One of the first topics that we bring to our clients’ attention is the importance of listing in business directories. Business directory links play a huge role in Google’s sometimes-fickle algorithm. By fickle, we mean that Google fine tunes its algorithm often enough to turn a once compelling SEO strategy into something that barely makes a dent in a new algorithm. This is not the case with getting your business listed in directories. Directory link building will always play an integral role in SEO. Yet, there is a slight rub to the directory link building strategy.
You business needs to be listed in the right ones.
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What exactly is Directory Link Building?
Directory link building goes back as far as the earliest Internet marketing strategies. It involves submitting and verifying your business information to a site dedicated to listing businesses. While the breadth of services varies among online business directories, they all list your business with a link to your organic website. Some directories offer review platforms, some directories allow businesses to upload videos, and some directories provide maps for locating businesses, but you can expect all of the directories to allow visitors to clink on a link to access your website.
This common SEO strategy may be the quickest way to gain new links. We recommend making directory link building to be one of the first Internet marketing steps that you take. The increased exposure will boost the Google search engine ranking for your small business. With Google garnering over two-thirds of all online searches, directory link building is an essential component of any business Internet marketing plan. However, more may be merrier, but you can overdo directory link building by listing in the wrong directories.
Getting Links in the Right Directories
We cannot stress enough how important it is for you to build links in directories that pertain to your business niche. Why would a lawn care service have any interest listing their business in a directory dedicated to technology? Why would a business located in Minneapolis want to list in a directory that features Fredericksburg businesses? While these may seem like extreme examples, you will be surprised to learn that we see many business owners list in as many directories as possible to take advantage of Google’s algorithm. Not only does that strategy take too much time, Google penalizes the shotgun approach to building links in business directories. Review every directory that interests you to ensure it has relevance to your business.
The Million Dollar Question
The million dollar question for small business owners is “Which directories should I submit my business?” The million dollar answer involves an analogy. Remember the food pyramid that we learned about in grade school. Never mind that the foods have changed through the years. Just think pyramid. You start broad, by submitting your business to the top tiered and proven directories, such as DMOZ, Yahoo, Yelp, and Best of the Web. Then, you want to get your business listed in local directories that cover the same geographic region as your business. DMOZ and Yahoo have created local directories, and Google has Google+ Local, which is the follow up to Google Places. People who use geographic modifiers in their searches will receive listing of businesses within their specified regions. After you go local, try to find directories that list businesses according to industry type.
Directory Submission Guidelines
You should consider a number of directory factors before you decide whether to list your business. Ascertain the age of the domain, the number of pages indexed, and the quality of inbound links. Google Webmaster Central Blog suggests you should make sure the directory has active moderation and that it is well structured. Try not to go for reciprocal links within free directories. A high proportion of reciprocal links can hurt your business’ Google ranking. Analyzing your competition’s back links will give you an idea of which directories to submit your business.
The bottom line is directory link building should always be one of the pillars of your SEO strategy. Directory submissions are an outstanding way to establish a presence for your business online. However, natural link building, a strategy that develops over time, is still the best way for you to rank high in Google’s search engine. After all, high-quality content attracts other business owners who want to link to your site. Combining the two link building methods will ensure that your business makes a strong online impression.