For many people, the Yellow Pages is a tried and tested place to go to find a business or service. This big, thick business bible with tissue thin pages used to adorn desks and coffee tables throughout the UK for many decades. Although extremely useful, perhaps not surprisingly, this form of reference is now seen as rather inconvenient; so much so that yellow pages itself is now represented online with the famous walking fingers in a bright yellow icon called Yell. While this is a very general directory, businesses often find that listing on a business directory gives them the best return for their money.

Being listed on a recognized online directory with a good reputation is an excellent way to keep up with or out perform competitors. The main advantage is that is provides instant visibility in the same place as that competition, which is exactly where you need to be. This will drive business your way and avoid the likelihood of that business going somewhere else. As well as this tried and trusted route, however, appearing on results pages itself increases your visibility, through the wonders of search engine optimisation (SEO). As customers trust the railway directory website to highlight useful businesses, this feeds into the reputation of the website, which is then recognised by Google, pushing both the online directory and the businesses on it up search rankings.

Much like yellow pages, a business owner has to actively register their company to be listed on the online directory, in conjunction with a web address. By being as accurate as possible and finding the right category, this ensures your business appears as a search result which perfectly matches the search itself. This both ensures that the potential customer is presented with exactly what they’re looking for, and that Google registers this match. The most useful result of an entered search is precisely what search engines look for when ranking web pages and sites. If your site then attracts positive feedback by customers, this pushes your business even further up the rankings, and ahead of your competitors.

There are different ways for online directories to structure their listings. The two most common, however, are those which cover a particular area of the country, or those which focus on specific types of business. Which of these is most appropriate will depend very much on what type of product and / or service your business provides. As such, the potential customer will also vary their search to cover one or other of these criteria. For instance, someone looking for a high value item such as jewellery is unlikely to care where it comes from; therefore, a jewellery business will list itself as part of a business type search rather than geographic location. Alternatively, a window cleaner will want to appear in listings which cover exactly their locality, usually found by entering a postcode.

What information you choose to place in a listing can also vary quite considerably. Obviously, some basics will be required when registering, such as website, social media links, physical address and phone number. After this however, there are many options available. Photographs, for example, may be especially useful for particular products. However, it may be that a company has a high turnover and volume of products, in which case a physical visit to the premises is recommended. Once on site, customers can often find bargains when buying in bulk. It is essential to remember, however, that photographs and descriptions of products must be updated regularly, both for customer satisfaction and to avoid legal action.

A reputable online service helps people find businesses by helping ensure the right type of listing is advertised, using the correct criteria. By prioritising either location or business type, search results are kept as useful as possible, which benefits businesses directly and has the added bonus of improving SEO rankings, which is a virtuous cycle any business owner should want. Of course, as businesses develop, so listings can be changed to follow suit. Perhaps your company is widening its area of coverage as it grows, and listings need to reflect these new towns, cities or postcodes; or it could be that a new product has come online which puts you in competition with businesses you were not previously. By keeping listings up to date, up to the minute, every appropriate search will result in visibility for your website and business.