Sunday, November 1, 2015

Starting a BBQ Grill Cleaning Business
Part Eleven

THE IMPORTANCE OF BUSINESS DIRECTORIES

The list of online business directories is long, and it is obvious the major search engines put a lot of trust on them—at least as far as I can deduce—by seeing how high biz directories rank when you conduct a search for a specific business, especially small businesses.

A while back I created a very basic website for a friend of mine who needed one, but lacked the financial resources to have one professionally designed. I built his in a matter of hours thanks to a customized Blogger template.

After a few weeks, I checked Google to see if his new site was ranking at all. It was, but it was buried so far down the list as to make it near impossible to find. But it was a start.

However, I did notice right away that business directories, such as Manta, Yellowpages, and others, were ranking for my friend's company name and on the first page for that specific search.

I contacted most of the directories in order to update some of the info they had, which was both dated and, in some cases, wrong. Fortunately the great majority complied in a timely fashion and that had—I believe—a positive effect on the ranking of my friend's "official" website.

It's been about a year since I created the Advanced Interior Concepts website, which now ranks number 1 when you search for it by name, even though my friend didn't even spend the ten or twelve bucks to get his own domain name. The URL still reads bobdostalek.blogspot.com, which is okay for a personal blog, not so much for a business.

Also, when I created the site for my friend, I setup a Google+ page for him, knowing that having such page would help with rankings, and from the image below, you can confirm this.


It's also interesting to notice on the image above, that both the yellowpages.com and manta.com links still rank very high, which helps illustrate the point as to why it's so important to register your company with such directories.

And speaking about the importance of registering your company with business directories...

Down the same page, appear three listings for a company with the exact same name but located in New York state. From the Yelp listing it appears that company closed its doors, which does not look very good if someone who is searching for Advanced Interior Concepts in Orange City, Florida, thinks they're one and the same.



So if you have not registered your company with as many of the local business directories as you can find, or at minimum with the largest ones, you may end up in a similar confusing situation.

The good news is that you can register with these directories at any time, to make sure they have up-to-date information about your biz. That way when they get spidered by Google and Bing bots, the search engines will know what info goes where, and those instances will start to vanish.


BUSINESS DIRECTORIES...
WHICH ONE TO CHOOSE?

The list keeps getting bigger every day, but there always are a few that are a "must," in my opinion.

For starters, popular sites such as Angie's List, Yelp and HomeAdvisor are the absolute minimum for any small business. Even Google (in partnership with another company) has been making inroads for a few years now, albeit in a slightly different direction, with Get Your Business Online.

And like I've mentioned in previous articles, a business page on LinkedIn should always be a consideration. And let's not forget Google My Business and Bing Places for Business.

For the rest of business directories, I'd have to say that Manta.com and Yellowpages.com are the ones that usually rank pretty high on both Bing and Google. From there the list gets pretty long with directories such as:

  • MerchantCircle
  • Citysearch
  • Thumbtack
  • Handy
  • DexMedia
  • Insiderpages
  • Superpages
  • Factual
  • Foursquare
  • and many more.

Directories like Manta and services such as Moz Local, for example, help you automate updates to a group of directories... for a fee. But that is something to consider as it not only saves you time and money, but it can also guarantee consistency of your listing across different directories.


IN SUM

Thanks to popular small business websites such as Angie's List, HomeAdvisor, Yelp, and Get Your Business Online, combined with business directories such as Manta, YellowPages.com and dozens more, there's no reason why your small business cannot rank high for select search terms as well as the name of the business itself.

Getting listed in most of the sites mentioned in this article is easy. And with the exception of automation tools as those offered by Manta and Moz Local, most offer a basic free listing.

You will encounter a few sites that require payment, but that's an decision only you can make based on what your research may tell you.

As the number of small businesses trying to secure a web presence continues to grow, you'd be smart to formulate a plan of action and make the time to get your business listed properly on as many business directories you can find. Again, most will list your basic information free of charge, while others will extend offers to "enhance" your listing.

You DO NOT need to be listed on every single directory out there, but the main ones are almost mandatory, in my opinion. By doing so your business may start to rank high on search engines, and that can have a huge positive impact on your bottom line.

We all have a certain degree of control when it comes to being found online. And now you know a little more on the subject.