As part of the search engine optimisation (SEO) and web design services we offer to clients, we add their business details and website links to online directories, which are called “citations” in SEO lingo. Think of sites like YellowPages, TrueLocal, HiPages, HotFrog, and the like.
Sometimes our clients say that they get most of their business from word of mouth, referrals, a particular partner, and so on, and ask whether they need the online listings at all. But there are many reasons for having them, some of which actually have nothing to do with SEO or web design services, and are simply good business practices. Here’s a brief outline of those reasons.
It’s a well established fact that the more your brand is seen, the more a customer will inherently trust you. This makes sense, because people are more comfortable when they’re familiar with something, than a completely new or different experience. Having your business in as many (high quality, local, and appropriate) online directories as possible means that you can be seen by potential customers more easily, which builds that trust. This can be especially useful for longer-term searches; for example, if someone searches for a product or service they need today, sees your brand a number of times, puts the search on hold and looks again in a few months, they may remember your logo/business, and trust you more than the competition.
Many online directories have a verification system to ensure businesses are who they say they are, but many don’t. It’s also not foolproof; anyone can create a listing with a business name and phone number, and have that number verified automatically by the directory listing system. In other words, your competitors could create a listing under your name, and then direct the traffic to their own websites or even deliberately make your business sound incompetent. Your reputation could be tarnished very easily, so creating your own listings ensures that your underhanded competitors can’t.
Another potential issue with online directories is that many of them can automatically generate listings for businesses, by gathering your business details from other directories or sources. When this happens, you’ll normally have the option to claim the listing as your own. But until then, your details could be out of date or incomplete.
A recent study from BrightLocal found that 93% of consumers are frustrated by incorrect information in online directories, and a whopping 68% of consumers would stop using a local business if they found incorrect information in those directories. Creating/claiming your own listing means you can update it as your business changes. If you’re working with an SEO company in Brisbane, or have someone providing other web design services, they can probably help give you more details on how to claim those listings.
SEO isn’t just about getting traffic to your website. It’s about increasing your business revenue, so it’s easy to get bogged down in thinking about seeing your website ranking high in Google. But online directories, if nothing else, offer an easy extra way for your business to be found online. Potential customers can find you either in search engine results pages, or when they directly search for local businesses on the directory sites themselves. Some of those sites may actually be ranking higher in Google for your business name and other searches, than your own site, so why not get the free traffic?
In SEO, one of the keys to improving a website’s visibility online is through backlinks. This basically means the number of websites that link to yours. Google is pretty clever, so firing off your website address to every possible other website is usually a bad idea; it’s important to pick and choose the right websites for backlinks. Many of the larger online directories, and especially local ones, have great online reputations, so when you create a listing on those directories, search engines consider this a thumbs-up for your website. In turn, this helps your own website rank better in search results.
As you can see, there’s no downside to creating directory listings (if done correctly), but plenty of potential benefits. Not just for your SEO campaign but for increased sales conversion rates, customer satisfaction, reputation management, and more.
GO Creative is an Australian SEO company which offers corporate web design services with all staff based right here in Brisbane, and with 20 years’ experience, we’re happy to have a chat and help your business grow. If you need a hand improving your online presence, get an instant quote today. You can also get a free SEO audit within minutes!