This article was first published on December 18th, 2019, and was last updated in June 2022.
In the past, you could make it easy for people to find your company with an entry in a local phone directory such as Yellow Pages. These days, business listings have gone online. If you want to get noticed, it’s time for you to go digital too.
Establishing an online presence is a must in the age of the internet, but where do you start? Just because you have a website or business does not mean the business will automatically appear online. While general searches may help your business pop up through search listings, a little extra leg work can ensure your business comes up through multiple search options. If you’re a small business, you should look into listing your company in multiple online directories. In this article, we will discuss what online directories are, why they’re important, how to reach the right customers, and which listings and directories are best for your business.
Table of Contents
What is an Online Small Business Directory?
A small business directory gives you a place to list crucial business information such as the name of your company. A great business listing has your phone number, website link, address, and opening hours. The most important information that should always be consistent across all directories is your NAP. NAP (name, address, and phone number) consistency makes sure customers aren’t confused about how to get in touch with you. Make sure that you have this key information spelled and formatted identically on all sites, listings, and directories.
All listings should also contain a link directing back to your website. The linked pages should be relevant to the listing and help give more direction to customers looking for more information. Links should be regularly checked to make sure they’re active. You can also choose to include photos, videos, and a short paragraph describing what you do and who you are within your listings. By doing so, it could help attract more visitors in clicking on your business.
Why is a Small Business Directory Important?
Keeping your small business healthy means always attracting new customers. The more customers you have, the more profit you can make. In today’s digital world, business directories are a major way to reach customers online. Here are five benefits to listing your business online:
- Search Rankings
Having a Google Business Profile plays an important role in improving your search rankings. It can make it much easier for people to find you through local searches. For example, when someone types “best plumbers in Phoenix, AZ” into Google, the search engine looks at Google Business profile information when deciding what to show. If your business doesn’t have a profile, you’re missing out on opportunities to appear in search results.
- Website Traffic
If you want to attract the most customers, you need the help of online directories. Many business listings give you free advertising. They can help you reach countless potential customers, directing them to your company website. The more places you appear, the more people know your name.
- Builds Trust
Many people see businesses that appear on review sites as professional and reliable. With a high-quality profile filled with detailed information, it’s easier to trust you. Having a variety of online reviews from other customers and photos of past projects also add to your credibility. Whether you’re a doctor or a contractor, customers look at your reputation when deciding whether to call.
- First Impressions
In many cases, business listings are the first contact people have with your company. Online websites let you create an attractive profile that makes it clear why you’re the best. You can win over customers before they even reach your website.
- Contact Information
Sometimes people turn to business directories in search of company information. For example, customers may already know they want to hire you but can’t remember your phone number or address. It pays to make sure your website, phone number, and address always appear.
Listing your business in online directories is a smart investment. It can help you reach more people and increase your company’s local reputation. Even better, advertising your company with online directories puts you in contact with the right customers.
How To Reach the Right Customers With a Small Business Directory
These days, when someone is looking for a business, online directories are the place to turn. There are listings for dentists, lawn care experts, daycare companies, and many other professionals. Many of these people are typically searching to find the best local companies.
At first, these searchers probably don’t know the name of the company they want. What they do know is the problem they need help with. Many directories let people browse through categories such as plumbing or healthcare. As a small business owner, you want your company’s profile to show up in these category searches. After all, we’re talking about people who are ready to take action. They’re not surfing the internet aimlessly; they want to schedule an appointment with you or purchase a product. All you need to do is convince them that your company is the best choice.
For small businesses, reaching the right customers usually means focusing on local searches. It’s also smart to pick directories that your target audience actually visits. This requires knowing your customers and their shopping habits. It’s a good idea for plumbers and construction companies to appear in directories local to them or within their industry.
While you may naturally decide to join business directories for websites like Google, Yahoo, and Facebook, lesser-known directories can help give your business a boost in search results and customer reach. When you join a listings service, you can connect with some of the lesser-known directories and ensure no one misses your business listing.
17 Best Free Small Business Directories
Now that you have an idea of what an effective listing looks like, you need a directory that supports your efforts. To help you in your search, here is a list of recommended online websites and directories to consider for your online business listing:
1) Google Business Profile (GBP or GMB)
When it comes to web search, Google typically is king. If you only have time to start with a single business listing, make sure it’s with a Google Business Profile account. Google makes it easy to register your listing with Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business), which also gives you access to Google Maps. If you’re looking for local traffic, a listing on Google Maps can be invaluable.
Google Business Profile also provides invaluable data you can use to guide your online marketing approach. Over 90% of people worldwide rely on Google as their primary search engine. That means having a Google My Business account can win you countless new customers. Learn more about getting your GBP listed and verified to help your business appear more in local online listings.
greatinflux is one of the largest online resources dedicated to helping small businesses grow. Our mission is to empower small businesses to achieve their full potential and reach new customers by claiming their business online, implementing effective SCO, and building and strengthening their brand. This is why we offer an online directory that’s developed specifically for small businesses.
When you list with greatinflux, your company shows up in several places on the web, boosting your visibility. You also get invaluable search data to help you revise your SEO strategy and rank higher over time. For more than 20 years, greatinflux has championed the small business by not only helping customers find them but by helping businesses better connect with their customers.
Facebook Pages is a major player in social media and online listings. Having a listing page here provides several opportunities for direct interaction with customers, having access to two billion active users, and building brand development for your business. One of the best benefits is through Facebook’s share function, which allows you to reach a larger audience. These organic shares are also great for search rankings; due to Facebook Pages having a perfect domain ranting of 100.
With this FourSquare, you are able to discover businesses and customers are able to share what they love about them. Their goal is dedicated to improving how individuals move through the world. With nearly 2 million businesses already registered, there may be a chance that your customers may have already listed your business. With this in mind, you should claim or add your business to start taking control of your info.
5) Bing Places
Although not as well-known as Google, Bing is still a powerhouse search engine when it comes to online searches. Bing is the default search engine for Microsoft devices. It doesn’t have as many users as Google, but it still holds the second-largest market for web searches. Especially for Microsoft and PC users, Bing is the default search engine for Internet Explorer and Edge. If you want to show up when Bing users search the internet, you need a Bing Places account.
If you don’t already have a profile, Bing may still show your business based on demand. While that may seem helpful, it’s better if you have control over your information. Remember NAP consistency? Registering with Bing Places is free and taking control of your listing is always a good idea.
When people are looking for company reviews from other customers, they often visit Yelp. This popular, and yet sometimes controversial, site is the go-to directory for local businesses. It averages over 33 million unique app visitors every month. Yelp isn’t just about restaurants — though people looking for great food love the site — it also offers listings for home services, beauty, fitness, and health. Getting great Yelp reviews can provide many direct and indirect customer referrals. It also is ideal for businesses, as you can post photos, NAP information, hours of operation, and a brief description of your enterprise.
Angi, formerly known as Angie’s List, provides consumers with information on local professionals and a variety of different industries. On this site, customers share reviews and recommendations and it is also a great opportunity to show your customer service skills by addressing reviews. If you’re eager to bring in local traffic, Angi is a great choice to consider listing your business in.
8) Better Business Bureau (BBB)
The Better Business Bureau, also known as BBB, is a nonprofit organization that’s been around for over 100 years. Many people see the BBB as one of the most trusted indicators of business reputation. With an A or A+ Better Business Bureau rating, customers know they can trust you. The accreditation process takes a little work, but it can give you an advantage over cheaper competitors.
All companies registered with the BBB must adhere to its standards. Due to its long history and consumer-focused mission, many consumers trust the BBB. Having an affiliation with this organization can let customers know that you have high standards and deserve their trust.
9) Apple Maps
When local Apple users turn to Siri or Safari for searches, your Apple Maps account helps you connect with them. If your target customers use smartphones to search for business addresses, Apple Maps is essential. After all, over 100 million people in the United States use an Apple iPhone.
If you offer more one-on-one services, Thumbtack is an excellent place to list your business. Customers looking for plumbers, dog groomers, movers, and more can compare offers via this one-stop site. If you want a simpler way to find customers who need your expertise, Thumbtack is a great choice.
If you want to make more professional connections for your small business on social media, LinkedIn is the answer. This platform is a staple when it comes to networking, which makes a profile essential if you’re a B2B business. Since you can also post articles, it’s an excellent place to publish SEO content. Listing your business information here helps your business reach out to potential customers and connections.
12) Chamber of Commerce
Locally, the Chamber of Commerce can help you connect your business and find the resources you need online. The official online resource of the Chamber of Commerce offers business listings on both a national and local scale. Through the broad directory, you can help your business website reach the masses.
The local searches and direct connections to your local chamber will help you reach local customers, especially if you own a brick-and-mortar store. Along with the listing, you can find other local information including local taxes, business grants, and loan information.
HotFrog is a simple and straightforward business directory listing that is great for sole proprietors or small businesses. This online directory aims to build up business listings much like some of the major players including Bing Places and Google. When you sign up for HotFrog, you can pick a specific category for your business to ensure customers find what they’re looking for. Along with listings, HotFrog has a small business hub that includes resources for small businesses to grow.
CitySearch is a directory that lets customers find businesses in their area. With its “Best Of” articles and local guides, CitySearch is free and all about spotlighting local enterprises. Customers are able to post reviews on profiles and rate companies as well. It’s an excellent platform for connecting directly with customers and boosting your credibility.
Phone books may have gone the way of the dinosaurs, but the online alternative is still going strong. USdirectory lets consumers look for local enterprises, making it perfect for your business listing. They provide click-to-call options, live chat capabilities, like and follow links, and comprehensive contact information so customers can easily engage and communicate with your business.
16) Dun & Bradstreet
If you’re a business owner, you need to be familiar with Dun & Bradstreet, also called D&B. They have been a leading global provider of business decision data and analytics for almost 200 years. As a business credit bureau, D&B has a database of business credit files. When you register, you’re assigned a DUNS number, which you need for grants and other applications. Registering is also a good way to establish credibility with vendors and lenders. They also have a strong domain rating of 80.
If you’re looking to amp up your searchability, EZlocal is a great option. Listings on this site show up on Bing and Google, killing two birds with one stone. You can also add short descriptions in your listings to show all the benefits of doing business with your company. Even if you’re a small business, you can have a big presence on the internet. By taking advantage of these free directories, you can boost website traffic and grow your customer base.
How To Get Started With Small Business Directories
Getting started with business listings is relatively simple. It mostly involves selecting the right online directories and adding your company information. It takes time to list your business and keep info up-to-date, but the benefits are well worth the effort.
If you’re in need of assistance, look to greatinflux! At greatinflux, business owners can claim and customize their profile page to improve online visibility and marketability. Along with our free company listings, we do so much more. We offer a full digital suite, helping businesses to grow and gain more customers, sales, and revenue, no matter where they are along their digital journey. Learn more today about how you can grow your online business presence through our affordable small-business SEO services.