We are moving right along with the Live Marketing Challenge and we are diving right into directory sites. In my opinion these are widely overlooked and often skipped by most business owners. Which is a huge mistake! In this blog post, I will explain why they are so important, which ones to sign up for, how to use them effectively and how we are using them with Kat’s Yoga Studio!
As always, I’ve created a video summarizing this post and I encourage you to watch it before moving onto the rest of this article. Don’t forget to leave me any comments you have or hit that Thumbs Up button if you enjoyed it!
Why Directory Sites Are Important?
The main reason directory sites are so important is because most of them are free, they are powerful sites, and people use them to find businesses. Let’s dive into each one of those a little more.
Most Of Them Are Free
I should actually change the title of this to “All Of Them Are Free” because I only encourage you to sign up for the ones that area free. There are some out there that will charge you to be listed on their site, but the ones you should sign up for are free for a basic profile. They may try to up sell you on an upgrade to get ranked higher on their site or to do some advertising, but every directory site you sign up for should offer a free basic profile. This is a great way to get some free exposure from local residents.
They Are Powerful Sites
The great thing about most of these directory sites is that they are very powerful websites. When you create a profile on these directory sites, you are now a part of this extremely powerful site. There are two reasons I recommend signing up for every directory site you can. One, because you are now claiming your section of this powerful site, which could end up ranking in the search results. Two, because they will create citations and backlinks to your website. This will help your website rank higher.
Note – When you sign up make sure you list your website and your address the EXACT same way you do on your website. When you do this Google will recognize it and give more power to your website.
You’ll notice over time some of these profile will even begin crawling up Google’s rankings. This means you could have these profiles ranking in Google and the more you sign up for, the more chances you have of coming up! In a later post we will go how you can actually help get these profiles ranked in Google. I have actually seen a business take up 5 spots in Google just by signing up for directory sites. After a few months, their profiles began creeping up the first page of Google naturally.
People Use Them To Find Businesses
This is probably pretty obvious, but people will search these directory sites to find businesses. A perfect example is Yelp. People search Yelp from their computers and phone to find businesses in their area. If you get listed on those sites, you are putting your business in front of all those people. It’s that simple.
Which Ones To Use
There are a lot of directory sites and it does take time to sign up to these sites. This means you should start with the ones that are the most important and here are my top 4.
1) Yelp – Sign Up Here: https://biz.yelp.com/
2) Google Places/ Google+ Local – Sign Up Here: http://www.google.com/placesforbusiness/
3) Yahoo Local – Sign Up Here: http://listings.local.yahoo.com
4) Bing Local – Sign Up Here: http://www.bing.com/businessportal
Which Ones Are The Most Important To You? (Important Powerful Tip)
Depending on the city you live in and the industry you’re in, there are certain directory sites that could be better for you than others. This is an extremely important tip and is a huge marketing technique that is commonly over looked. Here’s what you do…
1) Go to Google and do a search for your keywords.
2) Once the results come up, look through the top ten results and see which directory sites come up. You will most likely see directory site pages come up and other business profiles on directory sites. I want you to look at the results that show directory site pages or lists, NOT other business profiles on directory sites. Look at the image below. You will see a Yelp profile come up for Airworks, but below it you will a listing for Yellowpages. That Yellowpages listing actually bring you to their site and shows you their own list of businesses around your keyword. That’s what you’re looking for!
UPDATE: See how we did this with Kat’s Yoga Studio:
What you want to do is sign up for ALL the directory sites on the first page of Google showing you a list of their own businesses. Then get ranked among those directory sites. The reason this is so important is because they are already on Page 1 of Google and if you can rank within their site, then you are basiclly getting a page 1 ranking for free. You can do simple things like get more reviews, fill out a complete profile, or pay a monthly fee to get ranked in those sites. We will get into that next!
How To Rank Higher In Directory Sites and Google
There are simple things you can do to rank higher within these directory sites and eventually in Google. The nice thing about Google, Yahoo and Bing Local is that they will put you on page 1 pretty easily. You will see these results near the top of almost every local search. Yelp is also another really good one to use because their site is extremely well optimized, meaning if your profile is optimized correctly your Yelp profile can rank in Google very easily. So here’s my 3 step process.
1) Fill out a complete profile. This means EVERYTHING! If they give you 10 spots for photos, upload 10 photos. If they give you a spot for video, upload a video. Every single field, description, etc should be filled in. Don’t forget to included your keywords when filling out your profile. Do not spam and keyword stuff your directory sites, but lightly use them in the descriptions. You can even rename your images with your keywords.
If directory sites were looking at two profiles to rank and profile A was halfway filled out and had 1 picture but profile B has 10 pictures, a full description and a video, they would obviously want to rank profile B higher.
2) After filling out a complete profile you want to get reviews and this can be a touchy subject. I have created a video on how to get more yelp reviews and you can check it out. Altough, asking and offering incentives for reviews makes it easier, there is some risk involved. All four of the sites I listed above monitor this stuff and you could get your reviews removed if it doesn’t look natural. The main thing is to make sure the amount of reviews you are getting look natural; avoid large spikes in the amount of reviews you get. The best way to get reviews is just to offer great service and post signs of the directory site on your counter or door. This is the natural way to do it and it is virtually risk free. But, the more reviews and the better the avg score you have the higher your profile will rank in Google and within the directory site.
3) This step is one I will get into later because it needs to be done carefully, but building backlinks to your profiles can help them rank higher. I would avoid getting backlinks to Google, Bing and Yahoo local because I have never tested it and don’t know what will happen. It could have positive or negative affects. Since I have never tested it I will not recommend you do it. But, I have tested it with other directory sites like Yelp, Citysearch, etc. and it works pretty well when done right. We will touch on that in a future post.
What I Did With Yoga In Napa
I am probably writing this post a little prematurely but we need to move on and get to the other steps. Right now, we just signed up for Yelp, Google, Bing, and Yahoo Local. We are still in the process of verifying and completing the profiles. I would have liked to already have them up, but I wanted to get this post out so you guys can begin doing this yourselves.
Our Directory Profiles
We have only signed up for four right now, and I will leave it up to Kat to sign up for more in the future…it is her business afterall 🙂 . When you sign up almost all directory sites will want to verify either your email, phone number, or address. This could take some time, especially if they mail you a verification paper. Here is where we are at with our directory profiles:
Yelp: We have the Yelp profile up and are still editing it to get a complete profile. Yelp allows you to upload 10 pictures and if you advertise on their site you can unlock the capability to add a video. We will be adding in more pictures and descriptions soon. (Kat is gone for two weeks and will be working on this when she returns). If you Google “yoga in Napa” you will see Yelp’s own list of Napa studios on the first page of Google, meaning Yelp is a really important one for us to sign up for.
Google: I am a little disappointed, but we won’t be using Google+ local. Kat’s yoga studio is home based studio and she didn’t want her address being displayed on the first page of Google, which is understandable. But, unfortunately Google+ local requires an actual address and you can no longer use a P.O. box. So, for this marketing challenge we won’t be able to use this one. But, I recommend everyone use this one because it is one of the best and quickest ways to get on the first page of Google.
Yahoo Local: We are still in the verification process, but we will have a Yahoo Local profile up. Once it is verified we will be completing the profile to its fullest. One of the reasons this profile is so important is because when you “Yoga In Napa” you will see a yahoo local page on the first page of Google. When clicked it goes to their pages of yoga studios in Napa.
Bing Local: We are still in the verification process for this one as well. Once it is up and verified we will complete the profile!
So, there you have it! That’s why directory sites are so important and this is what I have done for Yoga In Napa so far. I would love to hear everyone’s feedback, thoughts, and opinions. Just leave me a comment and let me know if you are using directory sites successfully.