3 Ways to Make Effective Use of an Online Business Directory
Online business directories are the modern day equivalents of more traditional printed listings or phone books and as such, they are designed to provide detailed, categorised listings that can help to link end users to trusted businesses in the fields that they are searching for.
For businesses, this can mean increased, targeted traffic – and for individuals looking for a particular service or product, a directory can be a great way to home in on the best companies to do business with.
When it comes to promoting your brand, few tools can offer as much ‘bang for your buck′ as a strong, trusted online business directory: But with so many resources out there, how can you be sure that your listings will bring any real benefits to your brand?
Tip 1: Examine the quality of websites which appear in the directory you are considering
If you′d like your directory listings to reflect upon your brand in the most favourable light, it will not be helpful to use a resource which is packed with low-quality links (these could be out-of-date, inaccurate or untrustworthy enough to be considered as ‘spam′).
Savvy users will quickly identify and ignore poor-grade directories and listings, meaning that your efforts to get listed will be wasted when you use low-end resources.
The most prestigious, trustworthy directories will typically be 100% human-edited and moderated by a dedicated team to ensure that each website listed is of a high standard.
Tip 2: Think about what path you will choose on the journey to increased exposure
When you′ve carried out some research and have found a trustworthy, valuable online resource that you′d like to get listed on, it is important to consider the level of listings on offer, so that you get maximum exposure – typically, these comprise three levels:
· Reciprocal: Typically, the best directories will give you a free link, if you link back to them – normally, directories will use advanced software to automatically remove your link if you no longer have a link back to them.
· Paid: These are one-way listings which typically come with an annual fee: you′ll gain additional strength with such a link, but make sure that you can cancel your subscription at any time before going with this option.
· Sponsored: For maximum exposure that will give you the best chance of improving your targeted traffic, a sponsored listing can give you a priority position in the listings of your selected category: look out for features like a thumbnail of your site and some additional flexibility in terms of the key-phrases you will be able to use in the title: ideally, such a listing should be ‘for life′ – i.e. it should never expire.
Tip 3: Keep your target market happy by ensuring that your links lead through to relevant, valuable content
There is no better way to alienate potential customers than to mislead them.
Increasing traffic to your website is one thing, but ensuring that visitors stick around long enough for your site goals to be met is a different kettle of fish altogether: whilst this is normally within the realms of web-usability and effective copywriting, ultimately, any link to your site should go through to a page that is relevant to what is being advertised in the listing;
Adding high-quality links that ‘do as they say on the tin′ can often prove to make the difference between improved traffic and improved business.