Leveraging Online Business Directory

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Merging Online Directories With Consumer Deals to Lure Customers
A top goal for any business wishing to expand their customer base is getting noticed on internet platforms that allow local users the information they need to find one’s business. As of recently, a new form of geographically sensitive marketing has emerged online. Customer oriented online search engines, and social media sites, are on a race to successfully merge their existing capabilities with “deal-based” services that are location sensitive and available conveniently on many mobile platforms.

In October 2010, Facebook and Yelp announced they’d soon be offering deals to customers who “check-in” at a particular geographical location. FourSquare launched this idea months ago. However, Facebook has over 200 million users already active on a daily basis on their site so they have pulled ahead with this emerging technology. t has been rumored that Google may acquire Groupon for $2.5 Billion however, in late November 2010, the search engine leader is close to closing a deal to purchase it for $5 to 6 Billion. Groupon pioneered the group-buying model through its deal-of-the-day business model.

The Future of What We Now Know as Directory Assistance

However, as this new technology emerges into the mainstream there remains issues with it that will keep many consumers using more traditional internet directories from their home computer. Popularity and search engine ranking among these more traditional sites are ways to determine which sites a business may want to be listed on. Also, many sites contain features that allow consumers to review and comment on a business and their products or services. These sites are highly recommended because the comments and interactive appeal leads to consumer confidence and credibility for said business.

Over the next year or two as consumers get more comfortable with new technologies in directory assistance and mobile internet devices, they will continue to utilize local listing and directory sites. Almost all forms of mainstream technology emerge during a period surrounded by a gray area of trust where consumers need to feel a certain level of safety using that particular technology but are at the same time very curious about its applications.

Tips For Businesses Developing a Directory Listing Strategy

For small businesses, it is recommended that during this transition, they use both platforms to reach out to current and potential customers. It is important to identify just what sites are most practical for one’s business and focus on those. There is no reason to get one’s business posted on every directory possible. Directory choosing should be a strategic decision for two main reasons. The first reason is that directory links are important to the overall Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strength of a businesses online presence. Secondly, placement choices should be considered by examining whether the majority of said business’ clientele tends to use their home PC, mobile device or both.

Whatever strategy is taken by a business to make sure online users find their business efficiently, it is important to first review each directory or listing site through a few basic criteria. Review the site and note things such as:

1) Is the directory so full of ads that one can barely find the directory itself?

2) Are there links for sale on the site?

If there is, Google does not care for them or want them in their neighborhood so it will not want one’s business’ name their either if listed on the site.

3) Are there a bunch of broken links on the site?

If a website is not maintained properly with links that work, it will not do one’s business very well to be listed on it. (The search engine “spider bots” get very agitated when approaching broken links and in the process they “look” elsewhere, ignoring even placing ones site all together.)

4) Just how does the directory rank in the search engines results?

For example, let’s say one is signing up at DANS DIRECTORY.COM and it is a directory for home builders in Canada. A good way to scrutinize the sites SEO ability is to type “home builders online directory Canada” in the search bar. Does DANS show up in the first page of results? The second page? If not, this indicates that it is not considered an authority site (the search engine Bing is the most notorious for this), and therefore, a link from it won’t do you a lot of good in your SEO.