Can free web directories attract new customers to your business?

7 min read

The short answer is yes; web directories can send new customers your way.

Directories can send business your way. Every industry has different industry specific web directories, or location specific directories. Most of these allow you to list a limited amount of info about your business for free and charge you to add more specific info, such as a website.

Web directories can support your website’s Google position. You want your website to rank as close to the top as possible, but to do this, Google needs to believe you are important enough in your local market for them to push you to the top.

Every instance of your business being mentioned is called a citation. Citations include mentions of your business name, phone and address. Try to keep each listing of your business consistent. Avoid using a region like Nambucca Valley in one directory and Nambucca Heads in another and use the same phone number, not a mobile in one and landline in another.

Directories also work to support your business on Google by taking up more search spots in your local suburb/town.

If you can tie up 2 or 3 spots on the first page of Google with your website and some directory listings, you get more coverage than your competition.

Web Directory Checklist

  • Make sure each time you list your local address it is the same. Don’t use a PO Box on one directory and a physical address on another.
  • Keep your street address the same on all directories.
  • Keep the phone number the same in all directories. Choose a mobile or landline and stick to that one.
  • Always list a suburb/town, not a region (Nambucca Heads; not Nambucca Valley).
  • The main thing is to keep the information you list on directories the same.
  • Focus on directories on the first two pages and if you have time, maybe the third page too. The first two pages are the most important.

Please read the full post before listing your business on any web directories.

I have a few more tips to share with you before you list and they can affect how your listing performs.

Should you pay for any web directory?

Unless the directory is crucial to your business, like Trip Advisor, and you know others with the same business as yours are getting good results, I wouldn’t pay. The only other directories I would consider paying for are the ones that show up in the first 3 positions on the first page of Google in your local town/suburb.

You won’t be able to live on the business you get from directory listings

Your business won’t get flooded with new customers from free web directories; unless you’re listed on industry specific directories, such as those for restaurants and accommodation businesses, and you are towards the top and have excellent reviews.

Some things to be aware of

Some directories will list you, even without your permission, by scraping your details from somewhere else on the web. The problem with this is they may scrape from another directory that’s scraped it from some other source. If they scraped the wrong info, you will have the wrong listings everywhere, and it’s something you will need to correct.

Search for your service + town (Plumber Nambucca Heads)

Check the first 3 pages to see what directories you are on and if the information is correct? If it isn’t, create an account in the directory and correct it.

Directories not only list you; but your competitors too

When someone searches for a service and jumps into a directory listing, they’re not just seeing your business but a list of all your competitors, too. There could be a couple of listings or 10 or more on that page. With each competitor listed, the chance of someone clicking on your link diminishes considerably.

Will free web directories send new customers your way?

It depends on a few things. The success you get from local web directories depends on having the following in place before you list your business.

First, list yourself on Google directly by creating or claiming your free Google Business Profile (GBP) listing.

Your Google Business Profile is a way for you to list your business on Google directly, and it’s free. Once set it up, there is not a lot of work to do, but don’t make the mistake of forgetting it completely. The other important reason to get your GBP is it will appear above any other web directory listing. Google owns Google, and it’s not surprising they give themselves priority. See the helpful links at the end of this post for instructions on how to set up your GBP.

Google wants fresh content.

Give Google what it wants, at least once a month, and your listing will benefit.

Google references web directories and other sources to confirm you are a local business. If you appear on enough directories and the info listed is consistent across the Internet, your GBP listing will get some Google love and push you towards the top of the other GBP listings in your local area.

Second, it’s advisable to have your own business website before you list yourself on any directories

Web directories can improve your website’s position on Google too, but you need a website first.

Your website and your GMB listing will take two slots on the first page of Google results, and then your free directory listings may show up to.

Extending your free web directory listings

Once you have a website, you can sometimes link it to your web directory listing. This extends your directory listing and drives potential customers to your website.

The information you can list on directories can be limited, but if you can list your website, do it. This gives your potential customer a way of getting more extensive information about who you are and what you do. What business owner doesn’t want that?

Listing your business in local directories

First, use the notepad app on a Windows computer or a text only app on a Mac. You can use the Text Edit app and create a text file with your business name, address, phone and email address. Now you can that you can use that text file to paste into each directory. This keeps the information you add to directories consistent.

Action Steps

Once you have created your text file with your business info, proceed with the following:

  • Search Google for your business name and your suburb/town. Also, search for your service + town (Plumber Nambucca Heads).
  • Go through the first 3 pages, starting from the 1st page, and note and bookmark all the web directories that are listed, ever if they don’t have your details.
  • Add your business to any of the directories you don’t have a listing by creating a free account, and copy and paste the info from your text file.
  • If you notice some directories have your details but they’re incorrect, create a login and correct the info using the text file you created.

If you would like to have a go and setting up your GBP yourself, click here. This will take you to another website for detailed instructions. If you’re too busy and don’t have the time or inclination to do this yourself, we have a service that can do all this for you. We charge $265 to add you to local directories, which include claiming and setting up your Google Business Profile listing.

Contact us here for more info on our listing service.

As mentioned, it is advisable to have a website setup before you add yourself to free directories, but this does not have to be a huge project. You can start with a one-page website which will extend all your directories and other advertising.

See this page for more info on our 1 Page Impact Product. This will take you to a demo with information about our 1 Page Impact product..

About the Author

Ian's passionate about doing business online to grow businesses in new and interesting ways. When he's not helping clients with design or marketing, you'll find him pursuing his other interests: photography, tech blogging, and in his own words, “attempting to play golf”.

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