Pros and cons of using online business directories
Author: Mariana Martin See Bio
🕐 4 minutes read
Have you ever asked yourself one of the following questions?
Why should I register to a business directory?
What is an online business directory?
What is the best business directory?
Where and how can I list my small business for free?
Where can I advertise my business locally for free?
What is the cheapest way to advertise your business?
This article is written with the sole purpose of answering these questions and to help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of using an online business directory.
Right now your business is probably listed in at least one online business directory. You might know about its existence or you may not.
The ‘may not’ part could make you slightly nervous because of two reasons:
1. the data in the directory might not be accurate or might be totally incorrect
2. there might be customer reviews for your products or services that are either positive or negative
These two reasons are why an online business directory can help build your business or tear it down.
Being listed in trustworthy business directories can help you build your brand by getting your business to show up in search results when users search for specific terms related to your business’s industry, brand, or products and services. Many times, these sites allow you to list for free or charge a fee to unlock additional advertising benefits.
One of the best (or worst) features of online business directories is that they allow people to rate your products or services.
By having a business online you can’t stop people from writing reviews. The only thing you can do is to deal with them. No one wants to get negative reviews, but they sometimes happen. Promptly responding to negative reviews shows the customers you care and value their opinion. It may also be the incentive that arises in a person who had a bad experience with your business giving you a second chance.
Based on different statistics on customer reviews, 72% of customers don’t take action until they have read reviews. Some might say our culture has become co-dependent.
Take control of your business’s online reviews and take care of your online reputation to make sure that both Google and potential customers see positive information about your business when they search for you.
If you maintain it consistently, an online business directory can be a low-cost tool to increase your business reputation.
Possessing the time to manage all your profiles is another big drawback of having your business listed in many online directories. It is extremely time-consuming and repetitive to go through each resource to find, update or add it manually.
Local management listing services solve this problem, unfortunately, they don't come cheap.
Take a look at these comparison facts and decide which online-presence management service is better or most suitable for your business.
A few benefits of using online business directories include:
Improved SEO and online presence
Using online business directories helps search engine optimization by adding more inbound links. When people search for products and services related to your business the more times it appears in search results, the more likely users are to click on your profile. These users who enter your website via the search engine results page bring indirect traffic flow to your website. Search engine crawlers love that re-direction — the more backlinks in the form of external site click-throughs, the higher your Google ranking.
Improved brand awareness, stand out from the crowd
When you run a small business it’s very important to boost your brand awareness by advertising your services and developing a brand image via an online business directory. Put an image of your brand logo to your listing and ensure that it contains your company’s name. The idea is getting people to feel a connection to your brand and encouraging clients to contact you as soon as they recognize your brand.
If you are able to keep your profile up to date, an online business directory can be a low-cost means to increase your business reputation.
Managing online business directories
Being listed in trustworthy online business directories has a great deal of ROI — especially because most of them are free. This makes them worth the effort you put into creating and maintaining your listing.
So, how do you even know where to list your business?
Here’s a study that provides a list of top trustworthy, free citation sources based on their local search visibility score.
Based on the local search visibility score the best UK business directories are:
They had the highest score calculated based on a set of query combinations and the site’s position for those combinations in SERP. The score was calculated based on a set of listed business names (branded searches) that were registered in the majority of the local UK citation sites and also for a set of keyword combinations which covered all the business categories and all the locations from the UK.
In my opinion, it’s worth the trouble to list your business only in top online business directories and since you probably are already listed without your knowledge, you should claim your profile, especially if your data is old and inaccurate.
If you don’t make the effort to keep your data consistent throughout the web, you might lose business.
Unfortunately, using online business directories, while important, is also just one more thing to add to the list. Here, though, it’s worth the effort.
About the author
Mariana Martin manages Cylex’s data and content management team, producing insightful articles, research studies and all kinds of data resources that enable local businesses and SEO’s getting the best results in local search.