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Are online directories an advantage or disadvantage to your Internet Presence?

Written by Margaret Shakibaie

ProfessionalInternetPresenceHave you ever googled your business name?

If so, what comes up?

Apart form your website, your business name will show up in a number of listings in online directories. These usually carry either correct information about your business or incorrect information about your business.

I had a call from a prospective client recently to discuss redeveloping their website. In the process of investigating their internet presence, I found at least 10 different references to their business address and phone number. On discussion with the client I found that some of these addresses and phone numbers had been obsolete for at least 5 years. He wasn't even aware of his business being listed on these directories.

So, how does your business get listed on these online directories?

The most common way is through online scrapping tools. A scraping tool allows for data to be extracted from a website and imported into a spreadsheet for manipulation for various uses. These could be for the creation of mailing lists, the development of price comparison apps and websites or these online directories in which our businesses get listed on without our knowledge.

So the process is, we setup a business telephone account with our Telco, and of course we want our phone number and address on their online directory, but once this listing is published on the Internet, we are open for this information to be shared, or taken, to be published on other online directories.

This is a good thing. It is free promotion of your business and allows your business available to be found from various sources on the internet. I strongly believe that the more ways people can find you on the internet, the better. Whether it be through your website being found on a Google search or being found on online directories.

But there are a few things that you need to do to make these listing work for you.

  1. Register with or claim any online directories you find that your business is listed.
  2. Keep a spreadsheet register of any online directories you find that has your NAP citation (Name, Address and Phone Number), along with your registered log-in details.
  3. Have a consistent NAP citation across all these online directories.

Online directories can be a great way of promoting your business online linking to your website. But be sure they work for you and not against you. Take ownership of your website and internet presence. Regularly search your business name and see what comes up.