Online business advertising directories are an essential part of building and maintaining your small business’ online presence. Not only do these directories help increase exposure, business directories can add relevancy to your site which is vital for search engine ranking.
There is a wide range of online advertising directories. Some offer free submissions, others charge fees. Some are designed as general directories; others are industry or location specific. A concentrated effort to list your business in multiple directories is a low cost way to gain online exposure.
Why Use Online Business Advertising Directories?
The advantages of listing your business in as many directories as possible go beyond increased exposure to potential customers. Incoming links to your web site are of critical importance when it comes to search engine rankings. Search engines, like Google, place significant emphasis on link popularity, or the number of outside links pointing to your web site. Business directory listings play an important role in increasing incoming links.
Many directory listings allow customers to rate and review their experiences with your business. While this can be a two-edged sword, positive reviews and comments can greatly increase your customer base. If someone posts a negative experience, most directory sites allow a rebuttal, giving you the perfect opportunity to regain goodwill, address the submitters issue, and show other potential customers that you are committed to quality and customer satisfaction.
Of course, increased exposure is one of the main advantages of using a variety of business directories. It stands to reason that the more directories in which your business listing appears, the more people will be drawn to your web site.
Types of Online Business Advertising Directories
There are three main types of business directories. They are:
- Industry Specific
General business advertising directories list businesses in all industries, specializations, and regions. Most general business directories offer free listings and differing levels of more prominent sponsored listing options. Examples of general business advertising directories include:
Business.com – Business.com is a general business site dedicated to providing business information, how-to articles, directories, and additional resources. Directories match customers with needed services and products. Free listings, pay-per-click, and banner advertising levels are available.
RichDir.com - Rich’s business directories provide a wealth of business information as well as business listings. Listings are submitted by business owners and reviewed for acceptance. Premium listings are available.
Best of the Web – Best of the Web is one of the oldest directory sites. Not a business specific direction, they feature general, blog, and local directories, business owners may create their own listing, upload photos, and take advantage of a free get started option.
DMOZ – DMOZ, or the Open Directory Project, is a large, comprehensive, human-edited web directory. A global community of volunteers maintains and constructs the directories. All listings, including those for business, are free.
Regional directories list businesses in specific geographical locations. Most regional directories break local businesses into industry categories and encourage customer reviews. Many regional directories offer business owners the opportunity to announce events, create coupons, monitor visitor traffic, and contact customers privately. Some of the currently popular regional business advertising directories include:
Yelp – Yelp offers free listings for business owners and managers. “Yelpers” rate and review various types of businesses, from restaurants to pet sitters. Yelp encourages users to socialize using online chatting and community tools.
Google Places – Google Places offers free business listings with some advanced features. Photos, coupons, directions, and more can be included in a Google Places listing. Listing with Google Places improves your visibility in Google search listings and on Google Maps.
Yellow Pages – A popular destination for consumers, Yellow Pages offers a free basic business listing and various paid options.
Yellow Book – Yellow Book is another popular local search directory for consumers. Yellow Book offers a wide variety of free and premium tools for business owners.
CitySlick.net – CitySlick.net offers a free service and various levels of premium features, including video promotions and classified ads.
Industry And Professional Directories
Industry-related business advertising directories focus on a specific business type. Consumers looking for a competent attorney, for example, enter their zip code in a web site search field and receive a listing of nearby professionals. Some industry directories provide contact forms for each listing so that potential clients may contact the business professional directly.
Other useful types of business directories include listings with your local Chamber of Commerce, professional organizations, and local media web sites.