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Hunting For Online Directories – The In Depth Strategy

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Directory marketing can help boost your companies performance a great deal. Not only will you get qualified leads for your business, your web site will also increase it’s traffic ranking a tremendous amount.

Here are a couple basic advantages to online directories,

- Substantial staying power

- Repetitive marketing

- Your listing grows with the entire site

- No updating unless necessary

- Not necessary to link back to the directory

Please Note: This article is meant to discuss and implement marketing strategies for local business directories online, not link exchange, a.k.a swapping links with other websites.

For many people, one/two directories always come to mind,

- http://dir.yahoo.com

- http://www.dmoz.com

- http://directory.google.com

With web marketing, you want to have ever lasting staying power, online directories can provide you with this and more.

Many people who DO NOT use the internet everyday stick with the basics when they come online. Many people are usually looking for a specific service or product that they want to check up on within their local community. This is why it is so crucial that you get noticed locally online.

Every major city has atleast one or two good business directories for you to submit your business to. Many of these directories don’t even require that you have a website.

Tips on how to find local directories online:

Try being very specific when you search. There are two methods that work really good.

A) “Hamilton” Business Directory < Search for "Your City" plus "business directory". This should typically bring you to local business directories that usually are competing against one another. Don't be afraid to keep digging through this important search term.

B) Be VERY specific:
If in the case that you can’t find anything, try searching for something general within your local area. For instance, if you “cut hair”, try searching for “Hair Salons In (your area)”.

Ex. “Hair Salons in hamilton, ontario”.

Doing a specific search like this should typically bring up local directories that are really trying to get the most exposure as possible. The reason why you should find a directory this way is because if you don’t find anything by doing specific searches for specific products or services locally, you might as well reap the rewards of having your own local business directory and get all the advertising exposure that comes with it.

Directories online are there for one thing and one thing only. To give the owner of the directory massive exposure while helping his/her local, regionally, national community. That’s it.

There are few people out there that just create a local directory just for something to do. These people typically have too much time on their hands and they probably take great pride in their directory online.

How To Prepare For Directory Submissions

There are certain key bullets of information that 90% of directories ask for, here they are in no particular order.

Name
Company
Position
Type Of Business
Phone Number
Fax Number

Email: – (may need to be validated)

Web Site
Title Of Your Site: – (keep it within 70 char)
Description: – (keep it within 200 char)

Search Terms:

If you are asked for search terms, don’t disregard them. This is just there so that the directory you are submitting to can add these search terms to their “search engine” in order to find your business.

So if a directory asks you for search terms, add in as many as you can that you would want people to find your business by.

and… Category

That’s typically about all that most directories will ask for. Very straight forward. I would recommend opening up “Note Pad” or “Word Document” and fill in these requirements on your own before you start submitting your company. It may save you a lot of time in the end.

Targeting Regional & International:

If your business is better off targeting people outside your local community, you might want to consider implementing a link exchange program. This is where you will find extremely competitive directories online that want to get as much exposure as you do.

Once you start targeting internationally, many of the directories you will find will most likely want to swap information with you. The good ol’ barter system, an eye for an eye. Nothing wrong with this. Just make sure that the directory you link to doesn’t “feel wrong”.

… and I mean “feel wrong”.

Someone came to me the other day and asked me to take a look at something. They said that they weren’t sure if they should swap links with this other company. I simply asked them, what kind of feeling do you get from this other company?

This person said that the website was a little fishy and felt a little cold. What’s the best course of action here???

Go with your gut instinct. You never want to link to websites that you don’t even feel right about it. Besides, if you link to it from your site, you might as well put up a banner sign outside your window saying that you fully support this other company.

If an online directory asks you to exchange information and you don’t feel that it would be valuable to your visitors, move onto another directory. If you feel fishy about it, so will others.

Finding International Directories:

For this you’ll want to implement the same strategy as before when you learned about searching for “local directories”. Try using the “country, state/provice” added with online directory or business directory.

So do a search like this:

Canadian Business Directory – or – Online Directories In Canada

This style of searching should bring you specific directories. Please remember that there is NO quick way of doing this. You must have patience since, even now, there are still literally 1000′s of directories I’ve never heard of.

Directories keep popping up every day. Don’t be afraid to search for new directories once a month, or once every 90 days.

Placing Your Companies Directory Listing In The Right Spot:

This step could be one of the most important steps you take for advertising within online directories.

I say this is important because without careful positioning, your directory listing may never see a visitor again.

Steps you can take to get proper placements:

- Do a “general search”:

Search within the directory for something general and related to your business. Place your company within that search result.

- Only 2 clicks away:

Try placing your company within a category that is only 2 clicks away from the main directory page. This will increase your results. Some directories can’t offer you this, it’s ok depending on the popularity of the directory you are submitting to.

- Watch out for spammers:

Watch out for directories that list 100 companies on one page. This is called “Link Farms” online and is frowned upon from search engines.

- Find empty categories:

Don’t be afraid to click in once more in order to find a category that has been barely touched. Getting your own category is the ultimate listing for your business.

- Don’t go “unrelated”:

Do not submit your company to “unrelated” categories. If you can’t find a category for your business, try contacting the directory administrator to implement a new category for your business.

- Was it too confusing?

Again, go with your gut feeling. If you found the directory way too confusing to find anything, 9/10 times other visitors will also find it confusing and leave.

That about wraps it up for online directories. There is enough knowledge here to help you find the right directories for your business. Some tips have been excluded because every person adapts to their own strategy and I hope you will too.

Martin Lemieux is the owner of Smartads. We help companies like yourself to market your business online and offline.

For more of Martin’s articles, go here: http://www.smartads.info/newsletter/archive

The Martin Report – eBusiness News!: http://www.smartads.info/the-martin-report/

SEM XML Feed: http://www.article99.com/rss-feeds/Search-Engine-Marketing.xml

Hunting For Online Directories – The In Depth Strategy
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