How online business directories can boost your SEO and help you grow

About 60% of small businesses (made up of one to five people) don’t have websites, according to a recent survey.

That leaves a lot of businesses relying on word-of-mouth to get their name out, though many may have a presence on online platforms like Yelp.

The Redshift Research survey, commissioned by GoDaddy, showed that the percentages were approximately the same for the UK and the aggregate of businesses surveyed globally, in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, Turkey, and the US.

“While we take for granted that everyone is online, the reality is that for many small businesses it’s simply not true,” said Blake Irving, CEO of GoDaddy, Inc. said in a press release.

Building an online presence has created quite a buzz on the Internet for the past 15 years. Having good search engine optimisation (SEO) is said to be one of the pillars of a quality website. However, a lot about SEO has changed over the years.

For example, in the past, the use of keywords was taken to be the only way to improve SEO, but now, “this will not work” according to Search Engine Watch. Search engines, such as Google, have made their guidelines stricter in terms of what is expected from websites.

The relationship between SEO and online directories

A web directory is a website that has lists of websites grouped into different categories where users can search and navigate through these websites. These categories are further divided into smaller categories that provide users with an accurate categorisation by topic or region.

It seems that search engines still use some web directories to find information relevant to the queries users have, according to Search Engine Journal’s columnist Tom Forrest: “Good directories have editorial teams that review submissions and edit listings, titles and descriptions. Directories that accept any and all links will not be valuable.

In the past, just getting listed on a web directory was enough to boost your search rankings.

However, this tactic could warrant a penalty if business owners were not careful. Getting listed on Google-compliant, notable web directories, however, is another story.

The SEO boost from notable web directories

Most website owners are usually worried that being listed in web directories is a bad idea. However, this is not true. Being included in a few high quality web directories guarantees a SEO boost and broader online visibility.

For example, Jasmine Directory was founded in 2009 and is known for applying a high editorial discretion (not accepting  spammy or untrustworthy resources) when featuring resources and businesses.

The directory was rated and awarded eight times between 2013 and 2014 by Ken Anderson – a former and ZEAL editor – in his Web Directory Reviews online reviewing platform, being included each time in the Top Ten Directories list.

During the last decade, Google adjusted its algorithm and more than 95% of web directories were de-indexed. Even these days Google rules out many of the links coming and pointing to low quality resources. In a video about web directories, Matt Cutts, former Google employee, highlighted that a high editorial discretion from directories is necessary to prove their value. Thus, Jasmine Directory is useful for SEO and for local Google search results. Based on its structure and high editorial discretion, the directory is a Google compliant one.

You’ll need to pay a ‘suggestion fee’, but that’s common practice and keeps spammers away (Yahoo! Directory used to charge $299/year before its closure in 2014). The headquarters of this specific directory is in Valley Cottage, New York.