Local directories will continue to be very important places where small businesses can build a great reputation and create a strong online identity. Four out of five customers will make a search for your company or your type of business online. When this happens, local directories usually show up on the first page of search results. So it is essential to use this channel to attract more prospects to your business location and your website.
Local online directories go beyond a digitized version of the popular Yellow Pages. They provide instant access to companies, all their contacts, the reviews provided by their customers and a rating that tells a lot about their ability to provide satisfactory service. Online business directories provide an amazing platform for small businesses to reach a well targeted audience.
Types and Cost of Local Online Directories
Business directories are online databases that are designed to link users to relevant businesses. The main categories of business directories are:
Niche or industry specific directories
Directories that focus on grouping local businesses with GPS to give real time results based on the location of the user
Listings that focus on customer reviews like TripAdvisor
Online directories can be in form of a mobile app or a conventional website. Almost all of them will allow you to list your business for free but many will require a fee for you to access special services like a specially created web page, listing in multiple locations and removal of ads, while others will only offer a free listing for a trial period.
Benefits of Local Directories
Small business owners have a lot to gain from using online directories including:
1. Create a Strong Online Presence When you are listed on a popular directory, it is more likely that you will find your business name on others. This happens because many newer directories pull listings and information from bigger ones. So you can actually amplify your efforts by choosing the right directories first. But beware that the transfer of information from one directory to another is not perfect. So you need to search periodically to claim and update your business listing.
2. Get Free Traffic to Your Website When you update your listing regularly with all your contact details, make sure your enter the details of your website properly. Many users will see the link and click on it. This will bring in a rapid increase in traffic without investing money in hiring a professional SEO firm.
3. Enjoy a Strong Business Reputation Many local directories have a section for customer reviews. This section provides more benefits than merely giving customers an opportunity to rate or talk about your business. It spreads the time tested word-of-mouth that easily convinces prospects to buy your product or service. People trust online reviews so you should do your best to ensure that you have good reviews. Also, ensure that you respond promptly to any negative reviews because it makes prospects respect you even more.
Now that you know how important it is for you to list your business on local directories. You need to start searching for the most important business directories that your competitors are using and make sure your business is also listed there.