The Ultimate List: Top 10 Business Directories for Entrepreneurs
April 26, 2021
Table of Contents
Are you looking for a business? Interested in a specific company or trade? Do you need a wide list of businesses, non-profit organizations, charities, and foreign companies that offer a service? In this article, you will find everything you need to know about business directories.
What is a business directory?
A business directory is an online or printed listing of businesses within particular niche-based categories. They can be categorized not only by niche but also by size, location, or activity. One way local businesses can get found online is by being on business directories such as online Yellow pages.
Many business directories are based on the internet by today’s standards and moved away from the physical format. They have a native search function that allows the user to search business by Zip Code, country, state, area, or city. Business directories guide users and help them in their search for companies, services, or products in an area in a more precise way.
Often a website or media listing of information, business directories list all business within a group. They are listed by the following criteria: business type, locality, activity, volume, size. It is an online version of the yellow page as mentioned above.
Details on Business directories may sometimes vary from one to another. Examples of information mentioned can be Business name, Addresses, Telephone numbers, Location, Contact Information, Type of service or products the business provides. But also the Number of employees, The served region, alphabetically by industry and any professional association.
Why do you need it?
A business directory helps any business. Here are some key things that a business directory will help your business with.
- Amplifies online presence; A business directory is a good way to boost your only presence aside from social media, Google, etc.
- improve local visibility; Potential clients who are located nearby will have a better time finding you.
- Boosts the likelihood of you being found on or offline; Especially for local businesses (more on that later)
- Improves business reputation; Thanks to for example a rating system that some directories offer, being more visible and being on a reliable business, the reputation of your business will go up.
- Increases brand awareness
- Boost your SEO; Search engine optimization. When being searched online through a search engine such as Google, you will be easier to find and figure on search results.
- Rank higher on google; More likely to figure on the higher pages of Google
- Cost-Effective; A wide variety of business directories are free and those who are not, are often very cost-effective for what you get.
- Marketing grow rapidly
- Good return on investment
- Low maintenance; A business directory will help you with updates, maintenance, etc. on their directory.
- It’s a professional; A lot of businesses rely on business directories and figure on them
- Affordable publicity
- Increase website traffic
- Directory Websites are Versatile
Let’s have a more in-depth look at the benefits of high-quality directory listings as well as some consequences that local businesses can face if they ignore a business directory for boosting their online presence.
Increasing your Visibility and Authority come hand in hand when figuring on a business directory. High-authority listings give you 2 big reasons to be on them:
- More likely to figure in search results, which in turn will improve the quality and quantity of your web traffic.
2. The credibility of your business will be a lot higher and will mean a lot more for potential customer, consumers and search engines alike.
Making the best out of a business directory include major benefits. The most obvious one is that search engines tend to give priority to business directories with detailed business listings, ones that have high standards and are well-organized in categories. Search engines are notoriously picky and prefer certainty. As such, Businesses that appear in directories get to be trusted and figure higher on rankings which attract more local customers to their website.
Search engines like companies they know and getting listed on relevant local directories or niche ones will result in them learning more about your business. Furthermore, it increases the odds of your business appearing in their search results. Choose your directory wisely because only the most specific listings are also more likely to help you target the right audience.
Cons of bad listings or no listings: What lack of data can do to search rankings
Directories, as mentioned, will help your business’ online presence. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that not submitting to a popular local and niche directory makes it hard for your business to be found online. Search engines like Google cannot understand your business if they don’t find you on reliable directories. If they cannot find you through mentions, it becomes more difficult for the search engines to recommend you to potential consumers. The reason for that is that your business will not turn up in search results.
What is worse than not being on listings is having incomplete or outdated information on the listings you figure. Customers and search engines alike make use of business directories to get the information they are looking for when searching for a business. That can be business hours, phone number, address, website, opportunities, etc.
Potential customers will easily give up visiting your website or even your physical location if the information they find about your business is incomplete. Limited information will thus result in reduced visibility on search results and is just overall bad for the business.
How bad data can damage your brand
The worse part of bad data is that, while it is confusing for search engines and potential customers, it can just literally damage your brand. Inconsistent logo, website link and address, phone number and low-quality listings to name a few can have all kinds of negative consequences on your business.
Needless to say, that wrong, outdated or incomplete data can have heavy consequences for your business if listed on a business directory. Credibility and reduce visibility are amongst the core problems. Search engines that are uncertain about a business, feel less confident in showing it to potential customers in search results.
Do not let bad data spread! A mistake would be to let outdated, incomplete and/or wrong data on a business directory and waiting until it gets spread. To not fall into that, avoid incorrect NAP from the start, update your information regularly and do not let wrong it unattended.
Who needs a business directory?
Why not turn to an online business directory as your marketing strategy? Especially for businesses whose purpose is solely online, SME’s and entrepreneurs, it can be just the right tool you need to boost your online presence and reach.
Opportunities are made for those who create them and know how to make use of them. A business directory is a great place to start for many reasons: to make meaningful connections that can be trusted, to find business partners with influence and reliable business opportunities. This, together with the fact that more people are susceptible to finding your business, will result in indirect profits for your business. For SME’s, online businesses and entrepreneurs, it is important to have this kind of presence as business directories also generate reviews, increase your engagement rates on social media, etc. This will only help when developing your business and making profit.
Do not limit business directories to just lead generators for companies and customers. Their true potential can be reached if used for marketing and as a formidable tool for expanding your business. These websites will only benefit you in defining your niche, expand your customer base and make you generate more income.
Advantages of local business directory
Business directories boost your business’s online presence. Especially for local businesses who can struggle to find customers. Also, when you are part of a directory, you can easily connect with businesses that are also part of it. Which can give you opportunities you would not have had access to otherwise. Business directories are a good way for local businesses to be found easily.
Boost Online Presence
A lot of directories nowadays draw from other, bigger directories to make up their own list. This is only beneficial to your business if you update your NAP information regularly. Or else this will prove bothersome and have a negative influence on your online presence.
Other than that, this phenomenon helps you figure in more business directories. For local businesses, this is ideal. Consider that local directories will have more impact nowadays, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local Vs Non-local directories
Implement the benefit of local SEO, to avoid competing for space in the search engine results with businesses on the other hand of the country that are larger than you. Local SEO can capture foreign consumers because of mobile searches. More than that, local consumers that are satisfied with your product or service are more likely to return and transform into life long customers.
Engagement & reputation
Local business directories carry the role of engaging with future customers. Developing a channel where they can engage easily with your business or reach your website.
Online directories are most of the time regarded as trusted sources for customers to find businesses on, like Google My Business. As an SME and entrepreneur, one of your main goals should be to build trust and reputation. The main concept behind this is that online directory sites provide an already established network.
Every time your business is seen, it improves the awareness of your brand in the customer’s eyes and increases your opportunities for having a business from them. Note that this is relevant for every for of businesses but especially for SME’s, online businesses and entrepreneurs starting a business. Brand awareness will make sure more and more customers are attracted to your business.
Local SEO and search engines
Local business directories are very useful and good reasons to utilize them is because they include another link to your website, usually, and they will aid you to boost the ranks on the search engine pages. Hand in hand with this, local directories help you boost search engine optimization. When people know how to find you, with for example building location, it helps them searching for similar businesses to yours in one geographic location. Which also helps SEO. High-quality links from directories to your website are heavily favored by search engines, social media links likewise. All of this improves SEO rankings.
Figuring on a directory is basically free business advertising. The value added by a business directory is not something to pass out for SME’s and entrepreneurs how to be as cost-effective as possible. Many online business directory sites for which listing your local business are free and only cost effort and maintenance.
Examples of business directories
Here a couple of popular directories that are a great place to start when tackling directories.
Google My Business
If talking business directories, we have to talk about Google My Business. As a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations, Google My business has a wide range seen as it is the most popular search engine in the world. It helps to manage businesses’ online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. Their goal is to help customers find your business. As an added value, Google My business tells them your story: you can verify your business, posts and let people leave reviews on your My business page.
Bing places, much as Google my business, is a free Bing service that gives the possibility to businesses to add their listings to Bing. Where Bing Places shines is for local, small and chain businesses. It shows the business listing in local search results, making it more visible to potential customers.
Blogarama is potentially a directory to not miss out on. This platform claims to be the “oldest blog directory”.So why is it here? Aside from blogs, Blogarama has been offering a business listing service. There are three plans and the business plan is around 10 euros a month.
Kompass is an online business directory that provides free information, updated on a regular basis. As a straightforward directory, they make sure the NAP details of your business are there and visible. Details of your products and services are also part of the information they want to provide. Kompass’ listing, which is free of charge and regularly updated, will help your business generate great results for your various marketing operations.
Open corporates is the largest open database of companies in the world. Open corporates makes high-quality, official company data available to all. They really rely on trust as they say that their data can be accessed, analysed and interrogated when it’s needed.
Yahoo is the third most popular search engine and much like Google and Bing, it offers a listing service.
Yell offers marketing programmes for businesses. It also has a wide range of businesses listed, especially UK businesses. Publishing yellow pages since 1966, Yell was originally as a portion of the General Post Office. As of April 2021, it has been operating in the online marketing space creating over 110,000 websites and managed around 90,000 PPC campaigns for customers in the United Kingdom.
AboutUs first started as a business domain directory, it now allows all sorts of different websites to be listed on it. This doesn’t undermine its usefulness as a business directory.
Best of the web or BOTW claiming to be “internet’s oldest business directory”, it has been around since 1994 as trusted directory for many businesses over years.
Yelp a very popular as a local business directory is good for SME’s and entrepreneurs alike. Yelp is very useful if you want your business to be found by potential customers.
CONNECTS, business and Chamber directory
Where does the business matchmaking platform CONNECTS fall into all of this? In this article, we uncovered what a business directory actually is. The CONNECTS platform not only is a business directory but also a Chamber directory.
For Chambers of Commerce, Chamber Directories follow the same base concept: an online or printed listing of Chambers of Commerce within particular niche-based categories. The major difference being that they are specifically for Chambers of Commerce.
Most commonly, they are separate but sometimes you can find websites that serve both as Chamber and business Directory. Chamber or Business directory websites can include features like: intercommunication between the participating businesses and Chambers, reviews for the customers to add, comments, and sometimes even feedback.
The CONNECTS platform offers these services as well as trusted opportunities, the possibility to make communities where you can choose who has access to it, and more.
Are you a business or a Chamber of commerce wanting to discover and develop new opportunities, both locally and internationally? Join our Business Matchmaking Platform and start your free trial.
Already a member of a participating chamber? Join our Business Matchmaking Platform for free.