can be used by your small business in specific ways.
An online business directory is a website submission service that allows your small business’ website to be added to a specific category where it can be searched for by interested visitors. Listing your small business on an online business directory increases your website’s visibility on the web and helps to create inbound links to your business’ website. This places make it easy for people to find what they are looking for. These directories can be accessed from just about anywhere that has an internet connection. This means that people could find your business’ website from their home, office or even while traveling.
Every website that is submitted to an online business directory is placed in a specific category. These categories can range in how they are organized. Some are organized by business-related categories, some are organized according to personal preferences and others are organized by subject. Each category consists of several websites relating to a specific topic. Each website listing features the name of the website, a direct link to the website and a short description of the website. Interested Internet visitors will be able to browse through the various categories in the directory and locate websites like yours that they may be interested in visiting. Essentially, those places make it easier for any visitor to find your business’ website.
Online Directory Services - A Time Saving Tool
This is how online directories have changed. The online web directory business in general was doing fine just a few years ago. However, now, all that is available are a few good directories. It is not that the concept and benefits of online directory services are outdated, no. The people that operated them, gave up probably due to inadequate motivation resulting from the limited financial gains from the business.
You see, most of these directories were managed as a free service. I suppose, also, that the other reason for the current disadvantageous position of online web directories was the rise of social media networks. Social media networks provide more than link exchange service. These networks also offer timely communication technologies between customers, potential buyers and website operators.
Here is also another reason for the near collapse of this business. The advancement of server side submission services. One example is Yext.com. A local marketing website with a submission technology for submitting to lots of local search engines and directories in a short amount of time.
This amazing, service was not widely available about 10 years ago. Back then, one would visit one website at a time to make a website submission to be indexed in that directory. Yext.com was not popular then, as well as, local marketing. In fact, local marketing was just starting to gain publicity. As it was not viewed as essential.
Now, local marketing has also taken prominence on Google. It offers more services to local business websites than simply indexing a website URL. Basically, establishing a Google+ page with the "Google My Business" service through a verification process, a website can appear across all devices in addition to appearing on their local maps.
To get this free service from Google, you need to visit the "Google My Business" website. Where you search for your business on the map. If your business is not found on the Google map, you enter your basic information and get a verification code mailed to you. This initiates the verification process. Once, the business is verified, a business page is created as a Google+ page. It is reviewed before going live on their maps. This is very easy to set up.
The Benefits of Submitting to Online Directories
Online directories such as Yelp, Google Places, Bing Local, and Yahoo Local have been getting more attention recently. One of the major reasons for this added attention is the local search benefits that they have. While this is definitely a great reason to use directories as an online marketing tool, it isn't the only reason. Online directories themselves can be an incredibly effective traffic generating tool that gets your business in front of more potential clients and customers.
As mentioned, directories have gained a lot of popularity because of their ability to increase ranking on local searches. This is something that can be incredibly beneficial to businesses and is no doubt worth the effort. What gets overlooked at times by marketers is that directories like Yelp have millions of visitors and there are plenty of leads to be acquired on the directories themselves.
The first way that these directories can help businesses and their marketing efforts is simply through the traffic they produce. More traffic means more opportunities and more opportunities turns into more business. Another good thing to understand is that you never know where your customer is going to find you. Being in as many different places as possible will increase your chances of being found by and used by potential customers.
Another major benefit of being on local directories is that you can receive reviews for your hard work. Not only is it satisfying to receive a good review on its own, but positive reviews help you make a good impression on others who come across your business listing. While this does also mean that you have to provide your customers with a great experience or product, it can lead to great things down the road.
Lastly, we will take a look at how local search can be boosted through a strong directory presence. Search engines are trying to provide users with better local results and directories play a major role in the process. Having several different directories saying the same thing about your business makes you more legitimate. More signals that say the same things help the search engines to recognize that your information is accurate and that you are who you say you are as a business.
In the end, any business that operates locally should not ignore the incredible benefits that online directories have to offer. If they do, they will be missing out on future sales.