3 Times You Should Consider Directory Listings in Your SEO Strategy

Posted by Rachel Stephens on August 29, 2023 at 4:01 PM     SEO
3 Times You Should Consider Directory Listings in Your SEO Strategy

When developing an SEO strategy, there is no one-size-fits-all playbook. Each site has its own set of circumstances, including its history and goals. There are certain instances where directory listings specifically should be a part of your strategy. In this article, we will discuss three situations that indicate that your site would benefit from pursuing SEO directory listings. 

Why do directories matter for SEO?

Directories were previously considered a complete SEO strategy. Sites would disperse their information to directories and expect to rise to the top of the search results. 

It’s not that simple anymore. 

Google ranks sites by the likelihood that the website will meet the searcher's needs. It’s imperative that Google has confidence in the information that it returns. One way Google can build confidence in your website and business is through consistent information about your business found across the internet. 

Let’s consider an example. 

Pretend you opened an ice cream shop on 1st Street. You set up a website, but still aren’t showing up in the search results

There was previously a fruit stand at that location, and there are still mentions of that fruit stand online. They have a Yelp page and a listing with the Chamber of Commerce. Google sees these various listings and mentions of both businesses online and has low confidence as to whether there is a fruit stand or ice cream shop at the location. For that reason, they aren’t prominently displaying your business in the search results.

A real business will usually be mentioned many times across the internet. A consistent NAP (name, address, phone number) will help Google understand and trust your business. On the flip side, inconsistencies in listings reduce trust.  

Directory listings are one way to disperse your business information across various websites and help search engines understand your relevance. Let’s break down a few examples of when to consider directories as part of your SEO strategy.

Related: 6 ways businesses can improve their local SEO >>

Three times you should use directories for SEO

1. Your business location has a history

 You may be a brand-new business, but the building location could have some baggage. If your business location operated under a different name, or a different type of business was previously at this location, there are probably lingering citations referencing the old business. 

This creates confusion for Google. It's important to clean up and correct any of those lingering outdated directory citations to help build confidence and improve your visibility in search. 

The following maps show a business’s rank by location. This business previously operated under a different name. The first chart shows the rank prior to Marketing Essentials launching a citation campaign with the intent of removing listings that referenced the previous location name and distributing the current information to additional directories. 

You can see that over time, the area where the business is ranking in the top three results has widened for increased visibility. 

Local SEO November 2022inline-2

Before                                                                  8 Months After

2. You’re not showing up in search

The second time to consider directories is if you're not showing in the search results. Among other SEO work, if you aren’t showing in search results, your SEO efforts may be amplified by directory work. 

As previously mentioned, Google may lack the confidence to return your business. Sharing your business information online is a great way to build that confidence!

3. Directories are ranking where you want to be

Lastly, determine if directory listings show in the search results when you search for your product or service locally. In some industries, niche directories are especially relevant and show prominently in the search results. For example, when you search “assisted living in Columbus, OH” you will see directory listings consuming the first few listings in the search engine results.

Search Engine Results

When directories take up a good number of listings on the search engine results page, it can be inferred that Google values directories for your niche, and it is worth pursuing listings on these directories too. 

When you get a quality listing on the already-ranking directories, you gain a search engine results space from the listing, but these can also influence your site's rank. These listings help build confidence, trust and understanding of your business, which will help you improve visibility for the searches that are most relevant to your business.

Getting started with SEO directory listings

A Google Business Profile listing should be #1 on your list to create. Google Business Profile listings appear prominently in local search results and Google Maps, making them a vital touchpoint for potential customers. Users often reach the Google Business Profile before they find the business website. 

Creating additional profiles on well-known directories will increase the likelihood of your business showing in the search results. Yelp, Apple, and Bing are the next big three directories used to search for directions, contact information, and more. There are thousands of other directories that can also influence search results and website traffic. Some examples include the Chamber of Commerce, Facebook and the Better Business Bureau. 

Let’s talk about SEO

If you are still unsure if directories are the answer, or where to start with SEO, contact us to create an SEO strategy for your business. Our SEO team will work with you to implement an effective marketing plan that might just include directory listings.

Request your free consultation today!