consultant

Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Messages
111
Reaction score
21
Re: Are the "second tier" local directories significant? Where's the traffic data?

Come to my State of Search preso and I will show you tons...

So Dan, are you eluding to that the second tier directories matter and if so in what way, organic SEO or direct traffic? The question of this thread isn't about the value of Local SEO in general which I would suspect your presentation mainly centered on. We are examining a more detailed sub-topic regarding how much these obscure directories really matter in direct traffic or organic search rankings. Since the organic ranking algo is not published it's very hard to provide anything but empirical guesswork on that and that's really not the focus here.

I think in general common sense says the second tier obscure directories (a) don't bring any significant direct traffic and (b) are probably mostly ignored by the search engines in their ranking algo since these sites are a "dime a dozen" so to speak.

Do you have data that contradicts this post in this thread which states actual data?

http://www.localsearchforum.com/loc...ignificant-wheres-traffic-data.html#post71675


Based on 43,905 sessions from the past 12 months, I can only find 7 referrals from any of for the "second tier" sites above, that's about it. 7. No Hot Frog, no Merchant Circle, No white pages, nothing... They all came from yellowpages.com.


---------- Post Merged at 11:12 AM ---------- Previous Post was at 11:05 AM ----------

As much as of a pain that working on them can be, I agree with what people have said about them making an impact in rankings. Specifically I've done work with seeing success in some keywords when the anchor text link on a site link Merchant Circle was the one I was trying to rank for.

Problem with this is that there are SO many different factors in Google or Bing's search algo, it's virtually impossible to confidently say this or that makes this difference. It's all guesswork. It's really only the large SEO companies that can implement different specific strategies across hundreds or thousands of client's SEO accounts and then look for patterns in the results across all accounts that have the best chance of verifying if something actually makes a difference or not. Otherwise it could be pure coincidence of timing.
 

DanLeibson

LocalU Faculty
Joined
May 17, 2013
Messages
229
Reaction score
142
There are numerous people in this thread that have made statements that align with my own on why 2nd tier directories matter. Dealing with lots of multi-location national brands has given us real data into what the direct impact is of certain tactics and Google My Business & local organic rankings, so I do have at least a semi-informed opinion on how their algos work (as do many other who have commented in this thread). Value does not just mean referral traffic, and if that is how you are measuring the success of things, you are missing out on valuable tactics.
 

whitespark

1
LocalU Faculty
Joined
Aug 9, 2012
Messages
458
Reaction score
559
Re: Are the "second tier" local directories significant? Where's the traffic data?

If you're looking for absolutely conclusive evidence that these second tier directories improve local organic and/or local pack rankings, you'll never get it.

As you noted, there are too many moving parts in the algorithm. We might see rankings go up, but was it the citation building? Was it the reviews? Was it that link from whitehouse.gov (hint, it was probably this? ;-)

The vast majority of SEO work comes down to trial and error. We do things. We measure performance. We tweak and adjust. After years and years of experience doing those things, we start to form an understanding of which activities have a positive impact on search results. My years of experience tell me that these second tier sites are important and they definitely have an impact. It's a pretty easy task to check off your to do list, so why wouldn't you submit?
 

DanLeibson

LocalU Faculty
Joined
May 17, 2013
Messages
229
Reaction score
142
I think it is pretty easy to test Darren, that is the benefit of doing something all at once across say 1.3k locations and then measuring the results ;) I mean it's not Truth in the way that nothing is Truth but it's pretty directionally sound.
 

whitespark

1
LocalU Faculty
Joined
Aug 9, 2012
Messages
458
Reaction score
559
I'm really looking forward to your presentation. As you noted, it's not the Truth with a capital T, but I'm willing to bet that your test data will be quite conclusive. I'm just getting the impression that the original poster is looking for capital T truth, and as we know, that's just not possible in SEO unless Google makes an official statement of some kind... and event then... :)
 

heckler

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
282
Reaction score
78
I'm really looking forward to your presentation. As you noted, it's not the Truth with a capital T, but I'm willing to bet that your test data will be quite conclusive. I'm just getting the impression that the original poster is looking for capital T truth, and as we know, that's just not possible in SEO unless Google makes an official statement of some kind... and event then... :)

Yep. SEO isn't place you should be if you can't handle ambiguity.

Also I'd like to drop this quote from Eric Schmidt (Google Software Engineer / Executive Chairman):
"Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool."

If you're branding right, you'll be every place you can be found (and you'll be consistent).
 

Scott Barnett

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
63
Reaction score
15
Dan,

Do you think that your work with national brands translates to a single location business? I can absolutely see the benefit of a national brand getting exposure on as many sites as possible, since they want/need exposure much more broadly than a true hyperlocal business. It seems to me that Phil's blog post about ways to build up local citations in your area is a much better use of time if you're truly hyperlocal than 2nd tier directories.

Also, appreciate your analogy, but to me, saying "it doesn't cost much so what's the harm" is the same as somebody that pays $20/mo. for a gym membership but never goes. You are still paying every month to maintain those 2nd tier listings, so why not do Google and the 1st tier folks first.... measure those results... and then go after 2nd tier listings if you think you need a boost?

In any case, that test would be worth seeing results on if anybody has done it (or is considering it).
 

DanLeibson

LocalU Faculty
Joined
May 17, 2013
Messages
229
Reaction score
142
Dan,

Do you think that your work with national brands translates to a single location business? I can absolutely see the benefit of a national brand getting exposure on as many sites as possible, since they want/need exposure much more broadly than a true hyperlocal business. It seems to me that Phil's blog post about ways to build up local citations in your area is a much better use of time if you're truly hyperlocal than 2nd tier directories.

Also, appreciate your analogy, but to me, saying "it doesn't cost much so what's the harm" is the same as somebody that pays $20/mo. for a gym membership but never goes. You are still paying every month to maintain those 2nd tier listings, so why not do Google and the 1st tier folks first.... measure those results... and then go after 2nd tier listings if you think you need a boost?

In any case, that test would be worth seeing results on if anybody has done it (or is considering it).

The effect that citations/links have on search rankings of course applies to single location businesses, it's just easier to identify through tests with large brands. This is also true with traditional SEO tactics which are easier to test/identify with big sites that have millions of monthly visitors. I just don't think the statement that links/citations from "2nd tier" sites impact your local/local organic Google rankings is particularly debatable, what is debatable is the amount and whether it's worth the investment. Like most things this depends on context and the specific case. A lot of this has to do with spend and how your SEO business is run/what your clients are. Even when we take on SMBs we do not provide SEO services for a couple hundred dollars a month (and neither does WhiteSpark), which likely informs both of our opinions.

The analogy was Darren :)
 

CodyBaird

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2013
Messages
341
Reaction score
126
I am going to State of Search now just to see Dan's presentation. I'm taking roses and rotten fruit to throw accordingly. ; )

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 

whitespark

1
LocalU Faculty
Joined
Aug 9, 2012
Messages
458
Reaction score
559
I said "It's a pretty easy task to check off your to do list, so why wouldn't you submit?" and I don't think you can compare this to a gym membership for $20/m. These listings can be had for free, and they're a one time investment of your time (or money, if you hire someone else to do it). That one-time investment is definitely worth it, in my opinion.
 

consultant

Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Messages
111
Reaction score
21
Basically my conclusion is:

(a) it can't hurt, but...
(b) everyone has limited resources (time and money)

So the question really is, in the context of your overall time and budget, is it worth putting any effort at all getting listed on knowonelookshere.com

All opinions are biased and if you are in the business of providing Local SEO services, then obviously you would want everyone to believe these obscure directories are going to have a "real" impact on your visibility.

But if you have the time to worry about it and take action so you can sleep at night knowing you have plastered your citations everywhere you can find, then go right ahead.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,949
Reaction score
579
To answer your initial question, most of us (myself included) do not expect second tier local search directories to provide any direct customer value. The only one one that would besides the niche based LSD's mentioned is Yelp.

To answer you second question, no, there is no hard evidence. Just traffic data we've seen individually with clients and the fact that no client I have ever had (and I'm sure the others have similar stories) has ever mentioned getting a client from these other directories.

Their value apart from Local SEO is nil.

Hope that helps.

Also, great local pro insight here in this thread as always.
 

whitespark

1
LocalU Faculty
Joined
Aug 9, 2012
Messages
458
Reaction score
559
Consultant, I think you need to look at it like this:

Does anyone look at knowonelookshere.com? No.

Does anyone look on Google for businesses? Definitely!

Does a listing on knowonelookshere.com (and 50 other sites) help you rank better in Google? Absolutely.

Should I get listed on knowonelookshere.com? Without question.

The time and money you refer to are so minimal that this is a no-brainer. It doesn't take much time or much money to get these squared away, so not doing it seems like a huge missed opportunity.
 

CodyBaird

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2013
Messages
341
Reaction score
126
Re: Are the "second tier" local directories significant? Where's the traffic data?

I guess I could say that @Darren has SOME experience with citations. SOME may consider @Whitespark an authority on the matter. [emoji23]

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 

consultant

Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Messages
111
Reaction score
21
Their value apart from Local SEO is nil.

I think this is an easy conclusion to draw but then the real question becomes, if there is Local SEO benefit, how can you prove that it's significant? For Local SEO and SEO in general, there's a list of priorities with the things that provide the most benefit for the time/money invested at the top. As we go down the list we run into the law of diminishing returns.

It doesn't take a big leap of faith to say second tier directory listings help Local SEO because it would be hard to argue that they don't have any effect at all. But logic dictates that Google is smart enough to discount these second tier directories for what they are, obscure directories that hardly anyone uses. So I would argue the SEO benefit of these second tier directories is negligible.

So to me, saying that they "matter" without any data to prove how much they matter could be just the psychology of someone wanting to justify a higher amount of work they are charging for Local SEO. In my mind, the 80/20 rule can come into play in this scenario where 20% of the work (getting listed on the major directories) gives 80% of the benefit and the remainig 80% of the work (checking every little knook and cranny for citiations) at best gives you 20% more benefit. Just a theory but it comes up in many places in life and business.

Maybe the money for the additional 80% of the work is better spent elsewhere that has higher ROI for your business?
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,825
Solutions
8
Reaction score
1,383
Re: Are the "second tier" local directories significant?

@Consultant

Darren and I get along better than cops and donuts, and agree on most matters in local SEO and more, but here I agree with you. In my experience the value of those little-dog general directories is small to nonexistent. In the past I've had clients where we've done nothing but citations until we're blue in the face. We did not see any clear benefit from that work.

Does that mean there is no benefit? No. But to me it also means skipping those directories probably isn't a missed opportunity, and certainly isn't a "huge missed opportunity."

If you've got some respectable links and reviews and are generally solid on all the basics of local SEO, then sure, there's no harm in getting some of those little citations. But if it takes up any time you've got to ask: "Is there something I can work on that I know has payoff?"
 

Scott Barnett

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
63
Reaction score
15
I will second your (and Phil's) conclusion. We don't have hard data (yet), but we are urging businesses to focus on the "top 10", test the results, and if they think they need more directory lovin' to try the next set of citations. It's hard to believe they make much of a difference, and there are much higher priority items they should be focused on.

I'll go a step further and claim that it's even harder to VERIFY that the changes you are making to the Top 50 (or whatever) are actually sticking. Nobody can do this today.

This is with all due respect to Darren - those guys are super smart and do great work in this space. But I do not agree with his conclusion here - just because it doesn't hurt doesn't mean you should do it. I will claim that a business that focuses on getting consistent and relevant reviews/feedback on a *single* authoritative directory will be doing much more benefit for themselves than getting listed on *all* these directories. And that's something they can/should be doing consistently - every day. A much better use of their time.
 

CodyBaird

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2013
Messages
341
Reaction score
126
Good discussion here. We had a similar discussion in the Local Search Pros Community this week when Austin Lund mention Mojopages rebrand to Localstack. He also asked how much value that citation had as well as which core citations really matter. @phil Rozek response:

Hey +Austin Lund, here's the "core" list of 25 I tend to use for clients:

AngiesList.com
Apple Maps
Bing Places
Brownbook.net
CitySearch.com
CitySquares.com
Cylex-USA.com
ExpressUpdate.com
EZLocal.com
Facebook
Factual.com
FourSquare.com
Hotfrog.com
Kudzu.com
LocalEze.com
Manta.com
MerchantCircle.com
MyBusinessListingManager.com
ShowMeLocal.com
SuperPages.com
Yasabe.com
YellowBook.com
YellowBot.com
YellowPages.com
Yelp.com

Please note that there are a few one-horse directories on there (e.g. HotFrog). ?But those are there because:

(1) they're not a hassle to deal with

(2) they offer some unusual little benefit (like that Brownbook sometimes provides a "follow" link), and

(3) I'm a creature of habit and haven't completely taken a cleaver to my longer citations list of yore.

Of course, you'll also want to get listed on a few industry-specific sites that seem to matter in your industry. ?Avvo, or HealthGrades, or Houzz, or TripAdvisor, and so on.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 

CodyBaird

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2013
Messages
341
Reaction score
126
I added:

+Phil Rozek​​ Nice List.

I would add Dun & Bradstreet though I believe Manta feeds D&B. ?

I would add BBB.

I would add whois with an exclamation mark.? You will need access to the registrar to update whois info.

I would add exclamation mark to high authority vertical citations. ??

I would add local chambers, local papers and other local authority sites with?exclamation mark.

I would add technical seo items like canonical issues, speed issues like minify html, java, css, eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content, browser caching,

I would markup more than just NAP on website.?

And 346 other items before mojopages, wait localstack.

Wink

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
P Is it possible to create a second GMB page for a new business based at same address and landline? Multi-Location Issues 1
Noelle Leahy When to add a new location to the existing website and when to start a second website Google Local 101 7
annatindal GMB Setup - New Business, Second Service-Area Business for Owner Google My Business & Google Maps 14
W Thinking about opening second branch Multi-Location Issues 11
iwebresults Create second location to qualify for LSA Paid Search and Local Service Ads 4
L Second Google listing being created from phone number Help & Support for Google Local 5
Noelle Leahy When a second clinic opens in the same city Multi-Location Issues 5
C Second go at SEO Introduce Yourself - We're Friendly 3
J Second location cause 1st location to disappear temporarily Google My Business & Google Maps 4
5 SEO in second language Google My Business & Google Maps 8
M Second Location Help Google My Business & Google Maps 6
djbaxter Convert Existing HTML Site Design To A WordPress Theme In 10 Seconds Websites, Software, and Security 5
djbaxter Google Will Slow Crawling When Page Load Is Two-Seconds Or Longer Organic SEO 2
J I enter suite in the second line, Google changes to # in the first line NAP, Categories, Dashboard Data 16
J I enter suite in the second line, Google changes to # in the first line NAP, Categories, Dashboard Data 16
Colan Nielsen Second E-mail Address? Forum Tech Support 4
M Google Local Services Ads - Lack of Leads Paid Search and Local Service Ads 9
rustybrick Google Local ranking update? Google Algorithm Discussions 6
Matt Chauhan Serious Problem With A Dentist's Local Rankings. NAP, Categories, Dashboard Data 1
S Local Services Ads - Fake Reviews Local Reviews 1
chrism Local Competitor Keyword Stuffing/Similar Words In GMB Spam on Google 2
buzzrank Home inspector business category not available in Canada, but local competitors have NAP, Categories, Dashboard Data 2
djbaxter New Local SEO tool from BrightLocal: Local Search Grid Local SEO Tools & Software 7
Stef Kiley Temp closed business ranking higher in local pack Help & Support for Google Local 2
F Turkish post: Google My Business local seo Recycle Bin 0
accessted Local Falcon GMB Question Service Area Businesses 2
F Google My Business local seo Google Local 101 3
S What makes a great Home/Landing Page in Local? Local Search 6
E What is the Click Through Rate / Conversion Rate for GMB or Local 3 Pack listings? Google My Business & Google Maps 3
J New local pack display? Google Algorithm Discussions 2
N Dedicated local search Local Search 12
djbaxter Webinar The State of Local Search 2021 [Webinar + Q&A] Events 0
Imperialpest Page Speed and Local / Ranking Question Ask a LocalU Expert [PRIVATE] (LocalU) 5
djbaxter Online Conference Pubcon Local Services Marketing Conference, January 20-21, 2021 Events 3
L Local Service Ad for Attorney Paid Search and Local Service Ads 1
Professor M No Reviews on Local Packs for Car Wash Category in Different Countries Google My Business & Google Maps 1
SpectateSwamp How about discussing local search... Like the Spectate one; everything a 50+ years of programming Geezer wants Break Room: Chat and Off Topic 3
B Google Beacons helping Local visability? Local Search 1
JoyHawkins Are Local Services Ads Stealing Clicks from Google My Business? A Case Study of 110 Listings Paid Search and Local Service Ads 0
M Decreased traffic to Google maps due to local service ads Paid Search and Local Service Ads 1
Eoghan_MFeed Looking for a SaaS but more importantly Local Search experienced product managers 🔍 Local SEO Job Board 0
Professor M Google Maps and Google My Business Big Changes - Google Maps Local News Feed Google My Business & Google Maps 26
Shelly "On the menu: [item]" visual label in local pack Help & Support for Google Local 3
Brian Barwig Unconventional Approaches to Local Link Building Local Search 0
Marty Twelves Local links: are they really that much better? Local Search 1
Y Whenever I publish update for my local business, my local rankings drop for 3-4 days Local Search 1
H Recorded Sessions from Local U Local Search 1
jeff_taylor GMB Removes Reviews from Local Pack Local Search 0
Scott ClientClicks Call Tracking for Local Service Ads Paid Search and Local Service Ads 4
jpayne7 Google Favoring Rich Snippets for Job Postings over Local Business Listings? Google Local 101 4

Similar threads

Login / Register

Already a member?   LOG IN
Not a member yet?   REGISTER

Most UpVoted Answers

LocalU Podcasts

  Promoted Posts

New advertising option: A review of your product or service posted by a Sterling Sky employee. This will also be shared on the Sterling Sky & LSF Twitter accounts, our Facebook group, LinkedIn, and both newsletters. More...
Google Product Exert


Top Bottom