Should I Pay For A Listing In A Niche Specific Directory?
by Jo Shaer, on July 12, 2014
One of our clients received an email from a new, start up directory for personal trainers. They asked us if we thought it was worth paying for listing there.
There were no actual guarantees that they would get him work but they were offering him an area of 100,000 people where if someone typed in their postcode, only his business would come up as the closest personal trainer. And they were hoping to get him 50 clients per year plus assorted other benefits.
It would cost £10/month.
The problems for any start up business - directory or otherwise - is that they need to show up on the front page of Google for relevant searches.
How directories work for the businesses paying to list in them
- For a directory to be of any value to the businesses paying to be listed on it, the directory must show up on the front page of Google for the searches that are relevant to that business.
- And then people need to trust that directory sufficiently to click on it.
- And then those same people have to search through the businesses that have paid varying amounts of money to be listed there.
Could a listing in a niche-specific directory help my business to get more customers?
In order for it to be of any benefit to you in search, THEY have to be on the front page for lots of searches relating to personal trainers.
Doing a search for personal trainers near me, 8 established directories came up in the ten available spots for organic search so that would mean that this new directory would probably need to pay for Google Adwords in order to get a position on the front page. And how many people actually click on those adverts at the very top and down the side of each search results page?
There are several versions of this type of niche specific directory in the therapy world. My masseur had a listing with one and got about four enquiries from it, only one of which actually paid out so it didn't cover the cost of his membership. Whereas the acupuncturist who had recommended the directory said he got lots of work!
So you need to work out whether any of the other benefits offered are worthwhile to you as a business.
And how many clients would you have to get from it to offset £120 annual membership?
The 100,000 people postcode lottery could be a problem if you live in an area where there are a lot of pensioners... are you really going to get in front of your target market? It could be that the people in the postcode next door are far more likely to be your customers but if that location has been sold to another personal trainer, they will never see you.
How do people search for local suppliers?
Personally, I know if I was looking for a personal trainer, I would google personal trainer and compare the list of local suppliers. And I would ask my friends for recommendations.
I certainly would not click on a niche specific directory and choose the one person offered in my area who had paid to be shown to me...
Why your Google My Business listing is much better for local search terms
Google My Business was developed by Google to help local businesses to rank above their national competitors. There is a specific section on the search results page for most keywords dedicated to local businesses. And this shows up on mobiles as well as PCs.
In many cases, you would be better off investing your money in getting your Google My Business listing set up correctly so that it gives Google all the information that it needs to rank you on the front page without having to rely on the efforts of a directory - niche specific or otherwise.
Should I pay for a listing in a niche specific directory?
On the plus side, IF they allow you to list your website address, it would be a niche-specific back link to your site - something that Google likes to see. But it might not be a very authoritative link and it will cost you £120 per year for the privilege.
But the thing that really put both of us off was the fact that the introductory email didn't even address the business owner by name - and his name is mentioned on the front page of his website four times.
If these people were really serious about working with individual businesses towards greater success - as they promised in their email, wouldn't they have taken the time to personalise the initial invitation?