If you are looking to rank your website in the Google search results (aka the SERPs), adding your business details to some business directories can be a really good idea.
Why Are Directories Important for SEO?
Directory sites are useful for SEO for two main reasons:
- Name, Address, Phone Number business citations (aka N.A.P. citations)
Let’s look at each one of those in more detail. If you want to skip to the list, scroll past this next section.
Backlinks from Directories
Backlinks are an essential part of ranking a website in Google, and while links from directories are not the most powerful, they can be a nice link to have in your profile.
When building backlinks to my client’s sites, I like to have a nice diverse range of links. So mixing some directory backlinks along with other types of backlinks is definitely a tactic I would recommend.
When trying to rank a Google My Business listing (aka a GMB listing or a Google Maps listing), N.A.P citations are beneficial.
What exactly are they? They are sites that list your business’s name, postal address, and phone number.
The more of these Google finds, the more it starts to recognize your business and its relation to the area the address is located in.
Every directory listing you create for your business will have a N.A.P citation, so building lots of them is good for your GMB and local SEO.
List of the Best Directory Sites for UK Search Engine Optimization
Here is my list of the top fifteen UK directories in no particular order:
- The UK Small Business Directory
- Business Directory
- UK Linked
- My Local Services
- Four Square
- Thomson Local
- Hot Frog
- Free Index
How to Submit Your Site to SEO Directories
Submitting websites to SEO directories is a boring and time-consuming job, so you should try and make it as efficient as you can.
If you follow these suggested steps, it should save you some time:
- Create a spreadsheet to record all your work.
- Create a tab with all your business details.
- Create a tab with all the directories you want to apply for.
- Sign-up for each one.
- Create a detailed and unique listing for each directory.
- Check if the listing has gone live.
- Run all live listings through an indexer.
- Wait a while and check your approvals and indexing rates.
Ok, now we can look at each one of these in more details:
Create a spreadsheet to record all your work
It is imperative to keep track of your work and your success rate. Setting up an excel makes this really easy.
Not only that but if you ever have to edit to N.A.P listings, you will have all the information you need.
For example, if your business moves to a new address, you need to change all the listings, so the SEO benefits transfer over to the new location.
Create a tab with all your business details
This will be a copy and paste tab; collate the info you need, email, password, business name, address, phone number, website URL, etc.
Each time you create a new directory entry, you can save loads of time by just copying the relevant info across to the submission form.
Create a tab with all the directories you want to apply for
Create a tab on the excel with the first column containing the URLs for the directory sites you are applying to.
Then use the next columns to notes important information about each submission:
- When was the submission made?
- Is the listing live?
- Does it have a link to your site, if so? Is it follow or nofollow?
- Is the listing indexed in Google?
Keeping track of your submissions in this way is really helpful, and if you ever want to do the same to another site, you have created a time-saving blueprint to follow.
Sign-up for each one
This is where the work starts; work your way through the spreadsheet, applying to each one, and updating your notes as you go.
You will notice that the process is very similar across many of the directories, the first couple will be a bit slower, but you should soon get the hang of it.
NOTE – Make sure that you check your email and your spam folder for sign up confirmation emails. Sometimes your listing will not go live until you have clicked this link.
Create a detailed unique listing for each directory
Do your best to make each directory submission detailed and unique, upload images, add a unique description to each one, and all the important business information.
The more good quality information you put on each one, the more likely it is to get indexed, which will help your search engine optimization efforts.
Check if the listing has gone live.
Double-check to see if your listing has gone live. Some business directories will publish straight away, some you have to click the email confirmation link, and some have to be manually reviewed and approved before publication.
Run all live listings through an indexer
In an ideal world, all of your directory listings would be indexed in Google to ensure you are getting the SEO benefits for them.
So using an indexer to help speed up and improve the process of Google indexation is a good idea.
Wait a while and check your approvals and indexing rates.
After doing all your submissions, leave it a couple of weeks and then come back and check how they are all doing:
- Are all of the listings live? If not, do some need more attention, or are they just stuck in a queue?
- Do any of the listings need to be improved now you are looking at them with a fresh eye?
- Are all the live URLs indexed in Google? If not, which ones should you run through the indexer again?
Obviously, as you go through this process, you can update your excel spreadsheet notes and then come back again in another couple of weeks to tidy up any final loose ends.
What About Niche and Local Citations?
The list of UK directories shared above only contains nationwide and non-niche specific websites for you to submit to.
But I strongly advise that you also submit to a similar number of local and niche directories if you can find them.
If you are a gardening store based in Essex, you should try to find ten to fifteen business directories specializing in the gardening niche.
Also, do your best to find local directories just focusing on your little pat of the UK. By doing this, you can send some niche and geo location relevance signals to your site and your GMB listing.
(By the way, please click here if you want to know what is an SEO audit?)
Google My Business and Other Map Listings
Adding your business information to the big three map listings is another vital part of your overall local SEO strategy.
Google My Business
Create a Google My Business listing adding all the relevant information about your business and some nice images.
Then Google will send you a PIN to the business address, you use the PIN to confirm your listing, and it goes live.
For any business that can do this, I always highly recommend it. Even for national SEO, having that PIN verified listing is a huge trust signal for your main website.
Bing Places for Business
A nice touch here is that you can be important your Google my Business listing to your Bing Places for Business listing.
This is a big time-saver, and once the entry has been manually approved, it will go live on Bing Maps.
Apple Maps Connect
Create an account, verify the account via the email link, and then create a business entry. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of this site. I find it really glitchy and annoying to use.
So I suggest you give it a go but don’t sweat it if you can get this one approved. It’s not the end of the world, you can still rank without it!
What Else Can You Do to Rank Your Website?
Well, one thing you could think about doing is hiring me as your own UK-based specialist, freelance SEO consultant.
All I do is SEO. I deliberately specialize in this one area of digital marketing to do the very best possible job for my clients.
If you have any questions about search engine optimization and how it can improve your business, please contact me here.
Last Updated on November 21, 2021