Continuing our three-part directory series, Leigh explains how online directories can play a beneficial role in online marketing to help raise brand awareness.

Watch the first video if you missed it and please subscribe to our YouTube channel for instant future video updates.

Video Transcription


The way I see it, there are three main categories of directory. One I would consider to be the mainstream, which would include examples such as Yahoo, Scoot, and there’s even large publications such as The Independent newspaper, DMOZ – these are very broad directories, which would hold 10s of millions of businesses within them covering all categories.

They have their place and whilst they’re still being displayed within Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results) then I believe that they still have value. Not necessarily value from a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) point of view but just from a brand awareness and exposure point of view.

Because they’re quite large and formal directories they are often well maintained and as such the integrity of the data, in other words the names and the addresses and the information within them, is often kept up to date, which is another important reason to use them.

They’re also leveraged by a few software vendors as well to have access to the actual data within these directories so inadvertently your data, that is held within these large directories, can be exposed to other sources, other software vendors or even other search engines. So for example: I believe that Scoot powers Ask Jeeves’ directory search results.

Another category would be vertical directories, vertical in as much as that they’re very industry-specific so an example of that would be an accountancy directory that would just list all accountants within the UK.

These have an important place for businesses too with regards to online marketing because they are so industry-specific that somebody seeking out, looking for let’s say an accountant or a trade, such as a plumber or a glazier, a florist, etc – they can actually be sought out through these vertical directories. Examples of those are ones like Sage (the big accounting people) they have their own accountants directory called Sage One. is a florists directory and of course Trust a Trader.

The slight difference with these directories is that they’re often combined with an industry membership as well. So for example: if you’re affiliated to the Guild of Master Builders – that organisation may have their own directory which is only accessible towards members, which is a good thing because you’re perceived as a bona fide business with some credibility and by associating with that industry body, it can help you promote your business through that channel.

Lastly, I would consider the third group of directories to be local directories. There’s quite a grey area here because you get some of the mainstream directories covering these areas, such as Yell and Thomson Local, but going back to the point I mentioned earlier, local directories are extremely powerful because they quite often are listed on the first page of Google for local search (local searches) and whilst they do retain a high exposure in Google then they have extraordinarily high power. So, for example, I did a search earlier looking for florists. Try it yourself in your area: “florist in Reading” or Brighton or wherever you are and just have a look at how many local directories are actually shown on that first page of Google. Certainly for the areas that I’ve tried, there is a high percentage of directories.

Lots of these are free too, if you just want citations. In other words, you don’t have necessarily seek a link within that directory but the mere fact that you exist in that directory as a citation, with a consistent citation across numerous directories, can certainly help with your business exposure.