Online business directories are fast becoming the information hub of local customers searching for local businesses. Local customers are resigning their old, brittle print directories to the storage bin and turning to their computer and Smartphone to locate the best local business in town that caters to their needs.

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Online business directories, including the hundreds of free business directories, permit for these extra details to be added to your business directory listing. It’s the local businesses who make the most of this chance that are inviting new customers.

There are literally hundreds of paid-for and free online business directories out there. But how do you know which ones are the best and what’s the key to perfecting your listing so you stand out from your rival businesses without having to dish some amount of money?

5 Quick Steps to perfecting your online business directory listing

1. Pick the most popular and relevant directories for your business

The best online directories are those that have the most number of online visitors or those that are industry-specific. But a word of caution-not all niche or free directory listing fit the bill; some have few to nonexistent user base. A quick search on Google will tell you which ones are worth your time and ones to ditch entirely. Search on Google your “business type” plus “your location”: e.g., “accountant in Leeds”. Those local business directories that appear on the first 3 search results pages are the ones to focus. (Check the online business directory comparison chart to see which directories have the most number of audiences: comparison of top online business directories.)

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2. Add your business to all directories

From the list you got on step one, add or claim your business to all of them. Many local business directories buy their listing data from a provider, so don’t be surprised if you find your business already listed on some of them. For future success, it’s very important to list the correct name of your business, address, and phone number-review your business’ existing list if the information is accurate.

Note: check for a confirmation email from each directory in your inbox; follow the steps on the confirmation email to complete your registration.

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3. List as much information on your local business directory listing as allowed

The beauty of online business directory listings is that you can list not just the name, address, and phone number of your business, you can enrich your listing with more details like business description, clickable website URL, facilities, list of services, logos, opening hours, pictures, etc. Use this opportunity fully to personalize your listing to make it more relatable to your customers. Review the information you entered to make sure it’s 100% correct and true to each local directories.

4. Make or use a local Special Offer Voucher

Nothing can be faster to convert browsers into actual buyers than offering vouchers or coupons on your local business directory listing. Local consumers are paying attention to the word “free” or “special offer”; your business listing will stand out against your rivals if you have these words added. You don’t have to offer heaven and earth to your customers; any form of offer is good enough to get customers to walk into the door than nothing at all.

Tip: use different voucher codes on each directory so that you can monitor which directories are giving you the most number of walk in visits.

5. Interact with the communities on these directories

Online directories are dynamic websites with vibrant, active community of users. These users or local customers are actively rating and reviewing the listed local businesses they use, and these ratings and reviews are visible to other directory users. In fact, 70% of consumers trust online business reviews-business directories know this so that they’re pushing up local businesses with positive reviews higher on search results. This is yet another small business marketing strategy you can use.

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Using Special Online Directories: The Best Way to Advertise a Business

If you want to attain better online visibility and drive better traffic, submit your site only to major online directories. There are thousands of online directories, but only a few of them can help boost your search engine ranking and enhance your online visibility. It is a must to properly assess which directories you are submitting your website to; otherwise, your directory submission efforts are in vain.

The entire strategy of website marketing involves submitting to directories. As a matter of fact, it is rare to hear of online marketers or website optimizers that do ignore the value of directory submission. After all, major search engines continue to place emphasis on the number of listing and hyperlinks your website has in online directories. Thus, if you want to increase your web ranking and improve online traffic to your website, submit site to quality online directories.

Directory listing is not just meant to become searchable within the directory sites. Submission of site also involves creation of back links, which are helpful in further increasing your search engine ranking. Directory submission almost always includes listing of your website address, as well. Thus, users will see pertinent information regarding your company, including your products and services, but more importantly how to reach you online (website address, chat name, etc.) and offline (office location, phone number, etc.).

Furthermore, directory submission involves writing quality copy that helps promote your business, products and services without being obvious about it. Most directories only allow listing of non-promotional articles, also called online press releases together when you submit site. However, online PR's can work wonders because of the back links and references made to your company and website, which are powerful in increasing your web ranking and driving online traffic.

Aside from properly choosing the directories to submit your website to, you also need to properly choose the category where you will list your website. Identifying your website category is important in enhancing its searchability and visibility. So when you include your site at online directories, make sure you pick the category or categories that closely associate to the nature of your website.

You can submit site with or without paying anything. Choosing unpaid over paid listing is fine, although a lot of companies do not mind paying for directory submission because they know its function in optimizing their websites. Nevertheless, directory listing fees are usually minimal, and most paid directories offer quality indexing and listing services than their free counterparts.

You might be wondering how to do directory submission. Well, it is relatively easy and fast; just visit an online directory and follow their listing guidelines properly. If you are still unsure of what to do, you can make use of directory submission programs that automatically submits your copies and other company information. Normally, these submission programs are also capable of rewriting or spinning copies. The programs also have a list of directories which to submit your website and copy to.

All in all, directory listing plays a vital role in optimizing your website. All you need is a good copy and relevant company information, plus a list of quality directory sites to which you submit site to.

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