Updated: Feb 24
If you have a live website for your company, you may have heard about the benefit of having good quality back links and directory listings. This is true- directory listings and back links provide proverbial signage pointing at your website and roads leading to it.
A back link is when another website links back to your website. This could be through a couple of methods:
Maybe you have written a blog or an article on a topic and sent it to the owner of another website for consideration of publishing on their own site as a relevant and useful article. If they do this and then credit the article back to your website then you have a good quality back link (assuming that their website is respectable). This method takes a bit of time and networking but is greatly beneficial to getting your business seen online.
You can create a back link by adding your business to a social media platform or directory. For example:
creating a Facebook business page which allows you to add your business website domain name
Adding your site to a directory like Yell or Thompson
Adding a business listing to an industry directory site
Creating an account on a forum site like Quora or Reddit where you can interact with people by answering questions and linking things back to your business website.
I want to cover an area that requires some investigation when you decide to get your name out there online through directory listings.
You will find a lot of directory sites will allow you to add your business listing for free. this is simply because a directory site wants to provide some one with a comprehensive list of products and services for when they are looking. So if someone needs a plumber and is searching on a directory site, then that directory site would much rather give that person a choice of 50 plumbers rather than just 5. It gives the viewer more choice and often means more back links to the directory site if all those listing include a reciprocal link on their website.
Once you add your free listing, the directory site staff may need to 'authorise' your business listing. This could mean that they just want to check that you are a real and legitimate business but it is likely that you need to be entered into their sales system for contact in order to sell you an enhanced or premium listing.
Premium listing can come with a whole host of benefits that are not included in a free listing like images, logo, being shown at the top of subject lists, back links, SEO assistance, social media exposure and more. You will benefit from having free listings which point back to your website as they are reputable links back to your website but you should also be prepared for a few emails and phone calls offering to get you to the top of Google and guaranteeing more traffic to your website. Choose with whom you spend your budget wisely.
As you know, I work with many businesses giving marketing advice and assistance.One of my clients approached me today asking if I thought that an offer of an enhanced listing was worth it. They forwarded me the sales email accordingly and I said I would look into it. I'm pretty sceptical of directories for several reasons but would always recommend something if I think it is a good opportunity. Here is what I did to vet this directory site and exercisxe due diligence.
GOOGLE INDEX- I wanted to know if they had a good reputation with a search engine like google. I use a free checker called SEOQuake which installs a toolbar along the top of my browser showing certain scores that a website earns. By downloading this and also setting up a free account with SEMRush I get access to a few more metrics which can give me a good idea of what thew reputation of a website really is.
TRUST PILOT- ironically, this directory site was listed on Trustpilot which is also a directory site! So I looked at some reviews of them on their Trustpilot listing. Out of 158 reviews, 99% of them were either good or outstanding. Only 2 reviews were negative and the company has directly responded to both.
CLIENT FEEDBACK- This one surprised the directory rep when I spoke with him. I actually contacted a few of their premium listing customer who had been with them for a range of years. I would ask for the marketing person who dealt with it, explained who I was and asked their opinion on whether they believed that their investment with this directory was worth the return. I got outstanding recommendations from all that I contacted with in depth explanations of why they were happy (because I asked them to explain in more detail!)
CONFIRMED KEY DETAILS- I still had some questions that I wanted answering so I spoke with the rep who worked for the directory to ask. These included the length of the contract, statistical reporting frequency and scope of assistance. All was acceptable.
As a result of the above I recommended the premium listing to my client and explained what I had done to come up with this recommendation. In order to make a positive ROI (Return On Investment) my client would only have to gain one customer in the year. Although there is never any way to guarantee an ROI from any form of advertising (anyone who tells you different is lying) this is most certainly a premium listing that is worth a go.
Be wary because for every decent opportunity online there are a hundred companies waiting to scam you and provide an inferior or useless service for your 'investment' (if you want me to check any out for you then just get in touch). But sometimes it is worth investing if the background checks add up. Just make sure you exercise due diligence and speak with real people.
I'll finish by saying that I also registered on this directory site and will be snapping up a premium listing for my company. Much as I advocate free stuff (#freenius) I am not averse to trying new things and experimenting to see what the outcome might be!
In case you are wondering: that directory site is www.businessmagnet.co.uk