Imagine this scenario. Bob has just heard about your business but doesn’t know your website’s URL. What will he do to find more info about your offer? Simple. He will google it, hoping to find the right information. Will he get lucky though? With this little list, you both will. Get your business online and make the process of finding it easier than ABC.
Before you jump into all the popular online business directories, make sure to aggregate all the necessary information you’ll need to fill them in quickly and seamlessly. You’ll want to be as accurate as possible when describing your physical business and providing information for your prospects.
Think of the long-tail keywords people might be using when searching for your business and include them in the business description. To make the search results even more appealing, include photos and videos and ask your current clients for reviews. This will surely improve the chances that your audiences will jump right into your website.
Consider using one of many available autofill browser plugins or simply write down your answers in a separate text document. This should make the whole process much quicker and easier.
We have ranked the websites below according to their importance and Alexa ranking. This may not be ideal, but can be a good indicator of how important each list is. Some of them may be more useful for physical businesses like restaurants or coffee shops but others should work just as well for your online businesses.
1. Google Places for Business
One of the obvious and most important online directories you should take into account is Google Places for Business. Thanks to this solution, your business can be easily found on Google search, Maps, Google+, and mobile devices. Google has prepared a thorough manual, which you should check out if you want to get started quickly.
2. Bing Places for Business
Another popular search engine is, of course, Bing. You should also include your business using Bing Places for Business as the chances are that your audience is using this particular browser or looking you up on Facebook, which is showing Bing results rather than Google’s.
Although this particular domain doesn’t necessarily have the highest Alexa rank, businesses listed here will come up in the Bing search results. As such we decided to place it higher than the Alexa rank would indicate. If you want to learn more about Bing Places for Business, you’ll find the FAQ here.
3. Yahoo! Basic Listing
Yahoo! is another popular search engine still used by many Internet users some of whom may as well be your potential clients. Just like the listings mentioned, Yahoo’s Basic listing is free, however there are also paid plans with some enhanced options allowing you to add more photos, a detailed business description or automatic listing in many other directories.
Facebook is not only a powerful tool for socializing with friends, but also finding reviews and information about businesses. This is especially important if your target audience consists of mainly younger clientele, more likely to search for social proof when considering different options.
Note: Not all business should probably have their own fan pages. If you’re in a particularly sensitive industry or don’t have the resources to update the information and post frequently, think twice before starting your own fan page.
If you’re running a business it’s almost certain that you can showcase your products, record an interview, your business office or just a funny video of you and your team having fun whilst working.
This is not only a great idea for creating a unique and compelling brand personality but of course as well for increasing your chances of getting quality visitors from search engine results. On top of that, you have a great chance of having an attractive thumbnail being shown right next to your page title, which should increase the impact even further.
So once you’ve created that Google+ account simply start adding short videos to your official YouTube profile.
LinkedIn is a great source of new prospects and knowledge about business. Typically, it is used by a slightly different audience than the likes of Facebook users, so if you’re looking for professionals and B2B connections then you most definitely should consider creating a LinkedIn profile for your business.
On top of placing your business on LinkedIn, you should monitor different discussion groups and posts related to your industry and allow users to follow your updates. To learn more about LinkedIn, check out our previous post on this topic.
By now, everyone should recognize Tripadvisor’s logo. It’s commonly used by restaurants and hotels around the whole world, as proof of quality they serve to their customers. Given the site’s popularity, if your business is related to hotels, restaurants, flights, or travel, you definitely should check it out.
Another useful service for information and reviews is Yelp. If you socialize well and reply to your customers’ needs swiftly, you can reach greatness just from the word-of-mouth and user-generated content.
With Yelp you can add photos, complete an extensive business description and respond to customers’ reviews. On top of that, you can create separate deals for loyal clients and monitor your traffic to learn how people connect with your profile.
Check out their Support Center for more information and guidelines to get started quickly.
Foursquare is a perfect place for many businesses. It’s popular amongst younger generation who like to check in various locations, take pictures, provide reviews of products and earn badges for repeated visits.
If you’re thinking of attracting younger audience and want to play around with some gamification, then Foursquare should be a safe bet.
10. Yellow Pages
Remember phone books? Well that’s the digital version of what used to be our search engine in the pre-Internet era. You can list your business in their online directory and advertise it to many visitors using this service every day.
You can check out Yellow Pages here.
WhitePages is another interesting directory that can help you get your business out there. Works similarly to the previously mentioned directories: you get to fill in your business details such as address, phone number and business name.
Manta is a super easy, intuitive business directory that won’t take longer just a few seconds to put your mark in. Simply go here, fill out the details and show off your business to get noticed by your prospects.
MerchantCircle is also a reach source of information about businesses, events or deals in your local area. On top of that, users can ask questions about topics of their interest, which gives an amazing opportunity for experts to part take in the conversation.
Although this particular website is devoted primarily to restaurants and night spots, it should give you an idea that there may be a local listing or review website for your own industry or particular type of business.
Zagat’s users can make lists and rate their favorite spots or dishes which can make your business more social friendly and likely to appeal to younger generation.
To get your business rated by Zagat, check out their FAQ here.
15. Best Of The Web
This is one of the most known and popular directories out there. It may not look as fancy as the other ones, but trust me, it’s worth adding your business to their database. Currently there’s only a premium version available, which you can check out here.
Important note: There are many other local listings and directories out there. Perhaps at first they may not seem too important for your business, based on Alexa ranks or ComScore, but it may turn out that the best quality traffic comes right from there.
It’s almost certain that if you are running a business or organizing an event with its target market being in a foreign country or particular small community, a local directory will perform better. So spend some more time searching those websites before you rest on your laurels. Trust me, it’s worth the additional effort!