More threads by Colan Nielsen

Colan Nielsen

LocalU Faculty
Jul 19, 2012
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Hi Folks,

One of the services we offer is submitting our clients to x number of business directories each month.

A number of our older clients have been submitted to over 100 directories. The quality of online directories starts to diminish once you have covered all the important ones.

I have been exploring some new ideas for this service for these "mature" clients. My mantra is "now that we have covered the quantity side of the coin, now let's focus on how to infuse quality into these existing directories". Ideas include:

  • Develop ideas to get customer reviews onto these existing directories (review handouts, coaching)
  • Add even more content to the existing directories where possible
  • Seek out more niche directories and submit to those

I am wondering what others are doing in these scenarios. Do you just continue to submit your client to more and more directories? Do you do some of the ideas I mentioned above? What does your process look like?

Would love to hear your ideas.
Great question Colan. I look forward to hearing others' processes, but here's what we do.

Once we build out all the quality citations we can find, we dig down deeper to find niche related directories or anywhere we could locally get a citation.

We also continue to build links to the directories we've created - especially the highest quality citations.

Adding additional information would be a good idea too (if possible). We continue to add reviews to the directories on a regular basis with a goal of getting 5 star reviews on the first page of Google when potential customers type in "XYZ business".
Nice ideas Kristen and a good question as well. I too have tried thinking of ways to provide a continued service. Mind you, I am not offering SEO as a service but have been trying to come up with a business plan to do so. I am working with 1 client now as I want to gain some real live experience. I have been helping a few friends here and there as well. I am not a complete novice by the way.

Some things that crossed my mind were to verify that listing information has not become muddied up meaning, information not maintaining consistency. The problem I see with this, is justifying your time on it and documenting it. I know information can get changed as information aggregates. It may be a part of your regular routine but there is no way to really control it. At least that I've found.

Establishing systems and procedures for obtaining results as you noted. I think a lot of this is about having processes in place that can be implemented to SMB's and their employees. Having all of this squared away on your side is also critical. Using automated emails with links to some of the sites you want reviews on and a reminder email (similar to the way Amazon and many big sites do it) have also crossed my mind. I know I've seen that suggestion a few times around here.

As with many updates recently with Google, content has become more of an important factor as if it wasn't already. Frankly, if you are not creating routine, engaging content, you are stacking the cards against yourself for success as an SEO. Odesk is a great place to find copywriters for many verticals. Quality content usually earns quality backlinks on it's own. When it comes to this type of link building, quality far supersedes quantity IMO.

Hyper-local blogs and directories on the local level is definitely something I've been looking to, even with the one site I'm working with. I just started identifying local blogs and seeing how I can build a relationship with them and hopefully acquire a link from. I also asked the client to leverage any friends websites or websites they have some relationship with as these are usually much easier to get then reaching out to a stranger site.
I hear exactly what you're saying, Colan. Once the "main" directories have been hit, the quality begins to diminish, and it becomes a little more difficult to find good, decent directories to submit to. I think Kristen and Laustin have some good ideas. What we try to do regularly is competitive research to find new relevant directories and then submit to those directories slowly but surely. So we find a competitor that is ranking high in our client's industry and just do a search in Google for "company name phone number" or similar. Usually we're able to find directories that our clients are not listed in. And then, of course, there are tools such as Whitespark or BrightLocal that will do the work for you.

Getting reviews for our clients is a little tougher. But it requires effort from the both of us. What we like to do is set up a special page on their website just for review links. We'll name the page something like "" and place Yelp, Google+, Angie's List and other logos with links directly to the pages where a customer can leave a review. Then we'll get some cheap business cards printed by Vistaprint that says something like "We appreciate your business and we value your opinion. So if you would, please be so kind and visit and leave us a review online." Then we tell our client to hand those out to everybody, especially happy customers. Most probably won't actually go and write a review, but some will. If a client does this on a regular basis, the reviews will eventually accumulate.

Anyways, that's just one idea, and in a perfect Local SEO world, it works great. Getting your clients to cooperate is another story.
Thank you for your feedback David. I always wondered if there was any "secondary" benefits to linking to these review type sites. Have you noticed any benefits? Linking out from your site is always something to consider and I do think it will have more of a place in future Penguin updates. Obviously, we are not talking about outbouonds to bad neighborhoods.

Have you been able to determine if there is an added trust value from linking directly to a clients business profile, whether it be a boost for the Google local page or for the sites you are working with?
Have you been able to determine if there is an added trust value from linking directly to a clients business profile, whether it be a boost for the Google local page or for the sites you are working with?

Ah. Well, good question. I was actually just referring to setting up direct links to the review sites to make the process as easy as possible for customers to write reviews. So I don't know if the linking will necessarily help that page rank higher, since it will basically only contain logos with links to those other review sites and no real content. But I do think that it is a good idea to link other pages of a site to the client's important listings, such as Google+, Yelp, etc.

I like to think of it as an electrical circuit and try to create an interconnected "web". If the important directory listings link to your site and your site links to your listings in those other directories, Google is able to see the connection between all of them and your business. I can't say for sure whether or not this strategy will help a site or page rank higher, but I don't think it hurts to give Google a little help to understand your client's business a little more.

I do think that every site should have certain links on every page, such as in the footer, which would include Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Yelp. Then you could intersperse links to the other important listings throughout the site. For example, you could add somewhere on a page "As seen in 'Important Directory'" or "A proud member of 'Niche Directory'" with links to those listings. Then on each page, link to different listings. Again, I'm not saying this will shoot a page to the top of Google, but you never know how much it may help overall.

Speaking of linking to Yelp, I have seen firsthand that Yelp reviews and links to a business' Yelp page do help it rank high. I know one case in particular in which the business' Yelp page ranks #1 in Google for their keyword, which is a pretty competitive keyword in their local market. This Yelp listing has 25 links pointing to it, and 19 of those links are from the business' own website created with footer links. They also have a pretty good amount of reviews on Yelp. We all know that reviews can help a web page rank higher in local search results, but it's also possible that the combination of reviews and links can be even more powerful.
I fully grasp what your doing David and I think it's a great idea. Making things as simple as possible for web searchers and clients is likely the only way you and your client are going to get the desired action. I was hoping you were able to identify any added benefits in terms of trust while linking out.

Your example about Yelp was exactly the thought process. Some sort of trust factor/benefit being assigned. I know sitewide links used to be a bread and butter and with the latest Google updates, I wonder how these types of links will hold up. Linking out is something that I know Google looks at and helps classify your site within their index.

I have been working towards building links to different profiles as you've done and I am happy to see support for it. Hopefully Colan can benefit from something like this and add it as a continued service.
Thanks for bumping this thread Kristen :)

Wow, you guys rock. A ton of great ideas to get the juices flowing.
No problem Colan, thanks for the great question that kicked off this discussion!
I have found that updates and activity helps a lot on the important business listing sites. My team and I concentrate on 20 or so of these sites and revisit them a few times a month, adding quality content, interlinking profiles, commenting on posts/blogs, and staying engaged on the sites. We found that doing this lends great boosts to a local marketing campaign. We have a process that we have been using that works well, it's very similar to social media management - something we will be rolling out to the public soon. Here's a handful of the sites that we concentrate on updating once initial listings are created:

Merchant Circle

Another thing you can do is high quality press releases with your NAP, as well as videos with your NAP and share them on social/video sites.

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