By Megan Hudson
I’m a HUGE fan of using online directories as part of your online Search Engine Optimisation strategy and actively encourage my clients to look for appropriate online directories to list in. There are a number of great reasons for this:
You can include all of your contact details, including your blog or website address, and Google will pick this up as a website LINKING BACK to your site. Always remember – when listing your blog or website details online – to include the full URL, for example: http://withoutspendingacent.com or http://mhconsulting.wordpress.com. This great tip was given to me by a good friend, and the reason for this is that it makes it easier for Google to index your site.
Listing on a variety of online directories across the web means that you put signposts out directing potential clients or customers to your business from many different directions. If you don’t give people great directions on how to find you, they’ll never get to your front door!
One of the very first directories that you need to list on is the directory belonging to your professional body or the association for your type of business. While this may seem counter-intuitive, the professional body or association should be doing a good job of marketing the credibility of your body or association – credibility that you would hopefully want to be associated with!
Consider listing as an affiliate or associate member of the professional bodies that the majority of your clients belong to, but please do this with integrity. This is a great opportunity to get involved in your clients’ special interest areas and to engage meaningfully from a different perspective.
You will be able to find as many directories as you are prepared to search for. Ensure that your message and content remains consistent no matter where you are listed, but also ensure that you tailor your basic profile to fit the target market of the online directory.
Finally, do not commit what I consider to be the cardinal sin of listing on online directories and include numbers or symbols in your listing in order to promote your listing to the top of an alphabetical list. This is not clever because you severely undermine your Search Engine Optimisation – suddenly, your name becomes Joe 1Smith on one directory, Joe 4Smith on another and so on. Anyone searching for Joe Smith is not going to find your listings and Google is not going to “credit” you with all your multiple online identities. It’s just a lot of effort going to waste. It also looks like what it is: that you’re so poor at marketing and so desperate for business that you have to resort to disingenuous ways to get someone to look at your profile.
About the Author
Megan has a degree in Politics and Languages, and spent most of her early career in the fields of Marketing and Advertising. She trained as a coach in 2001, and ran a successful practice until about 2007, when her husband’s engineering business started to consume most of her time. Megan is also a qualified Ethologist (animal behaviourist), with a degree through an Onderstepoort-affiliated body, as well as having studied Psychology though UNISA. She continues to reflect on the close similarities between the study of politics, and animal and human behaviour. Megan’s guiding principles are Integrity and Aesthetics. In addition to consulting to COMENSA on a national basis on Marketing & PR, Megan runs a number of successful businesses including a property business, a specialist marketing consultancy, and a marketing training course (developed in 2001) aimed at SME’s but tailored specifically to Coaches & Mentors. She has also had an online business since 2004.