Business directories have become such an important part of our society that we simply cannot do without them anymore. Let’s think about it, whenever most people search for something today they do a Google search. When it is a certain type of product or business they are looking for, it is not surprising that the majority of the top listings in Google are for business directories. Why is that?
Well, Google knows the importance of business directories for people looking for products or services and Google has always tried to list the most relevant search results first. That just shows that Google also deems business directories to be very important. That is all well and good, but what makes a good online business directory? This article will investigate a few essentials of a good business directory.
Firstly it must have a simple, uncomplicated layout for users. It is one thing to have your business directory listed highly in Google, but when people open it up and it is all cluttered and no one understands how to use it, they will simply click away in a few seconds, making such business directories worthless to end users.
Instead, the home page of the business directory and in fact every page of the directory should have search functionality so that the user can search for what they are looking for from any point. The home page should also clearly direct the user as to how to use the site. Too many business directories simply have listings and heaven forbid AdSense ads on their home pages, which merely makes people click away.
Secondly, it is important to cover most topics or industries, offering your customer as wide a selection as possible, unless you are a niche directory.
Thirdly, it is very important to only have reputable, high quality businesses listed in your directory. By this I don’t mean that you should only list big businesses like Best Buy or Target, but that no matter how small the business is you are listing, they should have a good reputation for customer service. If you don’t pay attention to this detail and people receive bad service from the business listed in your directory, it will not be long before they stop using your service and write it off as one with bad quality leads. I cannot emphasize this part enough, so pay attention to it!
A good way to ensure that you only list reputable companies is through the use of frequent surveys. It is very easy to set up a quick survey and send it to a selection of users of your directory, enquiring about their experience with the business listed. The cream will soon rise to the top and you will have the opportunity to get rid of the bad apples.
Fourthly make sure there is something in it for the businesses listing as well. The problem with most business directories is that some businesses in some categories get all the hits, while other that are just as good or even better get none.
The reason for this is that most business directories make use of a structure where businesses are first listed by category, then by geographical area and then by name. So, if you have ten barber shops in Springdale listed in your business directory and they are listed by name A.J.’s Barber will get most of the hits, because they are top of the list. Poor old Zee’s Barber shop will always end up number ten on the list with a much smaller chance of being contacted than A.J.
Therefore, if you are really going to look after the businesses in your directory, you need to consider how you will handle this problem. If you don’t, pretty soon only A.J.’s Barber will be listing with you, because the others simply got no value out of their listings with you.
Finally, make sure that your listings have the opportunity of regularly updating their details. A phone number might change or the business could suddenly invest in a website. Be sure to give your listings the opportunity to quickly and easily update their details with you, if not online, then by being readily available by phone to take calls for updating details.