A number of my clients, spurred on from some articles we wrote a couple years back, are persisting in adding their company name and details to various local directories like Yellow, Gopher, Finda, localist etc. The hope is that it will help their rankings and hence get more search traffic. Although there were ranking benefits of doing this back in 2011, this isn’t the case today. What we recommended last year or earlier, often no longer works well. This modification of the rules is normal in the world of search. Rules that can change overnight.
New Rules are in Place, again
I rarely see local directory listings appearing these days in a Google search result and with multiple search algorithm changes the last 2 years (e.g. Penquin; Hummingbird), there’s no evidence that Google uses local directory listings in any way that could improve your ranking or search page results. And these old directories certainly won’t provide you many leads directly! The one thing they may still to be used for by Google is simply to help validate you for Google maps and local search results. Ensure you are a real business with a location, which is important. But don’t ever expect these old broad directories to get you more traffic or leads, directly or indirectly…
Niche market and the new Yelp directory sites are exceptions in some consumer sectors like restaurants, since Google appears to take some notice of these primarily due to their niche focus (high relevance) and the feedback (validation) by visitors which most ‘normal’ directories lack.
So, where should you ‘list’ yourself?
So, if broad-based directories are largely a waste of time aside from base location validation, where should effort be spent? It’s simple.
- Ensure you have a good Google+ profile and Google places/maps details completed, for Googles local search listings.
- Then focus much more on getting relevant, interesting content on your website with appropriate titles and meta descriptions.
- Track site search queries and traffic using analytics and webmaster tools to help define and tweak content.
- Spend time immersing yourself in the social media community and getting others talking about you. i.e. Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin, News sites etc. In competitive sectors, Google cares more about what others say about you, than what you say about yourself.
The results of this will be 10x that of anything you do with those old directories.