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Should You Add Your Business to Online Directories ?

By October 16, 2009 Uncategorized No Comments

With the pressure to get a lot of businesses online, there are now companies that offer to put a brief summary of your website into an online directory. They say that for a  small investment between $350 and $600 you can have a link to your website, name and contact details, and a picture added to their directory.

While this seems like an absolute bargain, you have to ask yourself the question, “Is this really worth it?”

The claims that they make are simple: they will increase your presence on the internet, so that when people search their directory they can find your business.

With the high number of online directories offering you an exclusive location on their internet real estate, I decided to test drive and see what would come up.

Example Post, PAINTER IN TOOWONG

So I hit my favorite Search Engine (Google) and typed in “painter in Toowong” to determine the results.

The first few results are the “paid” results,highlighted in yellow, right up the top. These are followed by Google Map locations of seven businesses before we get to the natural search engine results.

The first “organic” result takes me to a beautiful page, well optimised, and looks like it was developed as part of a Community guide.

However when you click to “Go to the main website” it takes you to a dead end. Looks like they dropped their domain, or the developers screwed up here ?! In any case, the business has just one sheet on the internet, and despite holding that lucrative position their customers are turned away if they want more information.

Further, if you click around the (makeshift?) website there is a location page, but the location of the business isn’t in Toowong at all ! It’s in Clayfield.

http://www.painter-toowong.websyte.com.au/site.cfm?/painter-toowong/1/

So now we’ve got a business listing that comes up in the highest organic result, but advertising in the wrong location, on a website platform that appears to be a makeshift website.

Oh sorry, this is infuriating.

If this was MY business I’d be asking a lot of questions from my web design company…

Back to Google, I’m searching down the list to see if I can find an actual painting company in Toowong.

The next result is a free listing in True Local – Ken Bells Painting. On that page there is a phone number and Google map – along with other business listings for painters in nearby suburbs.

There’s no explanation about who Ken Bell is, where he works, what his prices are, what paint he uses, or the level of experience he has. He’s quite fortunate to even get a listing on Google in such a high spot (#2). The reason for this is that his url contains the term “painter” and “Toowong”, and the title tag contains those search terms as well.

<title>KEN BELLS PAINTING SERVICE, Toowong, Qld, 4066</title>

Further to this, let’s look at the META tags, and in this case there are three: TITLE, DESCRIPTION and KEYWORDS.

You’ll notice that the search terms “painter” and “Toowong” are included in each of these META tags:

<meta name="title" content="KEN BELLS PAINTING SERVICE, Toowong, Qld, 4066" />
<meta name="description" content="KEN BELLS PAINTING SERVICE, Toowong, QLD. Full contact details for KEN BELLS PAINTING SERVICE including phone number, map and reviews. Listings by TrueLocal."/>
<meta name="keywords" content="KEN BELLS PAINTING SERVICE, Painters, Toowong, reviews recommendations local business search"/>

And lastly, the words “painter” and “Toowong” are on the small piece of text that co-exists on the web page.

Now if you are on Google’s page that shows these results, you’ll see that the number of competing Web Pages for these search terms is less than 10,000. So naturally there would not need to be any amount of “off-page” optimisation to get a #1 result in Google for these terms. All this has been accomplished with simple “on-page” optimisation.

Now if you’re a painter in Toowong and would like to get to #1 position, it’s quite easy!

There are several more things that you can do to out-rank and out-perform these few results — even without having to get into “off-page” optimisation. But that’s a topic for further discussion.

After this result was the Yellow Pages listing for Big Ben’s Paint Company, followed by Hot Frog – an online business directory.

So my question is … “Should You Add Your Business to Online Directories ?”

The short answer is YES, because they will help you get listed online.

But should you be paying $350 – $600 to be listed ? My answer is NO. Not one of the business listings that came up on Google’s first page were from a paid directory. Oh, some of you might argue with me and say that Yellow Pages is a paid service — and of course it is. My response is that if your business gets found on Google’s first page for a Yellow Pages listing, then there’s not much competition in the market! People will be searching for your business through Yellow Pages instead of doing a “Google Search”, but nice to know that it turns up.

If you really want to blitz your company in the search engines, then you’re going to need your own website. And you’re going to need to capture the right words and phrases in the important places of your website (both on page and under the page).

You can learn more about getting a number one listing in the Search Engines by attending one of Sure Fire Web’s training courses.

We give you the skills to confidently update your website to make it found in the Search Engines for the phrases that you need. Register your interest today and make sure you plan to attend an event in order to capture your share of the market !

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