Discussion in 'Business Discussions' started by khalid, Jan 4, 2013.
Fellow entrepreneurs, has local search results killed the business directory?
Having done a few (some over 12 years both specific geo targeted and national ones I’d say in general “G” local pretty much killed straight pay and display revenue... Possibly a few niche’s still out there (business that have been slow to catch on to the benefits of the net etc ) You’ll need to be far more creative with getting in revenue streams, e.g using the directory member numbers (if there high enough) for discounts, offers, selling info etc. Overall the general time, effort needed to keep them high enough in serps, constant updates, new fresh relevant content through in keeping "g" happy there are easier less time consuming more profitable ways out there. For start up or non established ones doubly so... good luck if its a route your going down
In general I don't think it's a good business model anymore. Google will continue to marginalise the natural results, I think it's only a matter of time till we see a paid inclusion programme on google local. At which point they'll be further incentivised to take over more of the serps.
The other problem is the large multi vertical directories like yelp, qype have the advantage of getting a lot of their links/social signals from the verticals that are well suited to this like restaurants and they can take advantage of this in the verticals where it would be much harder to gain links like plumbing.
Having said that, you might be able to find niches which still provide opportunity. Additionally if you can find a way to monetise the traffic at a much higher level than you'll get through products like adsense e.g. lead gen, using it as a sales funnel for other higher value services like local seo then you've still got an angle.
I think directories will continue to work in niche areas. Obviously google places is not helping, but the way that SEO may go with co-citation, seo agencies will still want to list their clients websites as many places as possible and what better than a targeted niche directory for their business.
This is just my opinion
Google said that as they are becoming a 'knowledge engine' rather than a search engine anything that needs a specific piece of factual information e.g weather forecast, currency conversion, addresses, phones numbers etc that they are going to try and provide those without the user having to click through. For them to send you traffic/appear in serps you need to provide insight/opinion etc, something additional to the barebones facts.
If it was a niche business directory with interviews with the business owners and reviews etc then I could see it getting traffic from various sources, if it's just hard, factual data then it wouldn't be something I would be keen on starting.
Local directory presence is still useful when it comes to building partnerships. I doubt any clients might come from directories, but you might find (or someone else find you) interesting websites that you can collaborate with
To a certain extent but I've seen sites rank recently for extremely competitive keywords almost exclusively directory links. For SEO purposes, higher quality, generally paid directories, still seem to hold some impressive weight.
Search engines often pull reviews and data from business directories, so it certainly has some benefit to be listed in well optimised directories.
Search G for:
Ron Greig Cavey estate agent (uses directory listings ahead of website)
Wallpaper shops in Hartlepool (pulls reviews into search results)
Not that I'm biased!
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