A directory is a type of advertising medium which allows companies to advertise their products, services or websites. It is similar to the classified section of a newspaper, but instead of being printed on paper it exists online. Directories provide links to websites that are contained within their listings, and also sometimes provide information about the website or company.
Directories are catalogues of websites or companies, and are often organised in categories, for example by location or by type of product or service. There are many different types, such as online business directories, brand directories, industry directories, and paid and free directories.
The purpose of directories is to help people find organisations, products and services quickly and easily. They also provide a platform for companies and websites to promote their business. Directories are a valuable marketing tool and are used by businesses of all sizes to increase visibility and attract customers.
To make the most of directories, it is important to understand their purpose and how they work. Below is a comprehensive overview of directories and guidelines on how to use them and examples of best practice.
What is a Directory?
A directory is an online resource that is categorised into sections and contains links to websites or companies. It is a tool for businesses to advertise their services, products or websites and increase their visibility. People can use directories to easily find organisations, products or services. Directories are a highly valued source for business and can significantly increase website visits and sales.
Types of Directory
There are a number of types of directory available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Online Business Directories
These are directories that solely list businesses, products and services. Examples include Yellow Pages, Yelp and Thomson Local. Businesses can create their own business pages with contact information, a description of their services and their website links. This is a great way to get your business noticed and increase visibility.
Industry directories list businesses and services based on their sector. For example, automotive industry directories list companies that specialise in automobiles and related services such as sales, repairs, rentals and suppliers.
Brand directories list companies that have a brand as part of their name. Examples include the Coca-Cola Brand Directory and McDonald’s Brand Directory.
Free and Paid Directories
Some directories are free to list your business on, such as the Yellow Pages, while others require a fee or payment to list your business. Paid directories often provide more features and benefits for businesses, but this should be weighed up against the cost.
How to Use Directories
In order to get the most from directories, it is important to understand how to use them. Here are some of the main things to consider.
Check the Quality of the Directory
Check for the quality of the directory, for example if it has a lot of outdated links or incorrect information.
Read the Rules, Terms and Conditions
If you are listing your business with a paid directory, you should read the rules, terms and conditions to ensure that your listing follows the guidelines set out.
Choose Appropriate Categories
Choose the most appropriate categories and subcategories to list your company in, as this will give it the best chance of being seen.
Provide Accurate and Complete Information
Provide as much information as possible and make sure that it is accurate, including phone numbers, website links, opening times and contact details.
Optimise Your Listing
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Optimise your listing using keywords and phrases and use high quality visual material such as photos, videos and graphics.
Invite Customer Reviews
Invite customers to leave feedback and reviews on your business page to help build trust and credibility.
Link to Other Websites
Link to other websites if appropriate to help create a connection between your business and other businesses in the same sector.
Make Sure Your Listing is Up to Date
It’s important to make sure your listing is always up to date with the latest information and any changes in services or contact information.
Respond to Queries
Make sure that you respond to any queries or comments about your business page as promptly as possible.
Update and Refresh Your Listing
Make sure to update and refresh your listing regularly to make it more visible and to encourage more people to visit.
Measure The Performance
Once your directory listing is up and running you should regularly measure performance and make any changes or adjustments that are needed.
Best Practices for Directories
When listing your business with a directory there are certain best practices that you should follow.
Make sure your business page is as descriptive as possible and don’t just list generic information such as 'we provide our services'. Instead, explain what your services are and why customers should choose your business over your competitors.
Make sure that your listing stands out from the crowd by being creative and using innovative visual material.
Make sure that your listing looks professional by using good quality images and avoiding any spelling or grammar mistakes.
Make sure all the information is accurate and up to date. There’s nothing worse than potential customers looking you up and finding out your website link is broken or your contact details are wrong.
Make sure that you are consistent in how you present your business across different directories.
Make sure you respond to any queries or customer reviews in a professional and friendly manner.