Depending on your given industry, there are likely to be several online directories that offer to list you on their site as a paid service. Many of our medical SEO clients performing cosmetic surgery are inundated every week with online companies vying for their hard-earned dollars. Some of these directories get a lot of traffic and can do a good job of sending some of those visitors your way. Others, while they may look good on the surface, aren’t worth the money they are asking for the listing. How do you figure out if it’s worth it? Follow these steps:
1) Get Detailed Traffic Metrics – It’s great when a directory tells you they have one million visits to their site each month, but how many are in your market? Get them to spell out specifics for your industry and market. You want eyeballs that pertain to you.
2) Ask about Their Own SEO – If you sign up on their directory, you need to know what work they are doing to get ranked in your market for the terms people are searching for. After all, if they don’t rank well, why do you need them? They need to tell you what they are doing to market their directory successfully.
3) Ask about Content Contributions – You probably know by now that publishing your content in multiple places is good for your SEO. Ask if the directory supports you adding industry related content to their site or blog. Most sites are hungry for good topical content so it doesn’t hurt to ask. It will benefit you both.
4) Establish a Value for Leads – Determine how much each lead is worth to you and figure out how many you need from the directory based on their cost. For instance, if a lead is worth $100 and the directory is $300/mo, then you need at least 3 leads per month for this directory to make sense.
5) Don’t Buy the “Show Specials” – If you are at an industry event, you’ll likely see many directories there trying to get your attention and they probably have some “too good to be true” opportunity if you sign up on the spot at the show. DON’T DO IT! Get the information and go home and do your homework first. Chances are your web vendor can negotiate the same price from the show if not better for you.
6) Evaluate the Contract Term – No one loves getting roped into long-term contracts. But contracts are the name of the game for practically all directory investments. That said, you may still have some room to negotiate the contract term or perhaps a few other relevant details. It never hurts to ask for a shorter term and make it clear that you are happy to continue with the investment after that if you are seeing value.
7) Ask Your Web Vendor – Hopefully you are working with someone who knows at least a little bit about your actual industry. If so, ask them about directory opportunities. We work with dozens of clients in the cosmetic and plastic surgery industry and have a great pulse on what works and what doesn’t for our clients. Hopefully your web vendor also has spent the time to learn what is working well and what isn’t in your industry and will help you track your success.
If you decide to move forward with investing in an online directory, be sure to take the necessary steps to track that investment. For a couple of bucks a month you can get a trackable phone number that you only use on that directory and it’s very easy to set up tracking in Google Analytics. (Your web vendor can help you do this so just ask.) At the end of the day, put your own tracking in place. Don’t rely on the metrics the directory gives you – they aren’t always as accurate as you need and can often be skewed to their advantage.