Directories for SEO 2021
Are directories still relevant in the SEO strategy race in 2021? Why do we ask? Since the inception of the internet, links in and out of your website have always played an integral part to your website’s optimisation. As search engines evolve, they don’t have the same significance these days, but they certainly can’t be ignored. Looking at how users search for information, directories are more significant in allowing you to advertise to your target audience rather than gaining ranking on Google.
This blog examines the advantages of using directories, the different types you should look for, paid vs free and top tips to avoid mistakes that could penalise your site.
Directories and why they matter
Have you got your business listed on a directory site? In the olden days most businesses made sure they had a listing in the Yellow Pages, now in the online world the choice is infinite. But with so many other platforms on which to showcase your business, why would you use directories in this day and age?
The Benefits of using an online directory
- Targetted advertising – Directories are usually constructed to serve a particular niche or geographical area because the two main reasons people will be searching are to look for local services or to research something in a specific sector. Directories provide a one stop shop for users so they don’t have to waste hours trawling the internet, some also offer supplementary information and blogs readers may find useful. Therefore you are likely to be seen by your target clients if you are listed on a directory.
- Increases the visibility of your website – as directories have good traffic more people will find out about you
- Cost effective advertising – Some directories charge a fee to advertise as they have enhanced features and are a good source of information for your clients. Given that users will value these sites, this is a cost effective method of advertising as what you would pay for a year, you would normally pay for a week in a hard publication such as a newspaper or magazine.
Directories and Search Engine Optimisation
When you have a business website you want it to be as noticeable as possible to online searchers. The more times your business and website are listed on multiple sites, the more traction they are gaining and the business becomes more visible to the search engines. This is a term called ‘link building’ or to give it its technical term, citations. This is a strategy that can give you more prominence in the search engine results pages. But before you go gung ho with listing your name on as many different directories as possible, exercise caution as you could come unstuck, here are some top tips.
10 Directory Listing tips
The search engines now focus on quality when assessing your online portfolio. As well as your own channels on social media and your website, they will look at where you link to on the wider internet and the nature of those links can affect your ranking. Therefore, it is imperative that if you are using directories as a link building strategy that you follow these simple guidelines.
- Only link to reputable sites – directories need to demonstrate that they are not just set up for the purpose of link building, they have to have a purpose, providing information or serving a specific need.
- The main categories you should consider are – local directories – these serve your local community and are ideal for local pubs, restaurants and shops. They are usually set up for the community to access key information so are very credible for the search engines. Sector specific directories – these are good if you want to be found by users searching a particular niche such as counselling, hair salons or accommodation.
- NAP consistency – wherever you list your business online, make sure you are consistent in the use of your Name Address and Phone number, this is known as NAP consistency. Don’t list a landline on one directory and your mobile on another, or list your address differently by missing a line out. This will cause problems when Google is indexing your information.
- Don’t suddenly link to lots of sites all in one day, stick to around 10 listings per month, otherwise Google will see this as spamming activity.
- Although NAP have to be consistent, you can vary your descriptions between directories as you don’t want too much duplication.
- If relevant, don’t forget to include Google My Business as part of this strategy
- Keep a log of where you have listed your business so you can update all entries should any data change and to avoid duplication.
- Don’t just focus on free sites, paid sites can offer value for money.
- Here is a list of the UKs reputable generic business directories , also focus on sector specific ones too.
- Self Catering Scotland is a blog directory for the self catering accommodation sector in Scotland offering interactive listings
Positive Sales and Marketing can help you with Search Engine Optimisation, content writing, getting a website or training you on online marketing. Please get in touch, we would love an informal chat with you about how we can be of assistance.