Glossary | 2 mins
Read the next term in our glossary
Directories are online platforms that list businesses and organisations under various categories and subcategories. These directories help users find relevant businesses, products, or services within a given geographical area or niche. For businesses, directory listings provide an opportunity for a citation for the business by providing accurate and consistent information about their company to potential customers.
In the context of SEO, the entries on directories are known as citations, and cover mentions of a business’s name, address, and phone number information (NAP). Citations do not necessarily come with a valuable backlink, but can still be a useful tool for local SEO as they help develop a business’s authority and legitimacy.
Directories vs Citations
Citations refer to the mention of a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on directories or other sites. These citations can help improve a business’s local search engine rankings and visibility, especially when they are consistent and accurate across multiple sources. In addition to NAP, citations may also include other information about a business, such as its website, hours of operation, and reviews. Search engines use citations as a factor in determining the authority and relevance of a business’s website, and a higher number of quality citations can contribute to better search rankings.
Are Directories Worth It?
Though directories often aren’t the most powerful avenue for link building, they can still be a helpful element in a wider SEO strategy, especially for heavily localised businesses. Topical relevance can be increased through directories, and some more exclusively high value than others – so it does depend on each case.
By listing a business in a relevant directory, marketers can increase its visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) for local searches and increase the avenues for traffic with intent. Furthermore, directory listings can help improve a business’s online reputation by providing its target audience with accurate and consistent information about the business.
Like with any kind of referring domain, it’s important to bear in mind that not all directories are a good backlink opportunity. Some directories may have little to no authority or relevance, making them a waste of time and resources. Rarely, you may also find directories that are engaged in spammy and unethical practices, whose backlinks could actively harm your potential to rank.
It is important to research and choose directories carefully, vetting them the same way you would with any referring domain, and focusing on sites that are trustworthy, authoritative and relevant to the business’s industry or niche.
Are directories useful for SEO?
Directories can be useful for SEO, particularly for local SEO. Directory listings can help businesses improve their online visibility and reputation by providing accurate and consistent information about their business to potential customers. Additionally, directory listings can help businesses establish their topical authority by increasing their presence on relevant online platforms.
What is the difference between a citation and a directory?
A citation is a mention of a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites or online platforms, while a directory is an online platform that lists businesses and organisations under various categories and subcategories. While citations do not necessarily have to include a link to the business’s website, they are still important for local SEO as they help develop a business’s local legitimacy.
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