Ask a website why it’s active online and you’re likely to get three responses: To make profit, create awareness of our products and services and lastly to engage with our customers. Fair responses. One thing is certain, all these websites want to be easily found online by their desired target audience and need search engines to help them achieve this (easier said than done!).
So how do search engines do this? The most common way to get noticed by users on search engines is through your company being listed on various local directories. Yes, people still use directories to search for services, products, shopping, entertainment and many more goodies. You name it it’s there! We’ll be sharing with you how you can make use of local directories to be in touch with your customers and how being listed on local directories can assists in achieving your SEO goals and objectives.
Let’s take a look at what citations are all about…
What are citations all about?
Citations are about your company being mentioned online. They concentrate on three components of your business; Its Name, Address and Phone Number, better known and abbreviated as NAP. Having your business listed on the web is very important as it ensures that users can easily find your business on the web, it helps you appear effortlessly on search engines through having your business listed on various platforms and lastly it helps you rank well overall in your local rankings. Also Google looks at your links, reviews and citations when deciding where to place your website in their rankings and for ranking you locally. The search engine also looks at the type of sites you are mentioned on and the topics covered.
One of the most effective ways you can have your business featured on a search engine results page is through being listed on a local directory. If you’re not sure what local directories are we’ll explain to you shortly.
What are local directories?
An online local directory is no different than a traditional print one, only difference is the fact that one is on the web, works the exact way. So let’s say you’re based in Cape Town, the directory will provide for you businesses, stores, services, products, health facilities etc… that are based in Cape Town. Local directories therefore can be according to your city, region or country (for bigger ones).
As we can see citation and getting your business listed online is crucial. But what about local directories, how are they good for your SEO? Here’s how…
Why are local directories important for SEO?
They give your website more links: One of the best and easiest ways to get links is to be listed on a local directory. More links mean greater ratings with Google. Just make sure that the local directory you use is related to your industry and it’s a recognised one. There are some good local directories that are free you just have to find them!
They place you on search engine results pages: If you can’t be found on Google then where will your visibility be? Users use certain terms when looking for a business. So feature your keywords when registering on local directories in order for search engines to pick it up.
Also through listing your business details (NAP) on local directories, search engines can pick up your details once again and place you accordingly on their SERP. Be clever about this and make use of NAP on your Google +, create a Google Maps and Business page, Google Authorship another important one, and on your own website or any other site you register on make sure that your details are accurate and stay updated. Every detail of your NAP should be uniform through all platforms your business is listed on.
More conversions equal to better SEO: With your site listed on local directories, you’ll be more visible to users and automatically you get traffic to your website. Traffic to your website means more links for you and this in turn attracts Google’s attention because of the generation of quality links.
Brand visibility and awareness is great for your SEO: With people searching for your business on local directories, there will be awareness and recognition around your brand. Through referrals, social media platforms (sharing and mentions), through SERPs and your own website.
Some SEOs consider placing your website on a local directory a waste of time and money (in some cases). But if you engage in it and hang in there, in time you’ll see the benefits of being listed locally. We thought it would be great to share with you some useful South African local directories.
Here they are in no order of importance.
South African Local Directories
- Ananzi – This local directory has been around for more than a decade and has both local and international recognition. And the fantastic thing about it is its free!
- Brabys – A popular one too. Brabys is one of SA’s top directories. Getting your website featured on this directory can do wonders for both your SEO and profitability.
- Hotfrog – Hotfrog is a business directory which allows you to list your site’s products, services, specials, latest news as well as your profile (awesome for NAP and search engines). The directory has a premium feature which pushes your listing on top of the page which will make you a step ahead of your competitors.
- Cyclex – Another amazing one! Works the exact way as Hotfrog only addition would be the featuring of your company’s presentation page, news, products and videos in your profile. It also has a review section where customers can review your business. See how this links up to citation and search engine rankings.
- SA Yellow Pages – A legendary directory, Yellow pages has been around for ages! It has an advertising option for your website’s traffic and visibility.
We touched on all the important aspects regarding the benefits of having your website listed on local directories. When you engage in local directory listings, think holistically and consider your SEO. How it will be impacted and how through citations you can land at a better position on search engine results.