What is a business directory and why is it good for search engine optimization, SEO?
For companies present on the Internet it is crucial to be visible not only with an own site but also through a vast network of other sites. The most important part of those other sites is the search engines, primarily Google. The traffic to a company’s site from the search engines is extremely important for a company’s success. When somebody make a search on a search engine the person is most likely to go on to one of the sites listed on top of the search result. The top three positions are the most important, the following listings on the first page of a search result are important and the results on the following search result pages are most often not important at all. It is therefore very important for a company to visible on top of a search result page in order to have a successful business.
This article will focus on how a company can get its site on top of a search engine result by placing links to its own site. This article will also present how being listed in a business directory can drive traffic to its site on its own as the business directory generate traffic to the site.
What is search engine optimization, SEO?
First we will look closer at what search engine optimization is. Search engine optimization, abbreviated to SEO, is the art of ending up at the top of a search engines search result page – also called “SERP” for “search engine result page”. In order to come high up on a search engine result page there are a number of factors that play in:
The size of the website
How well the website is built in terms of code and other technology
That the website is easy to navigate
That the content of the website is well structured and easy to read, and does not contain spam content
That the search result information appears relevant enough for users so that they click on the links and visit the page
The number of links to the website, especially links from pages that themselves have a high status on the internet
How a business directory can help link building and SEO
That other websites link to a company’s own website is thus of great importance for that website to achieve a high ranking on the Internet. One opportunity to make sure such links to the company’s website are present on the Internet is to add the company to a business directory on the Internet and include a link to the company’s website in that profile in the business directory. By doing this the company make sure there is a link to the homepage from a relevant site.
Why a business directory is a better place for search engine optimization links to a company’s site than other places
The reason why a business directory is such a good place to link from is that the business directory provides very important relevance. As a business directory is organized around industries and geography the link will carry with it clear information that is comes from a relevant channel, the relevance being that the business directory is about the same thing as the site it links to based on industry belonging and geography.
That is why it is very important for a business directory to be well organized. There should be a clear structure of sections in a business directory that all have relevance for the user. It is important that there are not too many industries in the business directory, but not too few either. The number of industries should match the view on industries that most people share. Having only “manufacturing” can be too broad, then it is better to have “automotive” and “machine tools” as two separate industries that, even though they are both “manufacturing” describe the mentioned industries in a little bit more detail.
It is this focus on industry sections that is the key advantage with a business directory and it is also why it has remained popular despite all other types of listings or mentioning of companies on the Internet.
Business Directories is not only about search engine optimization but are also vital for traffic to a company website
Business directories also serve a company with direct traffic from persons who search the business directory looking for relevant companies for their business.
As a well structured business directory is not only about which industry a company belong to but also in which geographical area the company is located in it makes it possible for users to narrow their searches to match the geographical area they are interested in. This again makes it possible for users to easier find what they are looking for online.
The Internet is very crowded with information but still information keep being added at an ever increasing pace. This increasing crowding make it harder and harder to navigate the web and that make it even more important to continue the structuring of the real companies present on the Internet so that people looking for serious businesses can find them online.
We project that going forward business directories will become more and more important for businesses as they want to separate themselves from the less serious actors out there. Considering the value of reputation that is at stake it can be a very good investment to list the company in a “paid-for” business directory. By paying for a business directory listing the company proofs that its has access to funds, that it has a bank account, credit card and other assets that unserious persons typically doesn’t have.
The size of the business directory matters
When considering a business directory it is important to keep in mind that the size of the business directory matters a lot. The best directories are very large in terms of companies listed, the number of industries that they have in the directory and the geographical area they cover. A good business directory should of course cover the globe.
The size of the directory also make it more relevant to the users that are the ones that businesses listed in the directory want to attract. If a user come across a directory that only has a few companies listed it is not likely that the user will take that directory seriously but if the user come across a directory that has thousands of companies in many industries listed across the world it will be a different story. Then the user will feel the value of the directory and is more likely to actually search for companies, read the companies descriptions and also contact the companies that he or she find in the directory for actual business purposes.
How to add your company to a business directory
When you search for a business directory on the Internet - which is recommended to do and you probably found this article after you made such a search - you will often find either the starting page of that directory or you will find an industry page. On these pages, and most other pages in the directory, there will be buttons that encourage you to list your business. When you push such a button you will find a form with information that you will have to fill in.
After you are done with filling in the basic information you will end up at a page where you can chose the type of plan you want for your business’ listing in the directory. These plans can range from a free plan with basic listing to more comprehensive plans that include a wide range of services. Which plan you choose depends on your interests, maybe you are only interested in a listing as such or maybe you are interested in communicating more in detail with your intended target audience and use the listing as your preferred main platform for your business.
What is the typical information you have to add in a business directory
The form that should be filled in typically has a range of fields that start with the name of the company, continue with a basic summary of the business, a choice of industry and a physical address and contact email. Some or all of these fields are often mandatory to continue the registration. After these fields there might be a long list of other information that can be added, such as social media profiles, url, longer descriptions and other information. Some companies choose to add all this information while other stay with the shorter version.
Different types of business directories also have opportunities to add multiple companies. This service might be interesting for persons with several companies, groups of companies or agencies that represent a wide range of companies for marketing purposes for example.
History of business directories - Started with yellow pages
Business directories have a long history. It is easy to think that business directories is something that belong to the Internet age but that is very far from the truth. If one think back to the time before internet and how we searched for company information then we will remember the phone books and their yellow pages. This was a section in the phone book that had local companies listed, and also plenty of space for advertisement of local companies - and national or international ones. The system of phone books was used ever since the phone networks were established across the world during the 19th century.
But there was a time before both internet and phone networks. That time in history can be seen as going back to the cradle of civilization with regards to how companies organized themselves and the way they did this was in industry and business associations. Each profession had their own association and it was very often mandatory to be a member of a local business association in order to run a business in a certain area. So business directories go back a long time in history but the way these directories are published has changed a lot during history, and will certainly change again as civilization progresses.
Summary – Business directories for search engine optimization
A business directory is a system for organizing businesses according to where they are located, to what industry they belong and to what their speciality is in detail.
Business directories can serve companies needs in a multitude of ways. A listing in a business directory is a way for a company to get more visibility on the Internet and to place a link that will be picked up by a search engine, which can have a very positive impact on how that search engine ranks that very company’s website in the search engines search results.
A business directory listing is also a great way for a company to get users attention and thus achieve improved sales and useful business contacts.
Business directories have been around in different forms and thru different channels since the beginning of civilization, now it is Internet that is the main platform but that might change again before too long.