This is a guest post by Myles Anderson of Brightlocal.com. Brighlocal is a London-based local SEO company that is building local SEO tools for marketers, web-designers and local businesses. He has also written an excellent companion piece: Top UK online business directories – comparison of audience figures 2009/2010. In November, I wrote up Brightlocal’s Review facilitation tool, ReviewBiz.
Last year, David Mihm did an excellent piece on UK directories, The Guide to UK Citations for Local Search. He offered up a comprehensive list of citation sources from the professional SEO point of view. I thought that this was a good companion piece to David’s in that it approached the issue from the SMB’s point of view and offered some good, actionable advice as to prioritization of efforts.
Top 10 local UK business directories compared & rated
Online business directories are an important & powerful marketing tool for local businesses. Whether you’re a builder, a hairdresser, a dentist or a driving instructor you can attract new customers and grow your business using an online business directory.
More and more people are turning to the internet to find best local businesses. Online business directories provide a quick & easy route to identify the best businesses.
Recent research shows that people use online directories when they have an immediate need for a local service but they don’t know which business to call. Theyíre ready to buy your services but they’re looking for guidance on which business to select. Over 50% of directory searches result in either a call or visit to a local business. You need to make sure that local business is your business!
Many online business directories offer a free listing and it’s important to get listed in as many directories as possible.
Paid-for listings will often appear at the top of the directory results but there are other ways to get your business to the top of a directory without paying for it (see our article on ‘Perfecting you online business directory listing’)
Top 10 UK online business directories
The biggest online business directory with over 6 million monthly users*. yell.com offers free, basic online listings but the options to personalise your listing & create standout with photos, service description are non-existent at present. Yell.com recently (Sept2010) bought TrustedPlaces.com and is in the process of integrating the TrustedPlace community & review features into the Yell.com platform. This marks a new era for Yell who have only played the paid-for listings game up until recently. Paid-for listings still remain their focus and costs range from £300-£600 depending on your business category.
Verdict: list your business for free and could be good value for paid-for listing given their large audience size..
A rapidly growing heir to Yell’s throne. Qype covers all business categories. Qype has a loyal community of regular users who actively rate & recommend businesses. Getting on the inside of this community offers any business a great opportunity. Qype allows businesses to add lots of extra information for free – inc. photos, business description. A full listing will really standout and getting good customer reviews on the site can get you to the top of the listings for free. Qype do offer a paid-for listings service for approx. £50/month which represents good value if you want to boost your business leads.
Verdict: list your business, add extra detail; consider their paid-for listings if you have the budget..
A relative newcomer to the UK, this bizarrely named directory has grown rapidly due to itís excellent ranking in Google. All listings are free and a business can lots of extra information which will help you to get up their ranking and also start appearing in Google for relevant search terms.
Verdict: list your business for free now and benefit as this directory grows in influence..
This is a free local classified advertising service not a directory. Vivastreet has a monthly audience of over 1.2 million users and they rank very well in Google. Local businesses should use the site to promote their latest special offersor any local events that you put on. Listings donít remain on the site for too long (they expire when your so youíll need to update regularly. Your listings will provide a Citation in your Google Places listing (see this article for more on Google Places & citations).
Verdict: advertise your latest deals & local events for Free..
A well established online directory but with an aging design. They offer a basic free-listing which is useful as a Citation for your Google Places listings. Theyíre business is paid-for listings and they will try hard to persuade you to buy into their directory but iím not convinced of the value or return.
Verdict: list your business for free but not worth paying for..
Another rising star in the UK. FreeIndex only offers free listings and uniquely they donít buy in a list of basic business information. Each business listed on FreeIndex has been added by the business owner which is what makes it so powerful in itís Google rankings. FreeIndex also offer a lead-generation service for local businesses.
Verdict: list your business for free but explore the lead-generation options as they could prove good at generating new customers..
2 separate directories but they share information, so if you list on Bizwiki you get a listing on Access Place – great, 2 for 1! Their combined monthly audience is approx. 700,000 and you can list your business for free and extra information including photos, service description, opening hours etc…
Verdict: go for free listing and generate some positive user reviews to get to the top.
Yelp is huge in the US – Google recently tried to buy them for a reported US$500m! Theyíve been in the UK for a couple of years and are rapidly building a loyal audience – theyíve grown from 100k users to 500k in 12 months! Yelp is known primarily for their restaurant reviews but they cover all business categories. User ratings & reviews are an important factor on Yelp and to get the most out of the directory you need to get to know the community.
Verdict: will be a major force soon so list for free and start generating some user reviews..
They’re focus is on local deals more than traditional online directory. You can list your business for free and add a local offer (see this article about local discount vouchers). Still quite London-centric, their local vouchers are distributed to a number of other sites & mobile apps and they get a great response.
Verdict: great lead generator with discount vouchers so list for free, add a voucher and wait for the phone to ring..
View is a lifestyle & entertainment directory so if youíre a pub, bar, restaurant, club, venue etc…then this is for you. They now cover most major cities in the UK and are growing rapidly. You can list your business for free & add lots of extra information. They have a number of advertising & paid-listing opportunities. Theyíre not cheap but iíve heard from business owners who use it that it works.
Verdict: if you’re an “entertainment” business then list your business for free and consider testing their paid-for options and see what the return is like..
Conclusion: Online Business Directories are a great local marketing channel if used correctly
Online business directories represent a great local marketing channel for local businesses. Local businesses should take advantage of the Free listing opportunities and focus their efforts on getting their customers & directory users to leave positive reviews in order to reach the top of the listings.
If you have some additional marketing money available then you should consider paying for priority listings in the leading directories but make sure you negotiate and push them for extra value – it’s a competitive market!