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Top Web Directories for Your Small Business – To Be More Findable

Top Web Directories for Your Small Business – To Be More Findable

You’ll get a big boost for your business’s visibility if you are listed in a few key places on the web. You don’t even need a website yet. You can get found now.

I know, there are zillions of options for online business listings, with a wide range of prices. Many good ones are free but which ones are worth your time?

Here’s my cheat sheet for you, based on my years of real-life experience with many types of local businesses.

I’m giving you the ones that are known for making a difference for local businesses, for one or both of these reasons:

  • Helping your website’s search engine rank (because getting more links to your website is golden for boosting your ranks).
  • Sending direct referrals to you.

If you don’t yet have a website, I recommend getting a free LinkedIn profile and link all your online listings to that profile if/while you don’t have a website to include. For clarity, I do think it’s helpful for businesses to have a good website, at some point, but don’t let the lack of a website stop you from attracting new business now.

First, Get Listed in the Top Places

This checklist of tasks is listed in priority order. Even doing just the first two is great:

  1. First and foremost, get in Google’s free local business directory. Back up the bus and do it right now. If you do nothing else, do this. I get multiple inquiries every month as a result of my Google business listing. (You have to make it a good listing to get results, so be sure to see the tips below to optimize your listing.)
  2. Now do a search in Google for the most likely thing people would search for when needing your type of business. For example, if you are a summer camp owner, search “summer camps.” Then look for the first camp directory in the top 10 Google results. That directory is worth paying money to get listed in. In most cases, if you get one new client (and you probably will), it will pay for itself.
  3. Find a top trade-specific directory or two to join. For example, I’ve known health professionals who have boosted their Google ranks, and gained new clients, after getting listed in either The Health Professionals Directory or Psychology Today Directory. (You can usually find the right place to be by doing step 2 above.)

Feeling Serious About Getting More Listings?

If you’re all set on the priority items above, here are some more options for those who want to cover more bases…

  1. Get listed in a few of these other popular and free local business directories. Some directories are more popular in certain areas. For instance, Yelp is more popular in big cities.
  2. Find and join the most popular local trade organization if it includes a link on their website. For instance, as a coach, I joined the Western Mass Coaches Alliance and have gotten multiple good referrals from that web listing, for a small annual fee to be listed.
  3. If you have a blog for your business, you can submit your blog to these top blog directories.

Second, Optimize Your Listings with Ratings and Reviews

One of the main reasons some businesses show up higher in the free listings is because they have more positive ratings and reviews.

It’s OK to ask your past and present clients to review you in there. They are often happy to help. You can’t edit their reviews so it’s all legit.

There are other ways to optimize your listings, such as using good keywords in your business description, and adding images. Feel free to leave questions in the comments box below.

See also: Optimizing Your Social Media Profiles To Get Found

What If I Get a Bad Review?

Some people ask whether to worry about getting bad reviews in these directories where anyone can leave a review. Focus on providing great service. You’ll be fine if that’s your focus.

If someone reviews your business unfairly, you can report it to the directory publisher and they will listen. If it is a fair review, then respond to the person and make it right.

Consumers rule in today’s social media world, and that’s a good thing because good service wins! Embrace it. Work with the tide not against it.

More details: Should You Worry About Online Reviews?

Picture of Val Nelson

Val Nelson

I’ve been a self-employed career/business/purpose coach since 2009. I help introverts and HSPs (like me) who want to make a difference — in a way that fits our practical needs too.
Val Nelson | Coaching | Groups | Courses | Newsletter | LinkedIn

I appreciate feedback, good and bad. You can comment below or email.

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12 thoughts on “Top Web Directories for Your Small Business – To Be More Findable”

  1. It seems odd that RelyLocal didn’t make the list of local directories for local businesses. I know they are still pretty new, but they are pretty popular in some communities – especially for locally owned businesses (since they only feature local companies). Most all of the others are completely filled/dominated by national companies and/or chains. (Yes, the local businesses are there as well, but they can’t afford to compete with the big ads that the big boys have, etc…) Just a thought.

    Though, Yelp has been great – I too love the iPhone app. (Though, the only problem, as with RelyLocal, they aren’t in every city yet…)

    1. Hi Judith, by all means, tweet it, facebook it, re-post it on your own blog, whatever works for you. Thanks!

      There's a little “Share/Save” widget just below the post (above comments) that makes social sharing and emailing easy to do.

  2. Great post. A lot of businesses spend time, money and effort on developing the website and little time thinking about how to promote it. This article provides great advice on getting found on the web. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Eric. You’re right that people put far more effort into creating the site and don’t realize what’s involved in getting the site found. If local businesses follow these steps, they will be way ahead of the game.

  3. Krisann Robles

    There is a brand new one specifically for local businesses called RelyLocal.com. Please check it out and consider adding if you update or revise your list. :o)

    Krisann Robles
    RelyLocal-Roswell, NM

    1. Hi Krisann, Thanks for telling me about your directory. However, only the ones with proven track records are on my official list. It may take a while before a new one rises to that level. Best wishes.

  4. Thanks for a great post. This will be very helpful to me as I am just beginning to work w/small businesses, and would really like to focus their resources where they can get the best efficiency.

  5. Val, this is a great list that I think many people can benefit from. I know it was a while in the making. Kudos to you!

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