Are Directories Still Relevant?
For basically the last 15 years most online searches have been done on the major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. There are smaller players but in the end most of them are owned by the bigger players or will soon be. So where does that put general purpose directories like this one? Oddly enough, playing the important role of providing accurate information for the major search engines.
Search engines use directories to verify the information of businesses, organizations, groups, etc. The more consistent the information is across many websites the more confident search engines are about that information. The basic information like name, phone number, address, website URL should be the same every where. If it’s not, that may be a red flag to the search engines that some isn’t quite right with that organization which in turn leads to lower search rankings.
For this reason alone it’s good practice to review the listings for the organization where every they may appear for accuracy and create new ones in a consistent manner. Remember many directories use data brokers to populate there data. Large data brokers like Acxiom and Localeze collect organizational data, be it correct or not, and sell that information in bulk to their partners like digital directories. This is why listings may exist on websites where an organization has never visited. This reinforces the strategy of verifying an organization’s information where ever it appears.
FYLP does not use data brokers to populate our listings. We rely on verified information from research done by our staff.
Much as consistent information across the web contributes to an organization’s search rankings so does the number of backlinks to their website. A backlink, simply put, is a reference to the organization’s website from another website. While the number of these backlinks is important, their quality is just as, if not more important. If the referring website is simply a list of links with no relevance or meaningful content this will lead to very little or no credibility increase for the organization.
Here again taking action to remove poor backlinks and creating credible ones will payoff in the long term. Just like the organization’s website any backlink should be back by a relevant content and credibility. This is where specialized directories can make a difference.
Specialized Directories Make a Difference
As amazing as Google and Bing are at showing relevant information like a local professional it still may take some work to determine which of the countless professionals to actually use. This is where specialized directories come in very handy. Comparing one professional to another can be made easier when they are all in one place and using information specific to that profession that may not apply to others. Those specific details can make the difference between choosing one pro from another.
Of course customer reviews play a big part of the decision to use or go to one place over another. Again this is where a specialized directory can help. While reviews on large on search engines are great and numerous they usually don’t have enough detail to make truly informed decisions. It’s the details that count not just the rating.
Directories are still important for as long as consumers need help finding credible professionals and organizations need help building that credibility. Weather it’s done in house or provided for by a professional marketing company, everything in this article should be part of any ongoing SEO and marketing strategy.