Many small business entrepreneurs have heard of online business directories. However, many of them are not clear about the advantages online directories have for their businesses. Since the days of the Yellow Pages, the world of directories has undergone a major transformation. Web directories are very user-friendly, unlike the Yellow Pages.
They offer a platform where the user can identify and learn about the products and services in an instant. The user is thus able to contact the businesses that they are interested in. The client no longer needs to flip through countless pages before they find what is relevant to their needs.
Contrary to what some business owners fear, online directories are not huge databases where their listing will be unnoticeable. They are platforms that offer great advantages for businesses. This article will help you understand the key benefits of web directories.
What Are Web Directories?
Web directories are online databases that connect businesses with users. They provide the user with information on every business.
The user can then choose the business that is more relevant to their needs. A good number of web directories have a primary target. They could focus on:
- Targeting a certain industry or niche
- Enabling the comparison of different products and services in a specific niche
- Providing customer reviews that are accurate and reliable
- Using social media and GPS to provide real-time results
Online directories are available on a variety of platforms. They can be on social media, the web, smartphones, and other electronic devices. A good number of web directories offer a free listing for businesses.
However, you may have to pay a small fee for special features. For example, if you wish to add a video, photo, website link, or CTA (call to action), you may be required to make an additional payment. Some high-quality directories include:
- Google My Business
- Business.com (this charges $299/year and they tend to accept almost any advertiser)
- Jasmine Business Directory
- Bing My Places
8 Key Benefits Of Online Business Directories
1. Increases Your Online Presence
Many online directories create their business listings from other, larger online directories. This enables your business to show up in multiple directories – even in those that you did not submit a listing.
As such, a user looking for products or services in your niche is likely to come across your name. This is irrespective of where he/she does the search. However, you need to visit these directories to ensure that each listing is a true representation of what your business is.
You will have to claim and make appropriate changes to your listing on a regular basis. Take advantage of this by listing your business in top local web directories. Provide the name of your business, address, videos, and photos.
Also, they give a small, catchy review of your products and services. Reputable web directories are sources of solid citation, and all of them, in the long run, provide some of the benefits highlighted in this article.
2. Improves Your Local Visibility
Directories have a system of working that allows your business to connect to the intended users. They may be massive, but they have a way of improving your visibility in your geographical location.
This is good news for your business especially if your competitors don’t have the same presence in the local online directory.
In the modern world, 75% of buyers prefer searching for a product or service online before making a purchase. This means that if you list your business, it will get more business than your competitors will. You also get more noticed by your target audience.
3. Enables You To Enjoy The Power Of Reviews
Web directories require customers to review your product or service after use. They have a component where the user can talk about their experience with your business. They publish reviews in real-time, and other potential users can access them equally fast. This instantly builds trust.
A potential client will usually check out the reviews of other users before they commit. The impact of “word of mouth” in any business is that strong. Indeed, the best form of advertisement is a satisfied customer.
People will readily trust what online reviews say about a product or service. This is a good reason for you to list your business. They place you in direct contact with your intended audience, as well.
Many business owners shy away from getting listed online due to the fear of negative reviews. This, however, does more harm than good as it shuts them off from receiving positive reviews.
Positive reviews are the bedrock of any good reputation today. As long as you have a healthy product, customers will appreciate your business.
Plus, one or two negative reviews can actually do good for your business. They inform potential users that your business is healthy, genuine, and has nothing to hide.
4. Is An Effective Way Of Advertising
You can also decide to use web directories to advertise your business. This is a good way to grow your brand and catapult your business to the next level. Advertising in online business directories used to make a lot of sense (and it still does if you choose carefully) if your business is listed in the top ones. It allows your business to reach a wide pool of prospects.
5. Helps You Target Large Numbers Of Visitors
Local and business directories expose your business to potential clients. However, don’t expect a ton of them because there aren’t many shoppers going through the (sometimes complex) structure of a web directory to search for something they could do in 10 seconds by using Google.
Whether you are into service or goods, web directories make product recognition easier. That’s their main purpose nowadays. When clients for something very specific like your business name in a location most Google search results come from the directories highlighted in this article or Wikipedia (If you have a Wikipedia entry).
6. Adds Some Value To Your SEO Ranking
Any website’s SEO ranking is determined by how a search engine perceives the presentation of your web content which consists of about 200+ criteria. Search engines work for the benefit of their users, therefore, detailed information about your content is the brick and mortar of your online presence.
The more information they can get, and the more consistent it is, the better you will rank in applicable searches on the engine. Listing your business in web directories is a good way to supplement that information. Many businesses aspire to be on the first page of Google. Of course, it is possible to get here through years of consistent SEO practices, experience, and a lot of effort.
7. It’s Cost-Effective
Many webmasters complain that they have to pay a fee to get included here and there. But, as the last 2 decades proved us, on the Internet in 90% of cases free = SPAM. This is the harsh world we live in is. Creating your own business website is costly, especially if you are on a tight budget. Web developers, hosting companies, content marketing, images, you name it.
Listing your name in a few Google compliant web directories is very cheap, if not altogether free. You do not have to hire technical experts for this. You can manage your own data and make free post ads. All you need to do is to follow the guidelines laid on the online directory to register.
Give your listing a professional look by providing your details, address, and images. It is less technical, cheaper, and less time-consuming.
8. Makes Your Brand More Visible
Whenever a user interacts with a directory, they see brief snapshots of many relevant results. Just because there’s a chance they’ll see your business – even when they do not specifically click on it. It’s called brand awareness. This creates higher chances of the prospect of interacting with your brand in the future.
No matter the size of your business, remember that you are not acting in a vacuum. You are in competition with other local or global players in your niche and all of you depend on the same customers. You can change the game to your advantage by playing safe, have patience, hire someone if you don’t know what to do, and treat your customers as they’re your relatives.
Create, claim, and update your listings online. Start today and reap the benefits.