How to Use Relevant and Targeted Directories for Link Building

There’s no doubt that people get most of their information online these days.

But did you know that people are also looking for local businesses just as much as they are looking for answers to their problems?

A BrightLocal consumer survey found that 99% of consumers used the Internet to research a local business in the past year.

78% are looking for local businesses at least once a week or more.

Screenshot from BrightLocal, September 2022

What does that tell you?

The Internet is the telephone directory of the 21st century. Remember that big, book-thick doorstop that housed all the numbers and addresses in your area?

And if you’re not in the phone book, you won’t be found.

It goes without saying:

You want your business to be found online.

This means you need to get your details from an online directory – the Internet equivalent of the telephone book.

Even if you’re not an SEO expert, or if link building isn’t in your wheelhouse, don’t worry…

There is a internet directory for that.

3 benefits of using online directories

Online directories – also known as business directories or business listings – are an easy way for businesses to build links and drive traffic to their site.

Here are three benefits of using an online directory:

1. Targeted and relevant reach

Directories typically index businesses by niche, location, or category and often include reviews.

When someone uses an online directory, they want to locate a business that matches their needs – what they are looking for at that exact moment.

A directory makes it very easy for consumers to cut through the (marketing) noise.

By listing your business in a directory, you increase your site’s visibility, which also increases the chances of a sale.

Targeted and relevant reach sampleScreenshot from, September 2022

2. Bonds of Trust

Improving your site’s SEO and rankings is a good by-product of listing your business in an online directory.

If you are listed in a popular directory that many users trust when looking for businesses, and your SEO is relevant to user needs, directories can benefit your SEO.

This can mean improved visibility and range. You might even see indirect benefits that help your SEO and site rankings.

Online directories are reliable sources and are usually high ranking sites themselves.Screenshot from, September 2022
Online directories are reliable sources and are usually high ranking sites themselves.Screenshot of Bing search, September 2022

3. Profitability

Many online directories – for example, Bing Places, Yelpand Foursquare – allow companies to submit their information to their index free of charge. Some online directories, on the other hand, charge listing fees.

It may be useful to add your business information to a paid directory. But be careful.

Paying for links is cons Google guidelinesso don’t pay for ads if you are looking for dofollow links.

Even if a paid listing provides a dofollow link, chances are you’re wasting your money.

It may be useful to add your business information to a paid directoryScreenshot from, September 2022

3 Ways to Find the Right Directory for Your Business

There are many types of directories online. For example, you can find general directories, business listings, local listings, and niche directories.

Choosing the directory – or directories – you want to be listed on is not like throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks.

As with all other marketing tactics, you need to have a web directory link building strategy.

Here are some things to consider when developing your strategy:

1. Relevance

Relevance – and reaching your target audience – is key to getting the most out of an online directory. Relevance is also a factor that search engines consider when crawling sites.

Are you a travel agency in Texas that specializes in road trips within the continental United States?

Second, don’t add your business to a directory of international travel sites.

It’s irrelevant, you won’t reach your target audience, and even if someone clicks on your link, they’ll only be frustrated that you don’t offer international travel services.

If you’re not an international travel business, you don’t want search engines to associate your website with international travel. And yes it can hurt SEO!

Choose a directory relevant to your niche, and the chances of reaching your target audience and boosting your SEO will be much higher.

2. Domain Authority

When deciding between online directories, consider domain authority.

It may be more useful to get an inbound link from a site with high domain authority (but not always – read more in The Truth About Domain Authority: What Every SEO Should Understand).

You can check if you are listing your business in a reputable, well-established directory by checking the authority using a tool like Ahrefs, Semrush, or Moz. They all have slightly different scores and scoring methods.

It is essential to remember that all “authority” metrics are third-party. Google doesn’t have any kind of official authority metrics for domains. High authority signals usually mean that the tool you are using considers the domain to be displaying all the right “good” signals. This does not necessarily mean that the domain holds better SEO value for you than others.

The DA score for a directory of bakeriesScreenshot from Semrush, September 2022

3. The right features

Some online directories are more detailed than others, and it’s up to you whether you want a simple SIESTA+W list (name, address, phone, and web URL) or a list with photos, reviews, and ratings.

In the interest of reaching your target audience, taking advantage of directories with more features will be worth the extra effort.

Listing your business in a directory with additional features will encourage your customers to provide reviews and ratings as well, which is useful for boost site authority and SEO.

Make the Most of Online Directories: Stay Consistent

If you take advantage of several business directories, stay consistent with your information and updates on all your listings.

Make sure every piece of your information, down to the smallest detail, is accurate, on-brand, and up-to-date.

Consistency is needed across your entire web presence, including your directory listings, if you want to boost your SEO and build your authority.

Your reputation will be Be impacted if people searching for a business like yours encounter errors and inconsistencies in seemingly minute details like your hours of operation, website URL, or email address.

At the end of the line: Don’t turn people away before they’ve had a chance to interact with your brand or visit your physical store.

If you do it right, listing your business on a relevant online directory is one of the best ways to build high-quality links to your site, build your presence, and bring more customers to your virtual and real doors. .

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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