Written by Stephen Rabil
So your first question might be, what is an online directory?
It’s exactly what the name implies, it’s the same as a print phone book (e.g. Yellow pages) for businesses, except it’s all digital on the world wide web. A small business can enter information (e.g. business name, address, phone number, and email) onto a directory to improve their SEO visibility for local search results by users. Below is a screenshot of a sample online directory (https://www.manta.com/add-your-company?) and the type of business information you can provide. Depending on the directory, adding your small business information to a database is often free. However, some directories require a fee in order to add a business profile to their index. If it’s a one-time fee and the directory has a high domain authority (50 or greater) it’s often a worthwhile investment.
Your next question might be, how does listing my business in local online directories improve my SEO rankings?
Five reasons to publish your business in online SEO directories:
1) It’s one of the top ranking factors used in the Google Search Algorithm. Google partnered with two independent consumer research firms to run a small study (~4,500 participants) to better understand consumers’ local search behavior on smartphones, desktops and tablets. Below are some stats from the study:
- 4 out of 5 consumers searched online to find local business information.
- The most popular information searched for was store address, business hours, product availability and directions.
- 50% of the participants who used their smart-phone and 34% who used a computer/tablet to search online visited a store within a day.
- When comparing consumers using a smartphone to do a local vs. non-local search they found 18% who performed a local search lead to a purchase within a day vs. 7% who did a non-local search.
- 4 out of 5 consumers stated they preferred ads customized to their city, zip code or immediate surroundings.
The study’s results demonstrate that LOCAL business information is extremely important to consumers when searching and shopping online. Therefore, Google realized the importance of local information in online searches and has made it one of the strongest ranking factors in their search algorithm. Hence why publishing in LOCAL online directories is an ideal SEO strategy for businesses.
2) It boosts a business’ website’s visibility in local search results. Local SEO strategies involve optimizing keywords with your local city or cities (e.g. “top hair salon Rockville”, “event management Washington DC”, “Italian pizza Bethesda”, etc.). This is the same strategy that local online directories use and because they typically have a high “domain authority” they appear more often in the first page of web search results using (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.). This, in turn, will lead to increased appearance and ranking of your business profile in local search results.
3) It will increase your brand’s visibility. Using the logic in point #2, more appearances in search results has two major impacts on a business’ branding. One is an increase in brand recognition. Second is an increase in user familiarity and trust in your brand. Therefore, it’s crucially important to use a recognizable logo and add as much information about your business as possible to each directory you list the business in.
4) It allows your business to dominate search results. By listing your business in as many online directories as possible you greatly improve the likelihood that your business will appear on the first page of Google Search results and other search engines.
5) It’s a cost-effective SEO strategy because you get more bang for your buck. Online directories enable businesses to reach a wider range of target audiences and consumers can leave real reviews about your business. In addition, a majority of the directories listed below are free!
The top 50 online directories to improve SEO we recommend below:
(*Note: Always be sure to search for your business listing in each directory before creating a brand new one. Removing duplicate listings in these directories is equally as important and time-consuming to remove if there is a duplicate.)
Click the different table headings (e.g. URL or Link) to sort each column!
|URL or Link||Category(Local, National, Niche, etc.)||Domain Authority*||Free or Paid|
|Yelp for Business||Local||94||Free|
|Foursquare||Local and National||93||Paid- Requires a one time fee of $20 to publish listing|
|Psychology Today||Niche- Mental Health||93||Paid- $29.95 per month. Highly recommended for Psychologists, Therapists, etc.|
|Angie’s List for Business||Niche-Trades||91||Free|
|Crunchbase.com||Local and National||91||Free|
|Better Business Bureau||Local and National||91||Free|
|Merchantcircle.com||Local and National||87||Free|
|Yellow Pages||Local and National||86||Free|
|NextDoor for Business||Local||75||Free|
|The Wedding Wire||Niche- Wedding Vendors||75||Free|
|Super Pages||Local and National||71||Free|
|RateMDs.com||Niche- Medical Professionals||63||Free|
|Google My Business||Local||61||Free|
|Yellow Book||Local and National||61||Free|
|Partners Local||Local and National||60||Free|
|Company.com||Local and National||56||Free|
|Brown Book||Local and National||55||Free|
|Bing for Business||Local||53||Free|
|Show Me Local||Local||51||Paid- requires a one time $7 fee to make the listing active.|
|Cybo.com||Local and National||50||Free|
|City Squares||Local and National||49||Free|
|Yello Yello||Local and National||48||Free|
|Hub Biz||Local and National||47||Free|
|Tupalo.com||Local and National||46||Free|
|E Business Pages||Local||45||Free|
|Yellow Page City||Local and National||45||Free|
|Express Business Directory||Local and National||44||Free|
|Call Up Contact||Local, National and International||43||Free|
|US Enroll Business.com||Local and National||43||Free|
|Viesearch||Local and National||43||Free|
|My Huckleberry||Local and National||42||Free|
|Lekkoo||Local and National||42||Free|
|Find Us Here.com||Local and National||38||Free|
|Akama.com||Local and National||38||Free|
|Usplaces.com||Local and National||34||Free|
|Best of the Web||Local and National||64||Free|
|Express Update||Local and National||33||Free|
*Domain Authority is a ranking metric (based on a 100 point scale) established by the SEO experts at Moz.com. It determines the power of a domain and how well it will rank in Google search results using a multi-factorial algorithm.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check out our other SEO Articles for increasing your web presence!