Britain is a nation of small businesses. The latest statistics show that in January 2021, the UK had 5.5 million Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs; that is, with up to 49 employees), which accounts for a huge 99.2% of all business carried out in the country. SMEs actually employ 99.9% of the business population over 5.6 million businesses. In total, SMEs employ three fifths of all workers, and are responsible for half of UK private sector turnover. If you own or manage one of these small businesses, then, you’ll be very aware that you have lots of competition. In this environment, making sure you get noticed is more important than ever. In today’s online world, at the very least this means getting your company listed in a free online business directory.
Free Google Business Listings
As a way into the world of online listings, probably the easiest step to take is to use the free service offered by Google, by far the world’s most popular search engine. The free to use site has a “My Business” feature, which takes you step by step through what Google needs to list your business. This is easily done, and just entails entering your business’s physical address (so Google can show it on Google Maps), the type of business you run and, most importantly of all, your own website address. Using this service takes a few minutes, and once Google has these basic details, you can add to them in your own time, to highlight exactly what products and services you offer, and why you might be a better option for customers than your competitors. It is often small details which make the difference, so taking your time over these is well worth it.
While being visible on Google is always a good idea, after this it pays to be selective. Just because Google is free, that doesn’t mean all free business directories and listings services are the right place for you. In fact, Googling “free business directories” will produce many more sites than you should seriously consider. Whether it’s a geographical area or a business type, the chances are that Google will come up with literally hundreds of results for your search. It’s very important not to just go through the list of search results and start entering your business details on all of them, however tempting this may be. Apart from the issue of spamming, there are other details to take into consideration. This is where a reputable online directory can help people find businesses. Here you’ll find expertise in factors such as your competitors’ hosting location, the reputability of directory sites and more.
Track Your Progress
It’s important to remember that online listings and directories are marketing activities. As such, they need to be kept up to date and not left as they are, unless there is a reason to do so. One of the snags of using too many directories at the beginning is that you forget which ones you have used; in this case, it could be that many of these listings are out of date. New directory sites appear quite regularly, meaning others become redundant. Directory sites themselves are ranked by Google, so any of these which are poorly maintained will disappear off ranking lists quickly. This in turn affects the rankings of any businesses on those sites, due to the Search Optimisation Engine (SEO) mechanism, of which Google is the prime example. Of course, being on irrelevant and unranked websites will not bring any business your way; in fact, it is likely to have the opposite effect. Therefore, the more regularly your update your listings, the better.
Help With Free Business Listings
With all this in mind, you’ll be looking for a high quality, reputable online business directory . This means ensuring that each listing is targeted at exactly the right audience, and constantly monitoring this situation. Your listing should appear in its most relevant place, as a result of appropriate searches, every time. This helps your business attract customers, and the virtuous circle is that both your company and the listings site stay high in search engine rankings.