Lesson Four: New Citations & Reviews
In this final lesson of Module 2 we show you how to find and list your business on quality directories.
We guide you through the process of finding these in real-time by using some clever SEO tricks of the trade.
We also explain the important of reviews and how to get them, outlining the impact they can have on your businesses visibility online and your SEO
Watch the next lesson: Module 3 – Lesson One: What is Content Marketing?
Hello, and welcome to Lesson Four of Module Two.
In this lesson, I’m going to walk you through the process of finding and creating good quality citations on trusted and respected website directories.
Now, over the years, I have analysed hundreds of website directories. So, as a little bonus, and time saver, I have created a shortlist of those directories, which I consider vital for your business to be on, regardless of the industry you’re in.
This list includes sites like Yelp, HopFrog, FreeIndex and many more. You can download it just below this video. In addition to those national directories, it’s really important to get your business listed on local and niche directories. But it can be a little tricky to find these, and identify those which are relevant, which are not.
So I’m going to jump onto my computer right now, and show you. First you have to find them, and then, how to establish, if they’re of good sufficient quality or not. So, the best way to find local and niche directories is to use Google. Now I’m going to use this client as an example of how to find related quality directories.
This is London Drainage Services. You’ll probably recognise this website, we’ve used it a couple of times, up until now, in other lessons. These guys do drainage services, all manner of different drainage services across London and the surrounding areas.
So how do we find niche and local directories? Well, we just start with a simple search. So I am just going to look up drainage directories, in the first instance, and what I would do is, I would look through these results, and I would probably hold down Control on my keyboard, and just start looking through.
Have a look through some of these directories, some of the listings, and look for the quality listings, versus the listings that are a little bit suspect, that I’m not so sure about. So I would just glance at these, and just review what’s on the website, the aesthetics of the website, and have a look.
Also, a telltale sign is to look at the types of websites that are listed. Are they related? Are they, in fact, your direct competitors? If they are, and if you’re seeing quite a few of them on there, and the website looks good, and they are, especially if they’re from your target area.
A key thing is to look for is, are you seeing your local competitors on there? If you are, it’s probably a good sign. Especially if you’re seeing quite a few of them. So if you’re seeing a lot of … Often, with directories, you’ll see a lot of American sites, or overseas European sites that are not UK sites. If you’re seeing that, you probably want to change it.
See? These are all, for the most part, dot [Credit UK 00:02:52], I reckon, on some of these websites. It looks fairly good. It’s clearly a trade, sort of, home and garden directory. This would be a good one. So I would be happy to add that to mine.
Now this one, near dot Credit UK, is a fairly reputable directory, even though it doesn’t look like much. So this one, you would look, I would review those listings that are already listed in London, listed locally, and make a call from there. Like I say, this is a reputable, is a trusted directory, even though it’s not a particularly good one.
This, on the other hand, this doesn’t look particularly great. You can just tell, from certain things like this, it’s just … looks like it’s been generated very quickly, without much thought. Directory for UK? No. This is a good example of one we’re going to say, “No, thank you. Goodbye.”
UK Directory? Again, this one is OK. There are going to be some of the competitors listed on there, but it’s … this is one that’s, just from experience, that I would say, no UK business directory.
This one of those that’s on the border, whether you could say yes, you could say no. Ultimately, it’s going to be down to your discretion. It’s possibly one that you could add in as a maybe, into your … again, when I say “add in,” I’m talking about adding into this list here. What you can do is, you could have a list of definitely yeses, and then some maybes, and then, obviously, the nos, we’re going to discount as well.
You would just work through those that you would see in the search results. So you could even click through to the second page. Now, remember, this is just on a very basic, one of your main keywords, plus the word “directories.” There’s lots of other terms that we can go through, as well.
For example, if you put in “drainage companies,” or if you would put in your keyword, one of your core services, “companies” plus “directory,” you will get different results. So, again, it would be the same thing. It would be about going through … FreeIndex, for example, is a fairly reputable directory, some of which you could confidently list your business.
Then we’ve got all of the ones that you, for any tradesman, are a must, such as TrustATrader. There’d also be Checkatrade in here, as well. This is a directory that is somewhere that the client should definitely be listed in this industry, and then, as we continue to go through, there’s lots of other such parameters.
Another good one, to bring up different results again, is “in title,” colon, keyword, plus “directory.” What that means is that it forces the word, or your keyword, to be within the title of the results that it finds. Again, you’re going to get slightly different results.
I would go through … I would probably open up most of these results on the first page, the first two pages, review them, and make a call, yes or no.
Another keyword, another keyword string word search, it would be “directory,” plus keyword, plus … in double quotes, “add business.” This is where you’re looking for the page, which … looking for directories, again, but it’s where they’re openly asking to add your business.
You’ll notice it’s not at link, because we’re not just after building links here. We’re after adding our business to reputable directories. So that’s another good keyword phrase you could use there.
Also then, another way to do this is to broaden it out, so, depending on what your industry is …if you’re in the direct … of plumbers, and drainage is a tradesman. So you could then broaden out as “trade directories,” “tradesman directories,” things like that. If you’re you’re, say, a yoga instructor, you could broaden out as to health and fitness.
Look, go a little bit broader, and then, just put “directory,” and “directory UK.” You could then combine it and say, “add business and title,” to get lots of options. You then move into, go into local searches.
This is where, if you are again, if you’re touting a local region, you can then put in your location directory, plus your keyword, or any which way of doing. You could put keyword, plus location, and then, plus “directory,” as well. Again, here, I’ve got, “London business directory,” plus “drainage.” All of these results are going to bring up a mix of terms.
Yu can just have fun with this. There is, as I say, there is no right and wrong. There is no set way. Whenever I’m doing directory research, I will just put in all manner of terms that I can think of, always to include, “plus directory,” or just, “directory” by itself. I will keep searching, and just list of bunch of directories.
Ultimately, you’re only going to want, say, 20. Actually, you’re not after listing hundreds and hundreds of directories. Again, it always comes back to the quality over quantity, and if there’s a directory, which you’re unsure about, and you’re sort of sitting on the fence, it’s better to say, “No, do you know what? I’m going to not have that one. I’m only going to go for the sites that I recognise.”
Remember, all of these are in addition to the nationwide, the authoritative directories. These, or this phase of this lesson, is just where we’re looking for niche directories, and localised ones.
So create your list, and add them all into your spreadsheet, here. Once you have them listed here, you can start working through, and start submitting your directories. And remember, with each of the directories, it’s really important that you list all your business information, as we spoke of in the last lesson. Mot just listing the minimum information, your map information, add in your website, and that’s done and moving on.
It’s important that you do add images. That you do write a very, in-depth and detailed description of your business. It’s really important that you make the most of that listing. The directory will appreciate you for it, as will Google.
So, like I say, record everything in here, all your login details. Make sure they go in here, as well.
Finally, if you find a directory, when you’re doing this process, that you’re not sure about, if there is one like the near one that I found, or if there’s something where you’re a bit, and you think, “Oh, well, maybe, possibly, I’m not sure,” send their own e-mail to me. Just send to: [email protected] I will gladly, I will take a look, and I’ll come back straight to you, and I’ll say, “Yup,” or, “No, this is one to avoid.”
So go right ahead and create your sure list. So there you have it. That is how you find and create good quality business listings, on how you can establish your business online.
But wait, before you go and create dozens of listings, all in one go, a word of warning. I know from experience that any business, new or old, that generates a lot of directory listings out of nowhere, all of a sudden, does stand out to Google. And understandably so, as Google doesn’t want to actively go out and build links. Instead, it expects businesses to acquire links organically and naturally.
So going out and simply blasting a huge number of directory listings, all in one go, is a big red herring. Coupled with the fact that Google knows that acquiring directory links is the easiest and simplest and fastest way of gaining links. The answer? Slow and steady.
Now, remember, you’re already going to be a cut above the average, because you’re not going to be submitting your business to these spammy directories. That said, I still would recommend you submit to no more than three or four directories per month.
Establishing a business is a gradual thing, as you know. So we don’t want to be submitting to directories all in one go. It’s a very common mistake that I see a lot of businesses and their marketing agencies make. They start a campaign, they blast dozens of directory listings out there, and then, they never think about them again, and they never update them. It’s sloppy, and it’s not what you’ll be doing.
So list your business on three or four directories each month, as part of the other SEO work that you’re doing. If you make citations and directory listings a part of your ongoing campaign, then over a few months, you’ll build a very strong backlink profile of quality citations, which will look completely natural to Google, which it is, and will insure that your business has a great foundation from which to build your own online visibility.
If you use the spreadsheet from the previous lesson, you’ll have one place where you can record everything, and if something changes within your business, you’ll have one point of reference, where you can log in, and update everything, all in one go, and it’s nice and organised.
Next, we’re going to talk about reviews on these directories. Now, depending on your business sector, reviews on directories may be fairly obvious. For example, if you’re in the travel industry, having a page on TripAdvisor and having lots of reviews is almost a given. Likewise, if you’re in, if you’re a tradesman, being on sites like Checkatrader, and TrustATrader, they are, again, vital.
What is less obvious, though, is that many of the national directories, and some local and niche ones, too, they also allow reviews and testimonials. Sites like Yelp, FreeIndex, [One Nine Two 00:12:07], Yell.com, all allow customer reviews.
Yet no one is taking advantage of this. What this means is that, for you, there are some really good quick wins. And I’m going to share with you some top tips of how you can outrank the competition within these directories.
Once you have created your listing, on a directory that allows reviews, make sure that your profile is 100% complete, has pictures and everything else that I’ve previously mentioned. Get that submitted, and once verified, and published online, you can send the link onto some of your recent happy customers, and ask that they review your business.
Even just two or three positive reviews, combined, with an impressive profile, will in most cases propel you above the competition. The reason for this is many of your competitors won’t even be completing your profile, let alone asking their customers to review them on these directories.
This has two big benefits for your business. Firstly, a much higher likelihood of receiving referral traffic. Both traffic going into the directory, and then onto your website.
Secondly, Google crawls links top to bottom. Meaning, the higher up that page, on the directory that you are, the more link equity and trust you receive from Google. It’s a win-win, and so easy to do. Again, the key here is slow and steady. If you can be generating, let’s say, two or three new customer reviews every single month, that’ll be fantastic, and really help establish your business online.
One way you may do this is by simply sending a link with a quick note, in your sales confirmations, or your completion e-mails. It’s as simple as that, and it will really really help. You could even send a follow-up e-mail, a couple of weeks after that customer’s dealing with you, asking for their feedback, and for them to leave a review on a particular directory. It really is up to you. It’s your preference.
Just remember to reply and acknowledge all the reviews as they come in, whether that be positive or negative, and it’s really important that you do that. Because, especially within directories, many customers will look at how a company dealt with or replied to a customer review, whether that is positive, or particularly, negative.
I know I have done that, and you probably have, too. Go right ahead and start creating your directory target list. Add them to the citation spreadsheet, from the previous lesson, and remember to mark those directories which allow reviews, so you know for future.
We have reached the end of Module Two. So, to quickly recap everything that we’ve covered, firstly, we looked at Google My Business. We looked at setting you up with a page, and getting that verified. We joined some communities, and learned about importance of posting content to Google Plus.
Next, we looked at Google reviews. We saw firsthand how important these are. We learned how to acquire them, and the benefit that they can have, on your visibility online.
We have audited your existing directory listings, and identified those which are spammy or suspect, versus those which are of good quality, and worthwhile of being kept, and lastly, we looked at how to find and create new good quality citations for your business.
That’s it. I hope that you’re following along with everything so far, and you’re happy with everything that we’ve covered. As we move on into Module Three, we get onto content marketing, which is my favourite part of SEO. I absolutely love it, and I’m sure you going to, as well, as that’s how businesses just like yours can outrank and outmuscle the competition, and deserve to rank top.
If you do have any questions on Module Two, you know you can e-mail me at [email protected], and I’ll see you on Module Three.