Directory listings

How Directory Listings will Help your SEO and Map Pack rankings

Some time late 2015, Google decided that it was critical for local SEO searches to be met with appropriate local results known as the “map pack”. The priorities of SEO shifted from a local perspective, and one of the main focuses was put on directory listings.

Ever since the changes made in 2015, Google’s Map Pack holds priority above the organic search results presented by Google. If you are a local business, Google’s introduction of the map pack is definitely good news for you since you won’t have to put too much worry on impossible competitors such as banks or other massive conglomerates.

What are directory listings?

References made to directory listings in digital marketing refer to web directories where website owners are able to list out their own website details into an online directory. This online directory contains a list of websites’ information similar to how a Yellow Pages directory would contain details of businesses in the suburb. In the case of web directories, the suburb is the World Wide Web.

Why are directory listings so important in SEO?

Once upon a time, directory listings used to be a way for websites to get their SEO ratings up through simply obtaining more links to their website. Before the vigorous Penguin algorithm updates, this strategy of spamming backlinks from any and every website worked.

When Google caught onto the spammy nature of these backlinks, Google and other search engines imposed heavy penalties on websites which caused them to have negative SEO scores and a bad reputation for ranking.

However, due to the introduction of map packs by Google and other search engines, web directories have become critical in the SEO success for local businesses. It is important to note that high quality backlinks will never run out of date and so long as the web directory links are from high authority domains, your website will enjoy the link boost it will be getting.

High-quality directories will be regarded as high authority websites which hold great value when it comes to outbound and inbound links. For example, if you submit your website details to a directory like Trip Advisor, Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, or even Yelp, you can expect a good SEO boost to your website.

How to correctly make web directory submissions

When submitting your web directory submissions, it is strongly recommended that you do not automate the process. There are several SEO providers that offer high incentive packages that are only attractive at face value. Some of them may offer hundreds of directory submissions which can be enticing. However, you must bear in mind that replicated web directory submissions do not fend so well on search engines.

It is advised to create unique descriptions that aid in the quality of your website’s description based on the web directory you are submitting to. The more useful it is for that web directory’s audience, the higher the click through rate will be. Listings that are duplicated and plagiarised are susceptible to Google’s penalties.

You must ensure that your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) is accurate in order for Google and other search engines to categorise your business in search results online. Consistency is the key in making correct web directory submissions which are highly valued by Google and other search engines.

By submitting proper and accurate details of your website and business, you are confirming with search engines the authenticity of your business and therefore gaining brownie points with them. You should include your name, address, phone number, email address, website link, categories, and a short description in each of your web directory submissions.

To significantly benefit from web directory submissions, you should create submissions in prominent web directories such as Google My Business and Bing Places for Business For example, once you create a Google My Business account which will allow you to place your business address on Google Maps. Be sure to verify each listing you create as this will help your website visitors trust your business.

There are 5 main types of local submissions you can make use of:

Local websites such as blogs or local news sites

Region specific directories

Industry specific directories

Horizontal directories

Data aggregators

To execute an effective and varied backlink profile, you should diversify your web directory submissions across the 5 main types of directories. By doing so, you are creating a more natural-looking local citation profile which will benefit you greatly in terms of click through rate and audience engagement.

When creating your web directory submission, be sure to not stuff keywords in your information section as this can be regarded as spam and cause your website to be blacklisted. It is also just as important to ensure that keywords in your description and categorisation of your listings should be inserted in your content where they fit naturally. If the keyword does not flow as part of your description, it is better to leave it out than to try and stuff it in.

Avoid rebranding your business or changing your Name, Address, and Phone Number unless absolutely necessary. Any amendments made that have already been inputted into Google and other search engines’ local map packs will affect the optimisation of your website due to the requirement to verify all over again.

If you don’t already have your business associated to online directories or citations, it’s time you jump on the band wagon to maximise your business presence online. According to Google, approximately 4 out of 5 customers conduct local searches using search engines. If your business is not claimed on relevant local business listings online, you are missing out on huge opportunities of potential customers and business revenue