What are Online Business Directories
Before the internet and the digital revolution, if you wanted to market or list your local business to potential customers, you had to do so using printed media. The Yellow Pages was the most prominent local business listing directory; the book was enormous in a large city.
The yellow pages was a business that sold space in their directory book to a local business to advertise. You can have a simple name, address, and phone number listing, which was the cheapest way to go, but there were also full-page, half-page, and quarter-page ads for businesses that wanted to get noticed. The larger the ad, the more expensive it was to list in the book.
The book would be published yearly or, at the most, bi-yearly to keep the listings updated. As you can see, getting new businesses into this book and out to the public eye could take up to a year.
The Birth of the Online Business Directory
In the early to mid-1990s, as the internet grew, entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to take printed information and make that information available online. Yellow page’s first directory went online in 1996. Eventually, the need for yellow pages printed books was discontinued in 2019 after running for 51 years.
There are currently hundreds of business directories online, but some are better than others for certain types of businesses. This article will cover the top 7 best online business directory websites to register your businesses and get new customers.
Top 6 Online Business Directories
Online directories are the best thing that local business owners could ask for to get their business noticed online. Every search engine today has an online business listing for local businesses that are free to list and register. The business directories I have listed in this article get hundreds of millions of views each month, and your verified listings will go live immediately.
A very important note to remember about setting up your local business listings is that the business information you enter on each of them must be the same. When I say the same, I mean exactly. If you list your business on Google with the address “123 Main St.” and then enter your business, say on Facebook, with the address of “123 Main Street” you will get penalized on Google and will not rank as high because you have inconsistent data online.
If you want a software to keep all your online business data synchronized correctly, you may consider using a reasonably priced product like Moz.
Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile, formerly Google My Business, is the best free business listing today. Google owns more than 90% market share in the search industry, and your business will get a lot of visibility being listed here. You will need to enter basic information regarding your business, and it should take 30 minutes to get set up from start to finish.
The most significant benefit of using the Google Business Profile is the Google review feature. More than 87% of online consumers look for and trust Google reviews. The more good reviews your business has, the more customers you will get from this listing. You are missing out if you are not currently using this feature in your business. The biggest problem with this feature is that most local business owners need a system to request and respond to customer reviews, so many end up using third-party software to help them.
If you still need to set up your free business listing, you can review my blog article here. It will guide you through all the steps necessary to get your local business listing configured correctly.
You can review my blog post here if you already have a listing but need to optimize it for local SEO. I give you ten ways to tweak your listing to get the best possible results for local search engines.
Facebook – Business Page
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past decade or two, you have heard of Facebook. At first, it started just as a social media platform, but in 2007 added the ability for users to create pages. One of these types of pages is a business page specifically designed to allow local businesses to post their business information on the platform.
The Facebook page allows you to create posts of your recent work or service to share with potential clients, and a built-in messaging feature, Facebook Messenger, allows your customers to send you messages. The problem with local business owners is that they are busy and only sometimes check for messages on Facebook, so customers can wait hours or days for a response. By then, the customer may have moved on to another business.
If this has happened to you and you have lost customers, you should look at this software to help you.
Here is what the business page looks like on a desktop and a mobile device.
Apple iPhones account for roughly 25% of the cell phone market and have over 1.5 Billion devices currently in use. Each iPhone uses the Apple IOS operating system; the default map application on those devices is Apple maps. When an iPhone user uses Siri to get directions, Apple maps is the application that provides the direction. There are over 100 Million monthly searches from Siri and users manually searching for local businesses.
Apple maps application has an online business directory, so you must register your business to be listed manually. You can use the Apple Business Connect website to register your business. You will need to create an account to manage the listing.
Yelp was created in 2004 to provide ratings and review platforms for local businesses. They have become a standard in leaving reviews for local businesses. Yelp does offer local businesses the ability to create a listing in their business directory. You must go to https://business.yelp.com/ and create an account with Yelp to manage the listing.
If you create a listing, Yelp will try to sell you additional services, and you may get a call from their sales team about purchasing marketing services on Yelp.
Bing search engine has a 9% market share, much less than Google, but they still receive over one billion monthly views to their platform. As a result of that much search volume, you, as a local business, can’t afford to be a part of it. Their business directory is Bing Places, and you can create your free listing at https://www.bingplaces.com/.
This nice thing about Bing Places is if you already have a Google Business Profile, you can import that data into your Bing Places listing.
Bing Place, unfortunately, does not offer a feature to allow customers to leave reviews on their platform.
Yahoo was the first recognized search engine on the internet built in 1994; however, currently, it only has a 2.5% market share for search. Yahoo does not have a business directory listing on its platform but outsources this feature to Yext.
Yext is a popular business listing synchronization platform. They are pricey if you want to use their services, but they allow you to create a free listing using this link https://www.yext.com/pl/yahoo-listings/free-claim-checkout.html.
Top 6 Free Online Business Directories Conclusion
Any business owner in today’s market is crazy if they do not take advantage of these free listings in this article. I often ask business owners if they pay for ads to get more customers, and I always tell them about these free listings so they can get more free customers instead of having to pay for them.
Thanks for checking out my article. I hope you found it helpful.