We wrote Advantages And Disadvantages Of Directory Submission back in 2008 around this very topic, and things have not changed much since then! Looking for specific niche directories was, and still is, a great way to customize your google my business presence. Many SEOs believe it is one of the most important ranking factors for local SEO, although they don’t necessarily hold the power they did several years ago.
The main question remains – Do they still work?
Directories are useful for two things:
- Getting link equity from high authority domains, thus ranking higher in Google
- Making your online business presence known
It is possible to rank highly in search results without directory submissions. Still, you will get some additional “points” from Google if you do submit your NAP (Name, address, phone number) information to a high domain authority directory. Listings usually link back to your site so there are high chances you will improve your rankings. Moreover, you will get free advertising as well as help people find you online.
Starting from scratch: What are directory submissions?
In her article How to Choose a Good Directory Submission Service, Gabriella Sannino states:“ The process of submitting your website to online directories in order to gain backlinks and improve your site’s visibility and authority.”
There are a couple of advantages to niche directories: they generally have more stringent quality standards to be included in the directory, and people searching that niche directory are already interested in the product or services that you offer.
Inclusion in niche directories can give your website validation and credibility. However, like everything, there are good and bad directories to submit to, so do some research and pick the credible ones with a good reputation, otherwise you are just wasting your time and hurting your rankings.
Directory submissions back in 2002 and now in 2022 – what has changed?
While directory listings can help you build backlinks, these links don’t hold the same value as they did in the early 2000s. Then, directories weren’t used by people looking to find a specific business in a narrow niche, but by marketers looking to gain valuable links. Directories have been abused over the years as an SEO tactic known as black hat. SEO experts and business owners were violating Google Webmaster Guidelines and were penalized as a result. Black hat techniques can get you ranked low, or stripped completely from the results. Nowadays however, if the directories that you submit to are of high domain authority you have a degree of safety for your website.
Which directory should I choose to submit my website to?
On the web we can find thousands of business directories. If each of them relied on marketers or business owners submitting NAP information directly, they would certainly have a lot of gaps in their data. Most business owners just aren’t going to spend their time submitting to that many websites.
Data aggregators are here to solve this problem. Their main purpose is to collect data about businesses and distribute it to thousands of other websites. If these guys have your website’s information, you can bet you’ll end up with citations all across the web. Submitting there is completely free of charge.
The top 3 US based data aggregators worth considering right now are:
- Express Update (by Infogroup)
- Neustar localeze
We do not recommend relying solely on data aggregators. You don’t have certainty that they have access to all the places you want to appear. Hence, you should manually upload your NAP information to a few top directories.
Hubspot has done a great job of summarising the top 50 directories with the highest domain authority, so why not use the top 50 online business directories to list your business. You’re welcome 😉
Here is our list of top 10 directories in the U.S., regardless of industry:
- Apple Maps
- Google My Business
- Angie’s List
- The Better Business Bureau
- Angie’s List
- Merchant Circle
Niche directories with high domain authority
People surfing the web don’t always use the Google search engine to find local businesses. They want businesses which are already filtered through reviews on sites like Yelp, Tripadvisor or niche directories focused on specific topics like lawyers.com.
The advantage of a niche directory is people who are visiting already know what product or service they need, are aware that if you are on the niche directory you offer that product or service, and therefore they are that much more likely to decide they want to choose your business and thus more likely to become regular clients.
Try to type “[your industry] in [location]” to find your niche directory.
Read more on how to choose a good directory here.
Why it’s important to keep your citations consistent and accurate
Misspellings and inconsistencies such as having different working hours listed across different directories are a sure-fire way to quickly damage your credibility. If a consumer sees this they lose trust in you and you end up harming your reputation.
Why? Because if a business has a poor online presence, you might just assume it is unreliable.
We probably all know by now that in SEO there is no single source from which we can constantly improve search engine results. The process is complex, therefore you should tackle several areas simultaneously to stay ahead of the competition. If your competitors are putting in this extra work on top of making directory submissions and you omit this area from your SEO efforts, it may turn out to be the fine line that either makes or breaks your business.
Whether you want to take care of the directory submission yourself or outsource it to someone else, remember that we are at your disposal and will gladly sharpen the edges of your business so that you can use every possible space to your advantage. Contact us today for a free consultation.