In the early days of the web, being listed in the top web directories was the thing. A high listing on the popular website directories was akin to gaining top rankings in the major search engines like Google today. It contributed significantly to top search engine rankings, and the directories drove loads of high-quality traffic to the listed websites.
During the early days of the SEO, Google was rising as a significant search engine, but its algorithm was still easier to game. The algorithm treated websites ranked in the top web directories as more relevant to the user’s search objectives.
The number of high-quality directory links that a website had had a positive influence on their search engine rankings. Online marketers were in a cut-throat competition to add their sites to online directory listings. The subsequent race by internet marketers to earn a top spot in these directories led to webspam while also diluting the quality of the lists as a reliable source for relevant recommendations.
The Google algorithms got more sophisticated and nuanced over the years, and with it, the primacy of the website directories began to decline. Are web directories still relevant in the 21st-century landscape? What are some of the reasons to use web directories in your internet marketing in 2020? Do they have a positive influence on your search rankings? Could they have a negative impact on your rankings and brand image?
Website Directories Send You Lots of Traffic and Bestow Trust
While authoritative backlinks are still among the most important ranking signals, Google no longer places a premium on website directory links. A highly relevant contextual link from high authority websites in your niche is more influential as a ranking factor.
Website directory listings can be a great source of traffic and trust in your target audience’s minds. Web-users will search for your business and read online reviews before they proceed to transact with your business. Finding your business listed in the top directories restores trust and may also send some residual and high-converting traffic to your website.
The Importance of Website Directories for Local SEO
Website directories, particularly local business directories, can be important ranking factors and also drive traffic and leads to your local business. Local citations and local web directories are a small ranking factor for local businesses that can provide your business with a competitive edge. In a hyper-competitive niche in the internet marketplace, that extra boost could make a difference.
If you are running a business with a local presence, it is prudent to maintain your local citations in the web directories with a consistent NAP (Name, Addresses, Phone Number). The real tangible benefit of local citations is not the SEO value but the traffic and credibility that your business derives from.
Gain More Exposure
Local directories may not necessarily drive traffic to your website or contribute to your SEO efforts, but they can give your site more exposure. Exposure is also an essential online marketing strategy, just like the SEO and social media marketing strategies. More exposure means more eyeballs looking forward to trying out your product. Exposure also contributes to familiarity with your brand, and familiarity always generates trust and credibility.
Putting your online business in the website directories taps into a unique niche of web users who still rely on these platforms to search for related services. By adding your business to these directories, you can secure a place in the shop-fronts where these users can see your brand or website address and potentially visit.
Receive Feedback and Reviews
As their relevance has diminished, online directories have undergone innovations over the years to keep up with the changes in the web marketplace. Some, such as Google My Business, now include online reviews. Businesses are hungry for reviews and customer feedback. Most prospective buyers trust the reviews posted by other users who have tried out your products and services. Adding your website to business directories enables you to collect reviews and generate the social proof that will be an essential conversion factor for your business.
Reviews posted by other customers serve as a trusted source and unbiased testimony for potential prospects.
Reviews can also fortify your SEO efforts. When customers post reviews as well as photos and videos of your products and services, it further boosts your SEO relevance. Search algorithms rely on positive, active, and high-quality business information to determine relevance and award a higher ranking.
Take time to visit these directory websites, sign up as an owner, and respond to the various reviews posted by customers, including the negative feedback and reviews.
Directories as Reputation Management Tools
Directories can serve as effective online reputation management tools. You boost your profile and solidify your credibility when you respond to customer concerns. Putting your business in trusted directories also establishes you as a credible, transparent, and respectable business.
Business Directories Improve Your Online Presence
When your business is listed in multiple top directories, prospective customers get to see more of your brand, including the logo, services, contact details, and other details that you have shared in your listings. This will significantly boost your online presence in certain niches. Make sure that the keywords in your directories are well-optimized to fully take advantage of this opportunity.