Online directory marketers are an aggressive bunch, and locally operated businesses get bombarded with their promises day in and day out. They make a lot of claims about getting your company found easily on search engines and mobile, but can you really expect them to represent you in the best light?
We audited the performance of 40 of the most popular online directories for most businesses. We compared their free versions to their paid listings, and here's what we learned.
- In 32 of the 40 we focused on, paid enhancements were highly promoted as the preferred appearance for 'best way to get found.'
- Endless high-pressure sales pages for those enhancements made it very difficult to understand if the listing was free or not, and it was easy to chalk up additional one-time or monthly fees to include basic information.
- Root directories feed most other directories and search engines, often with inaccurate information that is hard to repair without incurring a second listing.
- Root directories also share between themselves, so if one is wrong, several need repair.
- Repairing an incorrect directory listing is extremely time-consuming. Often they will impose fees before a listing can be corrected, using deceptive language and navigation to coerce you to the pages of their choice. Free and fee-based information is intentionally hard to discern.
- Paid listing enhancements cost between $19 a month to $297 a month and more, depending on the directory.
Popular directory locations offer to list businesses everywhere, including search engines and mobile. These services often mass-upload business information from a template, causing grossly inferior online business appearances without ever 'claiming' the business. Their costs do not cover the additional enhancement fees these directories charge independently.
Manual entry is the only way to ensure accuracy, and then it's still possible for details like corrected business names, category choices and business descriptions to be neglected without additional monthly fees. My advice is not to give up, and use the free listings.
Your business must be listed in directories, but be cautious how you proceed. This takes many hours to do, and our company recommends adding your listing to one location every week for a year to make this task manageable.
Get Started Listing Your Company Now
In a competitive and evolving online environment, directories offer a back link safety net that will benefit your local business. They enjoy authority that is often too expensive for small business owners to attain independently. Often a company will be found with a link from a directory beneath their name in a search results page before they show up for their own domain. Because of this, information accuracy is very important.
Here's why you need to get started now:
- Some locations offer coupons that they share in email campaigns with others within the locations you've chosen. With the impending holiday season fast approaching, you need to keep your name and your offer in front of as many as possible. Free advertising.
- Most directories now have social links, so your listing can be shared by others you connect with online and by those happy with your company.
- The back link authority is necessary to keep your website as high as possible on search results pages (SERPs).
- Directories show up first, including mobile directories. Your business needs to be easily found by those with urgent requests.
- Easily distracted consumers need to find information quickly and on the run. When you make it easy for them, you've become a resource.