How Online Directories Help Small Companies

January 9th, 2012 07:53am CST by Nathan Schaad

by Nathan S

It’s time for an experiment. Go to a computer and type in the name of a profession. I’m not talking about a service, here. I mean, type something like “plumbers” into Google and hit enter. Chances are good that you’ll see the couple of “big box” brands in whatever profession you chose (for our example, Roto Rooter). Now, here’s the thing: no SEO who knows what they’re doing will say you can rank above Roto Rooter. Google favors brands and so you would actually have to become a bigger brand than Roto Rooter in order to outrank them. And if you accomplish that, SEO isn’t something you have to worry about.

However, chances are that, despite everybody’s wishing to the contrary, you will not become bigger than Roto Rooter. It’s sad, I know, but I don’t think I’m saying anything too surprising here. So, how do you get someone searching for “plumbers” to find you? The answer is a mix of SEO and directories. This blog discusses the latter half of that formula.

Look at this example again. Somewhere below Roto Rooter and the Wikipedia entry “Plumber,” or maybe above both results depending on things such as: where you are in the country, your IP address, the position of the sun and Jupiter, Google’s current mood on LiveJournal, and how recently the last Panda update was released (it’s a bit random, is what I’m trying to say here), you’ll find an entry touting itself as a directory for the keyword you entered. In this case, this will be a plumbing directory, and on my specific search this was elocalplumbers.com. The directory itself isn’t that important. However, whatever it is, if you’ve never heard of it, you should probably become acquainted, as this is going to be one way some people find you through Google.

Here’s the thing: Some people don’t like to go for what they perceive as the “national” chains. These are the chains which they will be most likely to see if they go for Google’s organic results on a short tail keyword. If this is what they want, it’s what they are going to get; however, if they want someone a bit more local, they are going to do one of the following: Try a different, longer keyword (such as “plumbers DC” if they are in the Washington, DC area and want to hire local), or they’ll use one of those directories to find you.

So, click on that directory. What you’ll find is that the site will prompt the user to enter a zip code, and that the results come up essentially in the same way as a search engine. Ensuring that your business is on directories such as this is one of the many tactics which will help you gain exposure on the internet. While it is a small thing, every bit helps when you’re going up against the big brands.





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