Tips to Increase Traffic to Your Online Business Directory

Driving traffic to your online business directory is essential to building a thriving directory. No one will post if they do not know that your directories exist. There are a number of easy ways to increase traffic to your online business directory. Below are a number proven methods to help you bring traffic to your business directory.

1. Search Engine Indexing of Your Directory: It is essential that you submit your online directories to all of the search engines to be indexed, even the lesser known search engines. As well, have your directories validated so that the major search engines will better index you URL.

2. Create a Favicon: A Favicon is a small icon displayed in your browser next to the URL in the address bar and also on bookmarks. It will distinguish your directory from competitors on the bookmarks’ list. You can download an existing Favicon or create your own.

3. Write Business Promotion Articles: Write articles about business and online business directories and submit them to article directories. Make sure that you include your directory URL. The articles should relate to online business marketing.

3 Create a Unique Directory: A unique directory will make your directories stand out from the competitors. General business directories will receive less business listings than if you created specific directories that focused on a particular niche. Do not create category dumps or search engines will categorize your online business directory as duplicated content.

4. Spread the Word: There are many options available to spread the word online about your online business directory. Develop a relationship with other directory owners so you can exchange promotional ideas and strategies. Exchange links with relevant directories, not your competitors. As well, post comments of business blogs and discussion boards. Make sure you use a forum signature that includes your directory URL on forums and blogs where you participate. Answer questions and post questions on sites such as yahoo answers.

5. Create Your Own Blog: If you have your own Blog, you can post relevant comments related to your online directories. As well, you place your directory URL and directory description on your Blog. Promote different categories and subcategories of your online business directory.

6. Social Book Marking: You can increase site traffic to your online directories by making use of social book marking websites. A small widget of the site can also be placed on your site so that visitors can share your content with others. As well, become a social networker. Use your Twitter, Linked In, MySpace, Facebook, MySpace, and Friendster to promote your directories. The more friends and followers you have, the more likely you are to get people to post on your business directories.

7. Make News: Use RSS (Rich Site Summary) technology. Offer RSS subscription to your directory’s visitors. Provide newsletters to those who subscribe to your news feed. Regularly provide new content about your directory using this feed.

The key to increasing traffic to your online business directories is implementing strategies that will make your directory appealing as well as getting your name out in the online business community.

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5 Easy Steps to Use the Power of Online Business Directories

Online business directories are fast becoming the information hub of local customers searching for local businesses. Local customers are resigning their old, brittle print directories to the storage bin and turning to their computer and Smartphone to locate the best local business in town that caters to their needs.

A survey in the United Kingdom shows that approximately 20 million local customers each month is turning to online business directories to search for local products, services, or businesses. The behavior of local consumers is changing. Clearly print directories are no longer working for local consumers; they’re switching to an online business directory for faster, better, and detailed search result. The limited information on a yellow page is fast becoming obsolete against the more detailed local search engine marketing tools like local business directories. These directories can list not just the description of your business but also your business’ opening hours, price listings, location map, and even your photo or your office or store photo.

Online business directories, including the hundreds of free business directories, permit for these extra details to be added to your business directory listing. It’s the local businesses who make the most of this chance that are inviting new customers.

There are literally hundreds of paid-for and free online business directories out there. But how do you know which ones are the best and what’s the key to perfecting your listing so you stand out from your rival businesses without having to dish some amount of money?

5 Quick Steps to perfecting your online business directory listing

1. Pick the most popular and relevant directories for your business

The best online directories are those that have the most number of online visitors or those that are industry-specific. But a word of caution-not all niche or free directory listing fit the bill; some have few to nonexistent user base. A quick search on Google will tell you which ones are worth your time and ones to ditch entirely. Search on Google your “business type” plus “your location”: e.g., “accountant in Leeds”. Those local business directories that appear on the first 3 search results pages are the ones to focus. (Check the online business directory comparison chart to see which directories have the most number of audiences: comparison of top UK online business directories.)

2. Add your business to all directories

From the list you got on step one, add or claim your business to all of them. Many local business directories buy their listing data from a provider, so don’t be surprised if you find your business already listed on some of them. For future success, it’s very important to list the correct name of your business, address, and phone number-review your business’ existing list if the information is accurate.

Note: check for a confirmation email from each directory in your inbox; follow the steps on the confirmation email to complete your registration.

3. List as much information on your local business directory listing as allowed

The beauty of online business directory listings is that you can list not just the name, address, and phone number of your business, you can enrich your listing with more details like business description, clickable website URL, facilities, list of services, logos, opening hours, pictures, etc. Use this opportunity fully to personalize your listing to make it more relatable to your customers. Review the information you entered to make sure it’s 100% correct and true to each local directories.

4. Make or use a local Special Offer Voucher

Nothing can be faster to convert browsers into actual buyers than offering vouchers or coupons on your local business directory listing. Local consumers are paying attention to the word “free” or “special offer”; your business listing will stand out against your rivals if you have these words added. You don’t have to offer heaven and earth to your customers; any form of offer is good enough to get customers to walk into the door than nothing at all.

Tip: use different voucher codes on each directory so that you can monitor which directories are giving you the most number of walk in visits.

5. Interact with the communities on these directories

Online directories are dynamic websites with vibrant, active community of users. These users or local customers are actively rating and reviewing the listed local businesses they use, and these ratings and reviews are visible to other directory users. In fact, 70% of consumers trust online business reviews-business directories know this so that they’re pushing up local businesses with positive reviews higher on search results. This is yet another small business marketing strategy you can use. Do either of these to rank your business listing:

Ask your existing, loyal customers to go online and leave a positive review about your business;
Participate with communities on directories and encourage them to visit and test your business or organize an ‘event’ at your office, shop, or store just for them.
Never try to ‘bribe’ people to review your business, though, as this can backfire on you and can generate lots of negative comments which you don’t want (obviously!).

Online business directories offer a great opportunity for all types of local businesses to win new customers. The process of updating and managing your business listings across multiple online directories is very time consuming.

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Yellow Pages, a Generic Term for a Business Directory, and a Brief History of Advertising With Them

Yellow Pages has a long history, that goes back a century or so, in 1883, when a printer in Wyoming simply ran out of white paper and started using yellow paper instead for business listings. Yellow Pages comprise a directory that lists various industries according to their generic categories, instead of being listed alphabetically, which often caused confusion in the past. Just as the name suggests, this directory is published on pages that are yellow instead of white. Though originally this name was reserved for all kinds of commercial listings on paper, now it is also extended to include online listings and directories of businesses. The name, one must remember has a trademark in the United Kingdom. In the USA and several other countries this name has not been trademarked and hence is used freely by many directories and phone companies to publish and edit commercial listings. Almost 75 telephone directories use the online address of “Yellow Pages”.

In many countries, these directories are named slightly differently to avoid issues of trademark. In Romania, Belgium, Czech Republic some several other European nations these directories are called “Golden Pages”. In several countries, they are called silver pages, town pages or rainbow pages. All these names reserve the same meaning: a commercial directory where one finds not only listings of different categories of business but also commercial advertisements. Typical Yellow Pages comprises of a comprehensive listing of all the businesses located within a given area according to the similarities among certain business categories, which are then listed alphabetically for better reference and faster use. Generally, such directories are published by telephone companies but due to the profitability of such books, several private companies have also invested in this line of business, often publishing directories that target certain demographic groups.

A business directory collates its information from several services. Often in the case of public directories that are published by local phone companies, using their own customer listings and information, listings issued by phone service providers are also used. Owners of businesses that use services other than the local phone company must ensure that their listings are updated in the upcoming directories. The listings within these directories are done based on location, size and kind of activity and may be either compiled manually, or using certain software online. The procedure to publish an advertisement in one of these phone business directories is simple. In most cases, an advertisement assistant hailing from the selected directory would assist the company to create its own design and then put it up for proof copy and review. The billing in all such cases is either done prior to printing of the advertisement in the directory or after the printing, but within the contract period, which usually extends for 12 months.

Though the use of print directories has been of much use to companies and businesses for several decades, their usage is on the decline, since most of the current users are opting for online directories that provide much faster and easier access. This is the reason why most directory companies have come up with online versions for their more tech savvy users. A local business listing provides several types of information for its users like, name address, contact details, type of service or goods provided by the company, the area extent of its service, related associations, etc. Certain directories also provide separate space for comments and feedback for its users for better and improved service. Several of these directories, besides providing the premium listings also keep space for additional and complimentary listings that are much more comprehensive and hence more useful.

You may now list your business with any of these directories or the pages with unparalleled ease since, most of these directories have online versions where publishing your own advertisements becomes much simpler. These are however mere search facilities and must not be confused with search engines, since they do not publish information on the basis of keywords, but categories and subsections of various kinds of businesses. These directories are available in both hard copies and digital formats, enhancing access and promoting ease of distribution. However, there is a lot of controversy on the quality and content of these online or digital versions of directories. Some believe that there has been some amount of trade-off between cost effectiveness and quality of online directories in the past. Furthermore, there are surveys that point to the fact that small business enterprises still opt for the print directories instead of the online versions. However, several public interest groups rally against the printed versions of theses directories since they are of the opinion that printed directories waste paper and are hence not environment friendly. There are several advantages of online or electronic directories, the prime among which is the fact that these directories can be automatically and easily updated in real time meaning, one does not have to wait for the once in a year updating process of print versions.

The interaction between buyers and suppliers is what the local search for directories for business listings is all about. There are several kinds of directories available in the market, that amplify this interaction, the most common example being, a shopping directory. These searches result in extensive listings of businesses that are grouped together based on certain homogeneities. The listings are exhaustive and provide multiple choices within the same sub-category that enhances the chances of profit maximization by the competing business firms.

These days B2B directory is also gaining popularity, which forms a single line of interaction between manufacturers and wholesalers and then wholesalers and retailers. These directories provide exhaustive information for business dealers wherein, each is looking for raw materials, dealerships, partnerships and collaborations to enhance business performance. These directories are not used by consumers but the firms that require assistance in the penultimate stages of the production process. Such directories are generally used in the marketing of goods and services that require the interaction of several business categories.

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Online Business Directories – Are They of Any Use for Local Businesses?

1.) Online business directories are very beneficial for small businesses. You just have to know how they work.

An online business directory is a website submission service that allows your small business’s website to be added to a specific category where it can be searched for by interested visitors. These searchable online directories allow their visitors to search for websites and businesses that they find interesting or that they want to learn more about. Listing your small business on an online directory increases your website’s visibility on the web and helps to create inbound links to your business’ website. Online directories make it easy for people to find what they are looking for. All they have to do is jump online, which means that people could find your business’ website from their home, office or even while traveling.

2.) Want to know how online business directories work?

The concept of online directories is actually a pretty simple one. Online directories are very similar to the printed Yellow Pages in the real world, only these listings are only online. (Actually Yellow Pages.com is now also one of the biggest online directories as well.)

An online business directory is just a listing place for a number of websites. Any type of website could be listed in an online directory. Some online directories are huge and cover every topic that someone could create a website for, while others are very small and specific to a specific niche. This means that online directories will direct you to just about any website that you want to find. All you have to do is perform a search in the online directory for a specific topic, or browse through the various categories until you find the type of websites you are looking for. When you perform a search you will be given a list of all of the websites that relate to your search term. You will be presented with a number of links to these websites and each link will have a short description of what you are likely to find on the website. You can read the descriptions and choose to click on the website that best suits you.

3.) Being listed in an online business directory can give your small business more exposure!

Exposure is important for all business marketing strategies. After all, the more people who are exposed to your business the more people are likely to utilize your business’s services. If online viewers aren’t able to see your website, they likely don’t even know it exists and they probably aren’t going to purchase your products or services. Listing your business’ website in online directories helps your website to gain exposure. Thousands of people use online directories every day to find things they are interested in. These are people who are actively searching for websites that are directly related to your products or services. They are already looking- all you have to do is make it easy for them to find you. Online directories will expose your business to more online visitors, which could increase traffic to your website.

4.) Being listed in an online business directory can also boost your SEO efforts!

Online directories offer several search engine optimization, or SEO, benefits as well. Firstly, these online directories offer you more inbound links. When an online visitor sees your website link in an online directory, they will be able to click on it and be instantly re-directed to your website. This is a great way to increase traffic. It is a great way to improve your status in the eyes of search engine crawlers, too. The more backlinks that a search engine crawler can find, the higher they will rank your website. This is especially true of authoritative online directories. Being linked to a major online directory, such as Google My Business, will give your website more relevancy in the eyes of Google’s search engine crawlers. This will result in a higher page ranking on the SERP. As you know, a higher search engine result page rank you get, the more people are going to click on your website link.

5.) Where’s the best place to start looking at online directories you should be in? Start with your competitors!

You will probably want to consider listing with the top 10 online business directories, as these will be used by a lot of people and will offer higher relevancy and authority in the eyes of search engines. Google My Business is a large general-interest directory that you will want to list your small business with. If your website sells tangible goods, you may also want to consider listing it in comparison shopping websites and product listings directories. Studies show that 42% of consumers will look at a comparison shopping website before they decide to purchase a specific product.

The best way to figure out which specific online directories your small business should be listed in is to start with your competitors. Take a look at your local and niche-specific options and figure out if your competition is already listed. If they are, you need to be listed too. If they are not listed, you want to list your website anyway as a way to beat them to the punch. In some situations it may not make sense for you to have a listing in a specific online directory, even if your competitors are listed in it. Your goal should be to be listed in every relevant and niche-specific directory you can find as well as many of the major directories, but not so many directories that you appear as spam.

6.) Listings are important, but they’re just the beginning. You also want to make sure you have reviews!

Local listings in online business directories are a great way to market your company and get the word out about your business and what you do. However, if you don’t have any positive reviews within those local listings they can do more harm than good. This is because when reviewing all the different businesses within your industry or category, users will always look to the reviews to give them a better idea of the service and quality of product they can expect. And if you don’t have any reviews but your competition’s page is filled with positive reviews, you’re sending customers directly to them instead of to you. You can get more reviews by using surveys, providing incentives, having a tablet with the review site already up to hand over to customers, responding to reviews already up, and by knowing when and where to refer customers.

7.) Remember that once you’re listed you need to track, track, track!

It will probably take some time to see the results of listing your small business’ website in so many online directories, but eventually you will see results. The best way to find the perfect combination of online directory listings for your business is to use some sort of tracking or analytics system. You will want to be able to see how many people clicked on your website links from within the directory and if your website has shown increased traffic since then. You will want to stop wasting your time with online directories that are not producing results and increase the time and effort you spend on online directories that are productive.

In summary, here are 3 critical reasons why your business must take advantage of the top online business directories to help you get more customers.

Maximize Exposure: Every day potential customers are searching for businesses in your area to help solve their problems. And more times then not they’re finding these businesses on online directories.

Social Proof: When prospects find a business online they read reviews to make sure they’re making a good decision. Having customers post positive reviews on your listing will build tremendous credibility and prove to everyone that you’re a reliable business that can be trusted.

Low Cost: Most of the top online business directories are free to use. Making it one of the best marketing values your business can have.

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