Directories albeit offline, or online have been a method used by businesses for decades to help customers find them – both bringing new customers in, and helping old customers to get back in contact. And until fairly recently, online directories have been performing a similar function.
Such is the nature of the internet, however, things are beginning to change. Firstly, search engines such as Google have taken over somewhat from directories – with their search results giving lists of websites which are relevant to your need. Search engines can act as international, national and local directories.
Back in the early days of the internet, search engines such as Google actively encouraged webmasters to get listed in directories but this has now changed. Their advice now is about being listed in directories which will show that you are good quality and that you understand your niche.
Not just Links, the Value of Links
One of the best and worst things about the internet is that there is the space for anyone and everyone to do their thing. This applies across all fields, including online directories. There became a time when there was a huge number of directories online, meaning that they all became de-valued.
Site owners also became obsessed with signing up for a directory which not only is bad quality but also sometimes completely irrelevant to the business. This abundance of, to put it bluntly, poor value directories, made Google decide to change their policy and ask businesses to limit the number that they sign up to – whilst choosing the best quality and those which are within their niche field.
In other words, Google stopped being interested in the number of links from directories to a website, but the value of the links from a directory to a website.
If you have a physical business with an actual address, then Yelp is the best choice.
Trust and Credibility of Directory Links
There are many factors that Google look at to determine those all-important search engine rankings, and it seems very complicated. But actually it is very simple. They want to provide the best service possible to their users, and they do this by ensuring the quality of their search results.
Two of the most important factors that people are looking for when they are searching online are trust and credibility, so any website who can offer these, and show it to Google should be up there in the search results.
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If you are therefore listed in a trustworthy and credible directory, who moderate heavily, you are more likely to be seen as trustworthy and credible.
It can also help if you add in:
Direct contact address
Feedback and reviews
Registered business number or ABN
How to Choose the best Directories to List In
So you know that you want to list in the best quality directories, but how do you seek them out? You should consider the following things when deciding on which directory to list in:
Heavily moderated – their attention to detail will mean that Google trusts them to only list good businesses. It might take a little time for you to appear as you might have to be approved.
Well known – Unknown sites can look questionable
Paid – It might be worth spending a little money to be listed on a paid site as this screams out that there will be very little chance of containing spammy sites
Niche – Ensure that you get listed in niche directories which are directly relevant to your business. If you are accepted in your field, Google will definitely see this as a bonus.
To the question of whether you should be listing in directories to better your SEO, the answer is yes, but with moderation. Choose your directories carefully and they can really give you a boost, but if you over-kill, you could find your website starting to slips down the list.