Types of Online Business Directories
All online business directories are actually databases that connect internet users to businesses of interest to them. Link directories contain a variety of information on the businesses in their listings. But, some directories are focused on more specific objectives, for examples:
- Providing objective consumer reviews.
- Concentrating on a particular industry or niche.
- Enabling comparisons to a company’s competitors.
- Employing social media data to deliver real-time information.
There are various forms of web-based business directories. Some operate as websites, some as apps, and others as platforms. Most can be accessed through the entire range of devices used for internet browsing, including mobile phones.
Costs of Listing a Business in a Web Directory
Many online directories list your website free of charge. Others are free, but require payment for additional features, for examples:
- Multiple locations.
- Multiple categories.
- Inclusion of a call to action (CTA).
- Inclusion of a link to the site.
- Adding a photo or video.
- Removal of ads from a listing. Benefits of Listing Your Business in Web Directories
Small business owners are sometimes concerned that an online directory is simply a vast database wherein their own listing will be lost in the crowd. But, actually, web listing platforms provide numerous important benefits for small businesses, including these examples.
- Increases Your Online Presence
Many online business directories draw listings from other directories to generate their own listings. This allows website owners to get listed in multiple directories by listing with one. However, in some cases, your information may not all transfer properly. So, it’s necessary to monitor, claim, and update your listings on a regular basis.
- Contributes to Your SEO Objectives
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the effort you apply to presenting your online content in ways that, when taken together, will cause Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines to favor it, and ultimately to rank your content above other results from searches related to it. The more information, and the more consistent information, a search engine has about your site, the higher it will rank in the search results. Listings in online business directories provide important supplementation to support your existing information online.
- Helps Your Prospective Customers Find You
Most link directories let users search by criteria such as category, service or product type, and location, among others. By merely entering accurate and complete information in your business listing, the web directory can connect your business to internet users who are searching for it. This works even when users don’t explicitly enter your business name in their search. Very often, people don’t know the name of your business, but want the specific service(s) you offer.
- Promotes Referral Traffic to Your Website
Business link directories often provide a consumer review function, offering mobile device capabilities and capacity for opinion-sharing in real time. Today’s customers can post their reviews online faster—even as they are having their experience with the business they decide to review. People tend to trust customer reviews published on the internet (more today than in the past). So, listing your business in online directories places you directly in the venue for your target consumers’ publications of their opinions about your products and services.
- Promotes Brand Awareness
Web users of a link directory see a list of search results that automatically populates in response to their search criteria. Each website that is well-constructed enough to appear in the higher ranked search results, provides a meta-description (a brief overview of the content of the website). This description helps the user decide which site to click on for more information. When users don’t choose to click on your listing, they are still able to see your business information. Of course, each time your business is brought to a person’s attention, his/her awareness of your brand is strengthened. As your brand familiarity is increased, engagement with your business increases commensurately.
- Builds Your Online Reputation
Many businesses hesitate to get listed online, due to fear of inviting negative reviews. But, the costs of avoiding such customer issues prevents the businesses from reaping the benefits to reputation from getting positive online reviews. The cost of a negative review is far less than the benefit of multiple positive reviews. And, mixed reviews may even serve to help build your online reputation, by showing that yours is a real and vibrant company that is not hiding from public scrutiny.
- Magnifies Your Regional and Local Visibility
Link directories do have massive databases, however they also typically have highly-advanced data filtering and search capabilities, which work very effectively to connect you to your target audience. Through these sophisticated capabilities, the directories make your business more visible to search-users in your own local area.