Insureon Blog

How to Win Local Search with Online Directories

10. January 2017 09:07

woman with magnifying glass and computer keyboard

Back in the early days of the Internet, businesses put up websites left and right. Because search engines weren't as fast or effective as they are now, online directories appeared as an organizing structure that helped point users in the right direction quickly.

But now that technology has improved, are online directories still important? And do they have any impact on small business SEO? Here's what a few experts have to say.

How Online Directories Improve Your Small Business SEO

Sam Binks, digital marketing manager for TeamSnap (@teamsnap), says online directories "can be hugely important for local SEO." In fact, he believes they have a bigger impact on startups because early-stage businesses typically have fewer, if any, backlinks. (Learn more about how backlinks help improve your website's visibility in "SEM & SEO: I Can Tell that We Are Going to Be Friends.")

Binks says submitting to a range of quality and relevant directories is a cheap and effective way to:

Ultimately, he says submitting your site to online directories is "an excellent and valuable practice for new businesses."

Pro tip: President of GMR Web Team (@GMRWebTeam ) Ajay Prasad says submitting to directories is "a fairly simple process." All you have to do is locate a site and determine if your business is already listed. If it is, you can claim it. If not, you can create a post from scratch.

Either way, Prasad advises small-business owners to make sure the information they submit to the directory matches what's on the business's website.

"Google crawls these sites regularly, and if it finds consistency in your listing information and your website, the SEO benefits are tremendous," he notes.

Bonus tip: According to Jennifer Goodwin (@thatJENgirl), owner of Internet Girl Friday, you can hire third-party companies to do bulk submissions for you, but she doesn't recommend it.

"A business needs to only submit to directories that are relevant and useful or risk the Google robots detecting the business is trying to 'game the system,'" she says.

How to Pick an Online Directory that Helps Your Local SEO

Jill Caren, owner of the web design and SEO agency 2 Dogs Media (@2dogsmedia), says to find online directories that are niche related and offer value to consumers.

"Stay away from websites that just list hundreds of websites in all different niches and markets," she says. "Those have no value and in fact can hurt SEO efforts in the long run."

Caren recommends listing your site with:

When you're looking for industry-related directories, Caren suggests using a Google search operator. These are words you can add to your search query to narrow your results. For example, typing "allintitle: insurance directory" will only show results with the words "insurance directory" in the title. Check out Google Guide for more.

Pro tip: "Google values your site in terms of neighborhoods, and if all of the links pointing to your website come from spammy directories or web 2.0 sites, you may get penalized," says SEO specialist and copywriter Adam Gingery (@AdamGingery1) of DMi Partners (@DMi_Partners). Before you submit to any online directory, he suggests asking…

Finally, Gingerly says, "Don't rely on directories for all of your links. You need links from stronger sites as well."

Getting your website to perform well in local SEO is a big undertaking. See how you can split that one goal into daily, weekly, and monthly assignments in "14 Tasks to Keep Your Business Website Ranking."

About the Contributors

Sam Binks

Sam Binks is the digital marketing manager at TeamSnap. He's responsible for growing the subscriber base through digital channels such as email, search engine optimization, and website marketing. A keen growth hacker and data hound, technical analysis, optimization, and testing are his specialties!




Jill Caren

Jill Caren is top dog at 2 Dogs Media living a life immersed in Wordpress, SEO, and nonprofit technology. She enjoys helping businesses and nonprofits with their online presence from design to SEO / SEM strategy.






Adam Gingery

Adam Gingery is the copywriter and SEO specialist at DMi Partners in Philadelphia and cofounder / writer for Backstage Podcast. He manages PPC campaigns, writes ad copy, and handles SEO through content production and link building. Follow Gingery on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.





Jennifer Goodwin

Jennifer Goodwin is the owner and founder of, an award-winning Internet marketing agency that helps veterans and small businesses launch their ideas online.





Ajay Prasad

Ajay Prasad, formerly a marketer for a few Fortune 10 companies, now owns GMR Web Team, a digital marketing agency dedicated to helping businesses maximize revenue from the Internet and operates a seven-figure web-based business GMR Transcription, which he built from scratch and grew by using strategies that he now uses for his digital marketing clients. He has also recently launched an online reputation management software known as RepuGen, which helps businesses obtain positive online reviews.




Online Marketing | Small Business | Tips for All Small Businesses

Permalink | Comments (0)
Compare insurance quotes for your business
Save money by comparing insurance quotes from multiple carriers
Can't find your profession?