What are business directories, and why are they important?

Every day, Google processes billions of search queries — and a great many of those queries have commercial intent. In fact, 85 percent of consumers use the Internet to search for local businesses. Business directories are websites created to help consumers find local businesses more easily. On a business directory, you can find businesses grouped by location or business type. In addition, business directories often allow customers to post reviews.

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A business directory performs a valuable service for consumers, so many people use them. As a result, business directory pages often rank very well on Google and other search engines — and that means customer reviews often receive high search engine rankings, as well. Business directories have power, and that makes them important to your business.

Some of the most popular business directories include:

  • Yelp.com
  • TripAdvisor.com
  • Google My Business
  • YellowPages.com
  • MerchantCircle.com

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Why Are Business Directories Important?


Consumers Use Them

Business directories are important because consumers use them every day to find local businesses. Yelp.com is America’s 42nd most popular website at the time of writing — and that’s just one directory. Every time a potential customer searches a business directory and doesn’t find your business — or finds incorrect contact information — you lose that customer. Creating a listing on every directory relevant to your business maximizes your business’s visibility.

Consumers Publish Reviews on Them

If you have never looked at a business directory such as Yelp before, it might surprise you to learn that customers have already reviewed your business. With any luck, your commitment to great service left each customer scrambling to leave a positive review about your company.

Sometimes, though, things don’t work out that well. A customer may not have had exactly the experience he or she wanted — or a malicious competitor may have left a falsified review. In order to leave a response to a negative review or ask the directory to remove it, you’ll need to claim your listing by confirming your ownership of the business.


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Business Directories Include Links

Google has an index that contains many trillions of unique pages. When a user performs a search, Google’s algorithm scans for pages with matching keywords and ranks the results according to a variety of factors. For local search queries, the two most important factors determining a website’s ranking are its domain authority and the quality of the pages that link to the domain. In other words, a website with more high-quality links will receive a higher ranking than another website if everything else is equal.

Business directories are authoritative websites — and creating a profile on one almost always means that you’ll get a link to your website. Creating profiles on the most popular business directories, therefore, could give your website a slight boost on search engines.



Business Directories Allow You to Post Content

Did you launch your business recently? If your website is new, it may take some time before you receive a significant amount of traffic. Even if you publish great content that attracts inbound links from other websites, it may take about ten weeks for those links to begin influencing your website’s search engine ranking. What can you do to generate traffic in the meantime?

You already know that pages on business directories often rank well on search engines. Many of them — Facebook and Google Plus, to name a few examples — allow you to post content. Post articles on business directories to help generate traffic for your website. Every time you create a high-quality article with a link to your website, you’ll help your website along the path to higher search engine rankings. Potential customers will often visit your website after reading a great article, as well.


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