Do directory listings really help SEO rankings?
Since establishing itself as an essential facet of the digital marketing industry, the world of SEO has been continually changing. As a necessity, industry tactics must be regularly adjusted and campaign strategies adapted as use of search engines and the technology that powers them develops. In fact, many tactics and techniques that got results in the early days of SEO have been rendered obsolete and some can now even damage a site’s chances of ranking well in search results.
Link building is one SEO tactic that professionals still agree gets positive results. In the early days of SEO it was established that search engines consider links from one site to another as a vote of popularity or an endorsement. However, the use of link building to manipulate the search algorithms has led search engines to develop sophisticated link crawling technology that can evaluate a number of factors to establish how and why linked pages are related.
While link building is still a valuable way to establish your website as an authority in your field, gaining useful links from third party websites has become more and more difficult as search engines have developed and improved their search algorithms. Finding related websites that accept guest blog posts is one effective, but time consuming method of link building, but many sites limit the number of links they allow to just one or two and will often add a ‘nofollow’ tag to any links they do permit, which strips it of a lot of authority.
One quick and easy way to gain links from third party websites is to create a listing on directory sites. When digital marketing agencies mention that they carry out link building campaigns on behalf of clients, creating profiles on generic directory websites such as Yell.com and Scoot.co.uk is often what they mean.
But do these directory listing actually offer companies any real SEO value?
There is still value to be found from directory websites. However, that value is not improving the visibility of your company or client website in search results, especially if you are stocking every entry you make with the same company information (company history and service or product details), copied and pasted from the same source. Both web users and search engines respond more positively to unique content. What value are you offering potential customers with the same information on 10 websites?
It is worth noting that many new business directories are built and maintained by digital marketing agencies as a lead generation tool, with new company listings often triggering nothing more than a phone call the following day from a salesperson looking to sell the agency’s digital marketing services.
A series of listings on high quality business directories can still help with your website’s SEO if you have a premises you want customers to visit, you only serve customers in a local area or your business provides niche or specialist services. Checkatrade, Trustpilot and TripAdvisor are all examples of UK directory websites that offer real value with their company listings. Some niche directories do charge for full access to their services, but the leads generated by having a presence on a popular directory can often make them very cost effective.
Now that the most popular search engines offer tailored local search results, having your company details (trading name, address, contact phone number, website and email address) listed identically in all directory entries you maintain can help ensure your business is included in these local results and on the result pages of map apps. Yes, search engines like unique content, but important, unchanging company information should always be carefully inputted to ensure it is consistent across every channel you use.
So, do directory listings help with SEO? As with SEO in general, the answer is complicated. Well stocked and regularly maintained listings on established general and niche directories will help to make your company name appear more often in search results and should also direct some traffic to your site. Just be prepared to receive some sales calls whenever you create a new, or update an existing entry.
If you think your company’s online presence is in need of improvement, contact Say Hello Hello today. From stocking business directories with your company information to building and maintaining a professional presence on social media, a comprehensive online strategy can help you Say Hello Hello to a new source of leads.