For managers and business owners alike, any flavor of “online marketing” too often conjures up images of budgets gone wild with insufficient sales results. When the hard cost of pay-per-click strategies limits real market access to large or even multinational corporate brands, smaller businesses are simply and painfully edged off the playing field.
Of necessity, online marketing then devolves into social media and SEO strategies, but for most this approach remains hard to tie directly to performance. With social media performance uncertain, the search for affordable online market share has never been more critical.
Enter the sometimes-forgotten business directory, stage left.
The value of being part of any online hub may remain tied to SEO and social media, but directories remain a core part of the “stealth marketing” toolkit due to their reference value. No matter how Google shifts the SEO system, businesses need a solid and long-lasting web of references that exists outside of self-published sites and social attention-seeking.
As a result, directories remain a steadfast pillar of the Internet in marketing terms. Free to join since last summer, the pervasive Angie’s List made a solid mark in the business world and continues to garner notice. Valued at half a billion USD and publicly traded, Angie’s List isn’t going away anytime soon.
The value of directories is quite real; joining a directory is a hub for reference and presence building that doesn’t require constant activity. A little reputation management and a willingness to communicate with prospects (constant in any venture) are the base requirements.
The real value of directories, however, remains the fact that the “good ones” are still human-edited. Mega-search engines like Google don’t return “high value” business results by nature, but rely on algorithmic super-searches. The purpose of today’s web directory is to provide a well-structured database of high-quality websites.
The Yahoo Directory has been shut down since 2014 but the DMOZ was shut down on the 14th of March 2017. The AOL-owned directory, DMOZ, was no longer supported by its owner, hence it was shut down but it remains a single landing page and has a discussion forum where discussion on the re-launching of the service is done.
Business.com is one of the sites that provide a platform for businesses to get advice from experts that can help them grow their services. The platform also allows business owners to compare features and prices on various products and services needed by their businesses to make a better decision. Furthermore, it allows businesses to get some perks and cash backs on each product they purchase.
Of course, there are several other tools available for businesses like business.com. These tools coupled with the maximum use of web directories and search engines can help your businesses grow.
BOTW Directory is still there and as an opinion, I think they made it because they pau their editors. Another human edited directory worth to be mentioned is Jasmine Directory. It was founded almost a decade ago and they apply a high editorial discretion. They reserve the right to reject any suggested resource if it doesn’t comply with their guidelines. Just like every other web directories, features several categories and allows users to suggest their websites. Some of the categories featured in this web directory include arts and humanities, business & finance, computers & technology, health & fitness, and more. It also features premium services which provide better exposure, the entries are permanent and users ca opt for features like automatic thumbnails which are stored locally using Shrinktheweb’s API, rich content descriptions and up to 5 deep links.
Directories are a mixed bag story: Freebie and unqualified spam listings have hurt directory reputations but the value is still quite real, meaning discretion is called for.
One marketing pro summed up the value of a good directory like this: “A high editorial discretion is the key. A good directory generates buzz, builds SEO value, generates discussion and backlinks and has real, direct value to people looking for places to do business with.”
On point, Alexa is an industry tool that points up just precisely how active a given website is, how it ranks in terms of real usefulness. Alexa ranks Jasmine at #4,276 in the USA and #16,929 worldwide; a mighty impressive number no matter how it is measured.
Overall, directories have a place in a well-executed SEO plan, and some marketing folks still depend heavily on regular submission to directories to build activity. While blasting submissions to a zillion free directory might build some SEO, directories like Business.com, BOTW and Jasmine Directory are still a real value to businesses just because they use a high editorial discretion, something that “Google appreciates” according to Matt Cutts, former Google employee.