What Are Directory Listings and How They’re Used to Improve Your SEO

If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably heard of a business directory, but that doesn’t mean you can confidently find one (a good one) to join, know WHY you should join one, and define what a directory listing is — or how it relates to your SEO. 

I love bringing new eyes to my clients’ businesses — both online and offline — and understand just how valuable visibility is in selling your services and building a community. Directories are one way I incorporate this into my SEO strategies. High-quality directories are an important part of building a good backlink strategy for your business.

If you want to learn more about directory listings and how they help your SEO, keep reading!

What Are Directory Listings?

A directory listing — or business listing — is an online list or directory of websites. Directory listings contain information for websites in a specific niche, location, type, etc., and typically include your business name, website, location (if you have a physical business), what you do, who you are, and your social media. 

But not all directories are equal. There are good, high-quality directories and spammy, low-quality directories. Avoid directories that end in anything other than .com, .net, .edu, and .co or have unclear categories and navigation. 

If you’re trying to figure out if a directory is good or not, consider the following:

  • They should have a specific qualifier to their listings; they shouldn’t offer anything “generalized.” 
  • There should be pre-qualification to join — not everyone should be able to get it.
  • It should be one directory, and if they offer entry to multiple directories with one payment, don’t fall for it.
  • Look through their content if they have any. Does it align with your values? Do you want your business to associate with their website?

Also, just because you find a “good” directory doesn’t mean you should join! It’s important to find a directory that works best for your business. For example, you wouldn’t want to join a directory of wedding photographers if you’re a locally-based interior designer.

Some directories are free, while others may require a one-time fee or a subscription. Paying for a directory feature isn’t a bad thing, but you should make sure your goals and business align with what the directory offers before investing. 

Examples of High-Quality Directories

Different directories offer different benefits and are determined by different qualifiers. To give you an idea of what to look for and how directories work, here are three examples of high-quality directories:

The first example is your Google Business Profile, which adds you to the Google My Business Directory, a global index of businesses managed by Google. This is a great overall directory to join because the business that supports it (Google) is extremely trustworthy and will place your information where it needs to be locally and based on your services.

Next is the RemoteID Business Directory for remote workers, freelancers, and digital nomads in our global (online) community. Their qualifier is that you must be one of those three and have a reputable, trustworthy business — it’s not ideal if you’re a locally-owned business that relies on a storefront.

The last directory I want to mention is We Are Women Owned, a small business directory featuring both e-commerce and service-based businesses. The primary qualifier for this directory is that you are women-owned.

You’ll find thousands of directories online, many of which will look similar to the three listed above. Before joining, always do your research to make sure that the directory truly aligns with your business and the people you serve.

How Do Directories Improve Your SEO?

To understand how directories improve your SEO, we have to discuss a specific type of SEO and how it impacts your website: off-page SEO. Off-page SEO is essentially how other websites interact with or “talk to” your website — this includes building backlinks, working on your PR, and sharing your links on social media. 

Adding your business to a directory falls under the “building backlinks” portion of your off-page SEO strategy. A backlink is when another website links to your website in its content, on one of its pages — or really, anywhere. 

Directories and guest posting on other websites, another form of backlink building, are my top recommended methods of improving your off-page SEO.

When you add your business as a business listing in a directory, you build a do-follow backlink to your website, one that’s closely related to your business, who you serve, or where you’re located. 

If the directory is a good, high-quality one that Google trusts, it will essentially give you a little bit of that trust — and keep giving that trust when people who find your listing click through to your website. 

Some directories, mostly local directories, partner with local publishers to create features for local businesses on their websites. This means that your one business listing can turn into multiple business features and additional backlinks (further improving your SEO and visibility online).

Should You Join a Directory?

I get asked this question a lot, and yes, you should. While the directories (or business listings) you join should be high-quality, you should definitely consider joining a few directories to increase the visibility of your business and your offers. 

When working with my clients to create and implement an SEO strategy, I often find and suggest joining a few directories that align with their offers and dream clients. And, if they’re serving clients locally, I recommend trusted local directories to join as well. 

But, even if you’re not investing in SEO services, directories are the perfect low-maintenance way to improve your SEO. While it works best when paired with a strong content strategy and on-page optimization, you can see some growth with just backlink building. 

Keep in mind that joining a spammy or unaligned business director can negatively impact your SEO. Not only will you have an unrelated backlink to your website, but anyone who clicks on your listing and goes through your website will likely leave, negatively affecting your bounce rate and rating.

Interested in improving your SEO and ready to take out the guesswork? Book a discovery call to see if you could benefit from a personalized SEO strategy and website optimization! 

About Âme Creatives

I’m Kelli, an SEO Strategist & Showit Web Designer — I’m on a mission to help female entrepreneurs (like you)  have a purpose-driven, strategically optimized website that helps you be SEEN, HEARD, and PAID. It’s about more than just pretty websites, keywords and first-page status; it’s about giving your brand the spotlight it deserves by bringing in your ideal audience organically. Ready to take the next step? Send me a message!

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