Maximising Your Business Online Exposure Using Free Business Directories to tide through Covid19 Difficult Period
Published: 09 Apr 2020, 1:42 pm
One of the most basic steps for any local business to boost their presence on the internet is through an online business directory. Yet, this first step is often missed when any company begins work on SEO for their website.
What are online business directories?
For those who are new to this topic, an online business directory is a virtual directory of companies or businesses which list businesses & their details. Businesses can be categorized as per certain category niches such as industry or location. Most of the business directories provide free business listing allowing for companies to put up key information such as their registered name, addresses, contact details (phone numbers, emails), websites and many such other information points. This doubles up as free internet advertising as well and form a part of the many ideas deployed to advertise a company online. To know more about business directories, see here.
How do they help?
Well, if your business isn’t present on an online business directory, it will most likely reduce the chances of your business appearing on the first few pages of search engines like Google, Baidu or Sougou. Which means, a prospective business can go to one of your competitors who are simply more proactive in putting their details on business directories. In very simple terms- you just forgot to leave your visiting card online! Here are some quick points on how these directories help:
A basic value addition that listing on business directories is that they provide a simple and easy way for you to put up your business details online and make it available to everyone to search & obtain. Search engines encourage such information to appear as it is beneficial to online search users, hence it adds to the probability that your site shows up in the first few pages of search.
A business listing communicates something about your business without saying it out loud- that it is real & authentic. Businesses which are listed on trusted directories which publish verified information are more likely to be viewed as ‘real’ businesses rather than as fly-by-night operators. This means more traffic onto your website and quicker & higher conversion rate for customers.
Many well designed online directories provide additional free or paid features to allow for showcasing more than just your business details. There are features like product showcase to display your products, options to upload images or attachments for catalogues or advertisements, customer feedback to show value & useful feedback from their customer which makes the information more meaningful to customers. All these features further enhance your business SEO as they optimise your search ranking compared to those businesses who didn't provide such in-depth detail.
Some enterprising business directories rehash the information provided by you in the directory and create a miniature website with your own domain name like MyCompany.com. This saves you time, effort and money which are required to build & maintain a website on your own. Keepital is one enterprise business directory which has such a MiniSite feature.
At the end of this article, we filter and list out a table of well-known and effective business directories. Using this single point reference consisting of details of the features they provide; you can begin the first steps to boost your online presence.
Begin by listing out the target directories on which you wish you enter your information. Do note that shortlisting the right set of directories is very important to optimizing results for your business.
Instead of carpet bombing all available directories, you can choose to focus on regional business directories. For example, if your business is based in Kuala Lumpur then it makes sense to target only directories for the Malaysian market. If you cater to customers mainly in Singapore, then it becomes paramount that you target the top SEO business directories in Singapore or Asia.
Alternatively, you can choose to target industry specific directories. For example, if you are an OEM for heavy machinery spares catering to the South Asian region, you can choose to list only on top manufacturing directories in the geography.
Once done, keep the following basic information handy and begin entering data onto your target websites.
- Registered Company Name
- Company Contact Details (Email & Phone Number)
- Company Registration Number
- Registered Company Address
- Short Description of your business
- Company Logo in image format
Taking the Next Leap to Achieve Growth.
Now that you have the basics in place, what would be the next step? Always remember-It works better if they work for your business. While most free business listings simply involve posting your business details, there are other paid & unpaid services which help you boost your rankings on major search engine and make you appear on the first few pages of search. Here are a few key points on how to use this tool to grow your business.
Select only the Best
Well begun is work half done. Choosing only good quality directories can have multiplier effects on the results you achieve. The following are simple check boxes that you can tick off when selecting the best.
- Being SEO ready is being Business ready: Search engines keep changing the way how they judge the value of the directory. This means there are there are many outdated online business directories which don’t bring much value to your search rankings. It is important to choose active & up to date directories to gain substantial benefit from the listing. To know more about what is SEO, please see here.
- User Friendly Interface: Most business owners might not be technically sound and when it concerns something that they are going to use on a day to day, it helps to have a directory that has a user-friendly interface and the design is intuitive. This makes it easier to update data on a regular basis.
- Verified Business Listings: Wouldn’t you value a business which has been verified and shortlisted by a human for an business directory? Or would you trust an online business directory which anyone can upload their details on? Most people would choose the first. While we don’t say not to use direct listings, we do suggest you give higher priority to the human intervened listing websites. It might take a day or two for your listing to appear, but it is well worth the wait.
- Additional Benefits are a Plus: As mentioned earlier, many directories allow for additional information fields such as features of products & services, catalogue listing, after-sales services and warranty details. Some others may go a step further and allow you to upload images, create product showcase, upload a visual catalogue, upload videos or let you have a live chat room. These may seem minor but go a long way in making your user experience productive and improve SEO.
Leverage Premium Paid Services
While we always have a plethora of options in selecting a free business listing, it is at times recommended to not be pennywise but pound foolish. What one can achieve from one or two listings, may be cannot be achieved by ten of the free ones. A few of benefits of a paid business directory are:
- Your Business becomes Priority: Once you begin using certain paid features on a listing site, it means you mean business. This gives you access to dedicated support from the team; the boosting of your search presence becomes their priority. Even within the listing site, this can guarantee you a highlighted presence versus competitors from your industry. You are assured of results and ultimately, that is what we want.
- Access to Features & Value Adds: While the free part of most listings offer you the basic pack, additional paid features add a lot of value to your listing. This can range from unlimited usage of the site’s product showcase feature, useful tools, capability of creating a miniature website like Keepital’s MiniSite feature and ability to upload long videos. It then turns into a full-blown campaign instead of a plain vanilla listing.
- Always keep a look out for paid features as they ensure better ROI. The point is to always keep a healthy mix of free business listing and some paid value-added services on certain quality sites so that you achieve the objective of hacking your business growth in a balanced manner.
Simple Actions you could Avoid.
Apart from the must-dos, there are a few things you could avoid doing when listing your company on a directory.
These are as simple as never putting up outdated information on the directory. While it may be a tedious task to keep the information updated, it is essential to avoid wrong messages being sent.
As important as this, is to avoid spam or misleading information. This usually happens when one is trying to promote their products to the customers of close competitors. For example, you are a dealer for Bosch products, but you have put up images of Samsung & Toshiba products.
This simply reduces the level of trust in your business & brings its value down and ultimately affects your business SEO by lowering its visibility on search engines.
Top 10 Business Directories in Asia
To close the loop on this exercise, we have put together a list of top business directories in Singapore so that you can start right away.
|Keepital.com is an SEO ready online platform which has a business directory as its key feature. It follows Google’s latest SEO standards & best practices hence businesses can be assured that searches related to their business or certain related keywords will be optimized in favour of their website. Over and above the basics, Keepital allows updation of company logo, executive profile, product showcase etc. This makes this platform extremely versatile. Additionally, the user interface is easy to use. Keepital has several free as well paid tools such as the MiniSite feature which and a dedicated team assigned to deliver results for your business. They only list verified businesses, making it a trustworthy directory & a worthy investment. Basic Information: Business Name, Address, Contact, Website, Emails, Profile, Classifications, Operating Hours Additional Information: Logo, Banner, Branches, Catalogue, Map, Images, Enquiry Form, Executive Profile, MiniSite, Messenger Quality Control: Free & Paid, Only Registered Business|
|Street Directory A well respected Singapore based street directory which provide business details. Street Directory offers paid as well as unpaid services such as banner updation, maps, images, enquiry form, review and a miniature website. Reviews are a great way of communicating testimonials to other prospective customers. Street Directory only encourages verified businesses to put up their details. Basic Information: Business Name, Address, Contact, Website, Emails, Profile, Classifications, Operating Hours Additional Information: Logo, Banner, Map, Images, Enquiry Form, Review, Minisite Quality Control: Free & Paid, Only Registered Business|
|Singapore Yellow Pages A name inspired by the printed yellow page directories, Singapore Yellow Pages is a localized online directory packed with some unique features and listing over 15000 local businesses. The directory has options to update the business location map, insertion of an enquiry form and a dynamic display of video & display ads making them stand apart. On the customer interface, they also allow posting of reviews and bookmarking of businesses. The categorization as per industry, makes it easy to browse and search for businesses. Basic Information: Business Name, Address, Contact, Website, Emails, Profile, Classifications, Brands, Operating Hours Additional Information: Logo, Map, Video, Display Ads, Reviews, Bookmark Quality Control: Free & Paid, Only Registered Business|
|The Green Book Enlisting only registered & verified businesses, the Green Book is one of the leading Singapore based industrial, commercial and consumer directory. They offer featured product showcase for business, product news on their home page and have certain value additions like dedicated blogs, advertising options, platinum listing of prime advertising – all under their paid bouquet of services. Only registered businesses are permitted to list on the Green Book. Basic Information: Business Name, Address, Contact, Website, Emails, Profile, Classifications, Brands Additional Information: Logo, Map, Branches, Product Listing, Enquiry Form, Catalogue Quality Control: Free & Paid, Only Registered Business|
|Times Business Directory This directory is a comprehensive list of key businesses in Singapore and claims to cover Singapore 1000 and SME 1000 companies. It is very basic in what it offers in terms of directory features. Times Business Directory too, like any respected directory has maintained it for registered businesses only. It does offer some paid services like displaying featured product advertisements and showcasing companies on its home page. Basic Information: Business Name, Address, Contact, Website, Emails, Profile, Classifications, Operating Hours Additional Information: Logo, Enquiry Form, Product Listing Quality Control: Free & Paid, Only Registered Business|
|Singapore Kompass This is a multifunctional platform providing value-adding services such as data access, data services, digital solutions and sales intelligence to clients. The digital solutions mainly comprise SEO solutions via their directory. The paid solutions at Singapore Kompass promise to maximize SEO, provide magnified visibility via a responsive listing and help create online awareness for your business and products. Only registered businesses can sign up on this directory. Basic Information: Business Name, Address, Contact, Website, Emails, Profile, Classifications, Operating Hours Additional Information: Product Listing, Executive Profile Quality Control: Free & Paid, Only Registered Business|
|InSing is Singapore based localized news, guide and information website. They also host a business directory as one of their key services; enlisting businesses ranging from small scale next door beauty salons to customized gift manufacturer. It lists businesses as per categories and focuses on mainly visibility within the site for businesses who register- it has a high monthly site visitor count. It has a range of paid & unpaid features such as option to upload images, enquiry forms and customer reviews. Basic Information: Business Name, Address, Contact, Website, Emails, Profile, Classifications, Operating Hours Additional Information: Images, Enquiry Form, Reviews Quality Control: Free & Paid, Only Registered Business|
|Singapore Angloinfo is an open-for-all directory which means non-registered businesses can also sign up on the site. Apart from local business listings, they also have blog post & local event listings. Angloinfo is a very basic business directory and have a few value-added paid services as options. Basic Information: Business Name, Address, Contact, Website, Emails, Profile, Classifications, Operating Hours Additional Information: Logo, Map, Images, Enquiry Form Quality Control: Free & Paid, Open to anyone|
|Yelu is a basic directory which offers category wise listing of businesses and covers a range of industries ranging across restaurants, automotive, medical, legal & real estate to name a few. It has an easy to use, fluid interface and suits non-tech-savvy business owners perfectly. Yelu is more social in set up meaning it has space for reviews and Q&A, making the user experience more meaningful. The site offers a few premium paid features and is open to all businesses, whether registered or not. Basic Information: Business Name, Address, Contact, Website, Emails, Profile, Classifications, Operating Hours Additional Information: Enquiry Form, Product Listing, Reviews, Q&A Quality Control: Free & Paid, Open to anyone|
|eGuide is a very simple, free business listing tool and open to all businesses. Their main listing fields cover regular business details. Over and above those, you can also update the business and latest news. If one is new to the field of business directories, eGuide is a good place to begin. Basic Information: Business Name, Address, Contact, Website, Emails, Profile, Classifications, Operating Hours Additional Information: Logo, Map, Images, News Quality Control: Free, Open to anyone|