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Directory listings are indeed helpful for driving authority and sometimes traffic to our websites and should definitely be considered as part of your internet marketing or SEO strategy. yellow page directories - listing directories.
As we all know, directory listings are categorized in such a way, that search engines are able to quickly find and categorize your site based on relevance. As an added bonus you may be able to get a quality link which may help improve your ranking (depending on relevance and raking of the source pages).

The real dilemma however is, “should we pay for directory listings?”. We have major players such as City Search, YP, and other Yellow Pages directories which sell sponsored listings to keep you on top of their search results. This is supposed to “increase visibility” and drive potential clients to your website (as they would put it to you). The truth is, there is a chance you can capitalize on paying for sponsored listings, but let me give you a trick before you shed any money out for these. If you are looking for traffic, then consider the following:

  1. People hardly ever go to any of these directories to find businesses, therefore if your listing shows up it will be a multy-step process and it works like this: SEARCH IS PLUGGED IN TO GOOGLE >> THE DIRECTORY SHOWS A RESULTS PAGE WHERE YOUR LISTING IS >> YOUR SPONSORED RESULT APPEARS >> PEOPLE CLICK ON YOUR LISTING >> PEOPLE MAY GO TO YOUR SITE. The longer the process to get to your listing and site the slimmer your chances to get a visitor “on your site”.
  2. Because of the above, before paying for a sponsored listing on any of these directories, you can perform a search yourself and see if the section where you will be posted appears on Google, Yahoo or Bing. For instance, if you are a Flower Retailer, search for “flower shop,<your city, your state state>”, or “flower store <your city, your state state>” (the geographical span will be based on your market reach).
  3. Following up on Point #2. If your desired category page (where you would be listed) does show up, consider how high up it ranks on the Search Engine list.
  4. Also consider whether you see listings showing directly after the first click or if only results pages (where you will be listed with other businesses) appear. The more competition there is, the lesser the value of your listing.
  5. Consider the price based on the above factors and determine if it is worth investing.
Google, Yahoo and Bing Local have killed Online Directories by positioning their own local listings on top of all other organic results. With a little bit of patience, and basic knowledge of how search engines work, you can create (or claim and enhance) your local business listing on any of these search engines for free. You will be much better served than paying for a directory listing.

Most Yellow Page and Listing Directories offer a free basic listing, if you see no added benefit to do sponsored listing, then don’t. Create a basic listing and this may still give you some minimal exposure without paying. The bottom line is, most of these listings are basically used for link building, but for the most part the “online directory” model has died. Everyone goes to Search Engines and expect to find their business with a single or just a few clicks. Consider Search Engine Optimization if you are serious about online visibility.