What makes a directory valuable?


Zhivko

Forum Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2019
Messages
5
Hello everyone,

I am working on a business directory for dentists. My job is to make sure it really provides value for dentists and they will benefit from having a profile there. Obviously, this has to do with how the directory is optimized for search engines.

I would love to hear from you what are the most important factors that make a business directory "high-quality". (I mean, besides the leads it can generate, because our directory is still new and hardly have any quality traffic.)

Here is my checklist which I have covered already:

  1. Easy registration - I know that's important especially for agencies doing citation building in bulk.
  2. No spam and fake profiles - This is especially important for us. For now, we do manual approval for every listing and profile verification is done through a mobile app. (which is way simpler than phone calls, imo, and just as reliable if not even more.)
  3. Content Rich Profile Pages - we want to have as much information as possible in addition to the NAP. Images, short description, long description, categories, website, links to social channels, working hours, etc. (Basically, everything that can be marked with schema)
  4. Structured Data for Dentists - Every piece of information, entered by the dentist, is properly marked with Schema. This should help Google understand them better.
  5. Structured Data for Reviews and Rating - We use Schema to mark up all the reviews and ratings for each dentists.
  6. Location pages with static, pretty URLs that Google can crawl and index - this turned out to be particularly hard for someone with no experience but I think I got it right at the end. Especially for search results pages which are generated automatically. For example, when someone searches for "dentists in [location]", "[location] dentists", etc I want the page that generates to be "/dentists-in-[location]/". And then, in order for Google to read those pages, I had to link to each and every one of them. The result is that the directory competes for those keywords, not just for the dentist's names.
  7. Keywords in Titles, Descriptions, URLs, Image alt tags.
And I think that's it. Some other things that I think people appreciate are:

  1. High DA
  2. Free registration
  3. Dofollow links
Am I missing something? Is there anything else I should take care of?

The directory is live but we are still working hard on it. The main problem right now is how to make dentists fill their profiles. If I make too many fields mandatory, I am afraid they just won't finish their registration. If I don't make them mandatory, they will leave them empty. And I really need text on those pages if they are to rank anywhere near the first page. I am now in the process of adding "encouraging tool-tips" like "Adding a short description will help you get more leads". And we will have a "bar" that shows that "your profile is finished at 87%". And we will eventually send out emails encouraging them to come back and fill their profile... Any other ideas?

Thank you!
 

Colan Nielsen

Administrator
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
3,042
I think you nailed some good stuff down so far.

I'd add that you need a good support system. By this I mean a way to contact the site and someone who actually replies.

Good luck! You're entering a very competitive space.
 

Yan Gilbert

Administrator
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
146
Looks like you have most of the important things covered. I can't think of anything else really, except maybe to connect with other link building services to make sure your site is on their list.
 

Zhivko

Forum Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2019
Messages
5
I'd add that you need a good support system. By this I mean a way to contact the site and someone who actually replies.
Hm, this is in place but I didn't realize it is something that adds value... You are right, of course. It is not within my responsibilities, for sure, but I might try to make it more "obvious" to users that we have this. : )

Looks like you have most of the important things covered. I can't think of anything else really, except maybe to connect with other link building services to make sure your site is on their list.
Thanks, yes, I am actually trying to do that. So far, I got a confirmation from a company called Loganix that they will use our directory. And MOZ said they might add it to their list when they decide to update it (which might not happen any time soon). I am pretty sure I will get OptiLocal to use us, 'cause I know them personally.

My biggest hope is to get included in BrightLocal's and WhiteSpark's lists but they probably get hundreds of such requests a day, so I am not sure how this will work out.

Not much progress so far, as you can see. Most seem to ignore my emails (like I would if I was them, no judging here) and I am not good at being annoying on twitter. I keep telling myself that it takes time. Got any tips? : )
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
2,399
I think before dentists will care about the site, there has to be some level of traffic. People are becoming more focused these days on citations that rank organically on Google or send them referral traffic. I think for a directory to break through the noise, it needs to offer something the others do not. What is your site going to offer that the other directories currently don't give?
 

Zhivko

Forum Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2019
Messages
5
Hello @JoyHawkins

I thought about this a lot when I started. Dentists want a directory with users. Users want a directory with dentists. It is an egg or chicken problem.

To dentists, I can at least offer the SEO benefits of being listed on yet another niche directory. It might not be much but it is something. This is what I try to focus on.

My ambition is that the profile pages will rank well for searches like "[dentist name] + reviews". This should bring our first organic traffic. But for that to happen, I need dentists to create their profiles first.

To users, I don't know what to offer. What good an empty directory can be? We do have a rewards system in place - both for dentists and users. But it doesn't help with getting organic traffic.

We will eventually have a blog and probably get some traffic from long-tail searches but it's not really a solution.

Also, thanks everyone for joining the discussion, this is helping me rethink everything again and forces me to try different perspectives, you've been very helpful! : )
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
2,399
One that you should definitely look at for inspiration is HomeStars. They are a huge niche directory in Canada. I have no idea how they built their brand awareness but contractors in this area get SO much traffic from it and it drives an insane amount of conversions. Kind of like how Yelp is to restaurants. Part of me thinks they must have some type of PR or outreach strategy that supersedes SEO but I haven't looked into it.

I know the company I worked for prior to starting my agency started a directory and the hardest thing was getting authority and links.
 

Zhivko

Forum Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2019
Messages
5
I checked HomeStars. It gave me this idea that I should promote the directory on a local level, city by city. And grow it from there. This should be much easier. I will just use Facebook and Google ads to target dentists in specific locations.

I don't see why this won't work.

Btw, I heard back from BrightLocal, they said they will use my directory once it gets bigger, hooray! : )
 

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