Business directories have been around for more than a hundred years, traditionally offering companies a platform on which to market themselves by helping them promote their business by activity, location and size, ensuring directory users find the right companies to do business with.
Business directories (also known as business listings or local listings) aren’t just a digital version of the Yellow Pages where users have to drag the book out of the cabinet and flip through thousands of pages to find what they’re looking for. They’re comprehensive platforms that enable potential customers to instantly identify, learn about, and contact businesses relevant to them.
Online business directories can take the form of a website, app, and/or other platforms. They exist on the web, social media platforms, smartphones, and even on specific devices.
You can see your company profile as the Curriculum Vitae of your business. Just like a Curriculum Vitae gives a brief description of a person’s education, qualifications, and previous occupations, so your company profile informs the reader of your business’s history, resources, service offering, expertise, contact information and location.
There are multiple benefits of using local listings for local businesses. Not only do they increase the business’ online visibility – and the business’s chances of getting found online by potential customers – but they are also a way for the business to reach a broader audience.
Benefits of Online Business Directories
1. Amplify Your Online Presence: If you search for your business name on the internet, you will likely see your business show up in directories for which you never submitted a listing. This is because many business directories today pull from other larger directories and automatically create listings.
2. Improve Your Local Visibility: Though they are massive, online business directories have advanced filtering and suggesting capabilities, and serve to connect you with your target audience. As a local business, directories are beneficial because they make your business visible to your local community.
3. Get Discovered More: The typical online business directory allows users to search by specific criteria, such as service, location, and category. By simply entering complete and accurate information in your listing, the directory will then connect your business to the people searching for it, even if they don’t search your business name explicitly. This is highly beneficial because often people don’t know to search for a specific business name or the specific service they need.
4. Use Word of Mouth: Most online business directories have a customer review component, as word of mouth has always been a trusted source for consumers. With the real time and sharing capabilities of mobile devices, customers can now publish reviews more quickly—even during their experience. People seek out and trust online customer reviews today more than ever, so get listed in online business directories and you’ll be placed in a direct channel to your target audience.
5. Strengthen Your Business Reputation: The fear of negative reviews prevents many businesses from getting listed online, but this shuts them off from getting positive reviews too, which are essential for a good reputation. As long as you know how to properly handle one, the cost of one negative review is outweighed by the benefit of many positive reviews. Plus, a mix of reviews can even strengthen your reputation, as it shows that you are a genuine and healthy company that has nothing to hide.
6. Increase Brand Awareness: When a user performs a search in an online business directory, it will display a list of relevant results, each with a brief snapshot so that you can decide which one to click on to learn more. This means that even if a user doesn’t click on your listing, they still see your business. Every encounter a person has with your business increases their awareness and familiarity with your brand, which warms them up for further engagement.
7. Boost Your SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of providing your web content in such a way that search engines will favor it and rank it higher in results for applicable searches. A search engine wants to be trusted by its users, so the more information it can obtain about your website, and the more consistent that information is, the better you will rank. Online business listings are a great way to support and supplement your already existing information to give it that extra validation.
8. Show Up on Google: It is possible to get on the first page of Google through SEO practices, but it can take a few months to start seeing results. Online business directory sites, on the other hand, have been around for a while, have high amounts of traffic, and are for the most part trusted by search engines. Since Google likes these characteristics, its first page of search results regularly contains pages from online directories. If you get listed in an online business directory, you have a chance of benefiting from their well-established SEO and showing up on the first page of Google.
Having an online presence for your business is essential nowadays, as it will help your business get found online.
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