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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Online Directories for Advertising and Marketing Online

An online directory is really a categorical directory. There are three types of these directories and they both serve very similar purposes in being able to deliver information on an abundance of different companies, events and more websites over the World Wide Web.

A Simple Directory

The simplest directory allows you to submit your site under a particular category like 'entertainment' and will add your site to the directory under 'entertainment'. This type of directory is sometimes referred to as a FFA (Free for All) directory. Some of these directory sites will use a bit of software verification before adding your site to the list to make sure it's not a duplicate and to make sure your site actually exists.

A Monitored Directory

The 'Monitored Directory' is very different to the simple directory, because they will have a human monitoring the content and making a decision as to whether or not that particular website gets listed. They will normally list your site as it is submitted if they accept you. If you boast a lot about your site you may find that they reject you as the same if you were to use too many capital letters or over use of the same words, try to avoid this if you can.

An Edited Directory

The 'edited directory' will limit the sites contained in their directory and they will also what they are going to say about your site. They will normally edited or re-write the entire description for your site. For anyone trying to find out valuable information this will be the best resource.

The easiest way to describe an online web directory specific to one area is to imagine something like the yellow pages, but an online version. Whilst a hard copy of the yellow pages may be great, the online directory gives you first hand and up to date news. This is a great way to source particular products and services there are a number of companies now housing specific web directory sites online. This makes it easier for you to find what you want at the click of a button.

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