How do I find quality local directories?
Before making any decisions about which local directories are best for your business, from a time to results standpoint, it's a good idea to make sure you're looking at quality sources. While some online directories are little more than thinly-veiled spam sites, there are plenty of honest, well-run local citation sources that are worth pursuing, but how do we know which ones are truly worth our time?
While it might seem like a no-brainer to consider the incoming search traffic of a prospect, the funny thing is that often times 90% of the traffic going to directory sites is from digital marketing agencies and NOT your target customers. If it was 1995 then surely some of these directory sites would still be relevant to the searcher, but the fact is that only a small number of influential niche directories still exist in 2021. Instead of traffic, due to the potential local SEO boost, we're more concerned if Google is crawling these local citation sites regularly. There are a few ways we can find directories that provide local citations, with the first method below being the preferred method due to the fact that we're ensuring high-ranking relevancy.
Let's get the important ones out of the way first using my preferred method! Start by simply Googling “your industry in location” and see if any citation sites are ranking in the top 50 results (relevancy tends to drop off after 5rd SERP) and have a Moz spam score of <10. From an SEO perspective, if the directory site is relevant to the search query then it's relevant enough to be listed on. To accomplish this you'll need a couple of free tools:
● The gInfinity Chrome extension along with a little Ctrl+f action● MozBar
Want more? Conduct a Google search using advanced search operators such as these to find hyper-relevant local directories in your niche:
site:.edu keyword + "directories"intitle:add+url "keyword"intitle:submit+site "keyword"intitle:submit+url "keyword"intitle:add+your+site "keyword"intitle:list "keyword"intitle:sites "keyword"intitle:top+niche
For example, if we search intitle:top+Healthcare+Digital+Marketing+Agencies we see the following:
Unless all your competitors are listed on UpCity, we'll be skipping them here because they have a reciprocal link program that could be seen as an "excessive link exchange" scheme by Google. Instead, if like us, you're a digital marketing agency with extensive experience in the healthcare niche, then DesignRush's list of the top 30 healthcare digital marketing agencies looks like the best most legit option here for local citation building.
Alternatively, you can find a list of niche directories here, but realize that there are a number of lists just like this one available online if you simply search for them.
Note: You can also use advanced search operators to find incomplete or outdated/incorrect NAP citations that may be hurting your local SEO.
Incomplete example: “Business name” + “partial address” -”correct phone number”Incorrect example: “Business name” + “partial address” +”old/incorrect phone number”
Directories by location
Locating directories for local citations by country and city can be a little more challenging. By far the best way to accomplish this is to Google and combine lists that you find online. To get you started you can find a full list of the most popular or important citation sources in the United States here, and you can click here if you're outside the US. You'll want to build out your local citations list on a spreadsheet so that you can easily keep track of your citations and remove duplicates when you combine lists.
At SEO SEMPER we've been building up our directory list for years, and in doing so, we have 10's of thousands of manually verified quality spam-free local citation sites in various counties and niches that we're certain Google crawls regularly and sees as niche-relevant. We use our internal citations list to better serve our monthly SEO clients on an ongoing basis as we're constantly updating and reworking the list for quality reasons.