The art of SEO – search engine optimization – has been carefully honed over the years, with many different factors playing a part in enhancing a websites visibility to the search engines. Google, in particular, is constantly refining the algorithms it has in place to determine SEO, and as the pre-eminent search engine is the one that every business targets. The other search engines – Bing, Yahoo and so on – are still valid, but they do not wield the power Google does over the online world.
One area of SEO that has been controversial is that of listing businesses on online business directories. Many commentators will tell you not to use these directories, but others will tell you the opposite. Who is right, and should you list your business at an online directory such as In City Life? There are different answers that apply to different businesses, but let’s have a look at the overall picture.
What do Online Directories Do?
Think of an online business directory as a resource where local businesses list their details, and you’re on the right lines. The advantage of an online directory lies in the latter-day trend for searching while on the move and searching for local service providers. A typical search for, for example, ‘car repairs near me’ will bring up a list of such businesses in the local area, and often a map. Many new online directories appeal for this reason.
But can they help the business rise up the page rankings on Google? In some ways they can. As Google looks for backlinks – clicks to websites from other sources – online directories add to this, and that alone can improve a rating. Also, the fact it appears in local searches adds relevance to the business, and that is certainly something valued by all search engines.
It is worth checking which online directories are devoted to local searches. The one we mentioned above allows for businesses to list in a directory relevant to their city or town, so counts towards SEO, but there are many that may not be as direct or recognised, hence our advice. There is another way in which online directories can enhance your SEO and that’s ‘social proof’. It may be a jargon term but it’s an important one that measures your standing and reputation on social media.
Directories and Social Media
Social media did not take long to become a vital tool for business promotion. Social media marketing should play a part in every business’s promotional routine, and online directories are a part of that. When someone searches for a business, finds it, uses it and then comments on a chat room or forum – or makes a post about it on Twitter or Facebook – they are adding to the social proof of that business. This in turn brings more enquiries and boosts the internet presence of the business. Search engines notices this, and it helps with SEO.
There is no doubt whatsoever that online directories can be a good way of adding to an SEO ranking, but they should be carefully selected and contain the right information that is up to date and relevant. Keep your entry in the online directory to the point and concise, and ensure it includes everything that the searcher will be looking for when they are on the move.
There is a lot more to SEO than we can go into in this article, but we believe we have dealt with the question in the title in a simple and easy to understand way. In short, online directories do have their place in SEO so choose the one you use carefully.