What secrets directories keep from you can cost a lot in finding you on the web. Let’s talk about category directories. What do I mean by category directory? Law, lawyer, process server are category directories with dedicated sites. Like law.com.
Why on earth would you pay someone to build THEIR presence using YOUR media content? That is one of many secrets directories keep from you. When you pay those process server directories to list your company you are helping them more than yourself. Plus you have no control over what gets published, how it looks and what your company is all about. Yes you are a process server or a process server agency but you are more than that. You have your own distinct brand, market presence, philosophies, customers service goals and personality.
My Advice to Law Firms: Own Your Media, Don’t Rent It
Law firms and legal marketers are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars paying companies like American Lawyer Media, Law 360, JD Supra, Mondaq, Avvo and others for the privilege of placing their content on these third party publications or distribution services. The reason law firms are willing to pay for this is to expand their reach. These publications and services have created extensive distribution networks and are (at least in theory) widely read by in-house counsel and others in the legal industry. They promise to expose content to the law firm’s target audience and reach thousands of eyeballs.
The problem with this approach from our perspective is that law firms are paying these publications and services to help build audience for the third party publishers but not for the law firm itself. Without valuable law firm content these syndication services would not exist. Even trade publications like The American Lawyer and The National Law Journal would be much flimsier and skinnier publications without law firm contributors, as round after round of editorial layoffs have left these publications increasingly dependent on externally sourced content
Today it is inexpensive to build a web site, build a following on Twitter, Facebook and any other social media. When you rely on a directory two things happen. One is you have no control over the media, your directory does. Two, when you do use social media you are fighting the directories and helping the directories at the same time.
Blogging is inexpensive and just takes a few minutes to write about what you want to write about. Not what the directory feels is important, then leave a comment. When you use a category directory blog, you help them build the audience and help them build a stronger presence. Why not use that power for yourself and let the same category help you instead of helping the directories. Start your own blog and write about the topics you want to write about and watch your web presence grow and grow. Also when you contribute to blogs on directories you help their blog more than your own.
Photos are less time consuming and can generate great results. Yes, when you take a great picture upload it on Pinterest with your brand or a process serving spin and you are done. Do it every day and watch your internet presence grow and grow.
Video is another free media that can be helpful but it does take commitment and time to shoot, publish and upload. But the results are powerful and you direct the content, feel and professionalism of your videos. On a directory, they do. Usually with “guest” speakers or they may interview you. Once again, the major benefit goes to the directory.
Here at ServerLinks.com, we don’t even like being on the “free” directories. We have sent numerous emails to those free directories to take us down. I wonder why they don’t? My Company Name, address, telephone number and etc helps their presence and not so much mine! They could actually hurt you more than anything because most are put up as a cheap way to SEO there own way to the top of the organic (free) searches. They could care less about you. Plus, if they get penalized it reflects badly on you and your site.
Go ahead, take a close look at those directories. Keep in mind that a big key to SEO is back links. Look at the directories and see who is back linked. Yes, you will see site 1 linking to site 2, site 3 and maybe more. Then site 2 linking to site 1 and site 3. Site 3 linking to site 1 and site 2. Usually under the guise of a different but related categories. Yes your listing helps but when the directories have relatively the same or related categories, your are unknowingly helping all their sites grow.
Now, Google your industry in the major markets. These directories are slipping down the google search page results because companies in that market are getting more savvy. And I think Google and the other search engines have always wanted to give the local first choice over a directory. But you have to give the search engines the right reasons to choose the local over the directories. This is why you see the Google Business and local companies right after the Pay Per Click sites.
So, use Google +, Facebook, Twitter, a blog or who ever you like. A lot of my friends have asked me how I find the time to do all this. Well, I don’t. If you use Google +, you can post at the same time to other social media sites. Just research it. As far as leaving a comment on a blog. Don’t! Use the topic and blog your own opinion on it.
Am I saying to drop the directories immediately and go out on your own. Well it depends how much revenue the directories generate for you today. If they generate some revenue then keep them but build on your own web presence slowly and eventually you can drop them. Especially if you are in a competitive or major marketplace. If you are not in a competitive or major market, then the transition from “paid” to organic will be much faster.
For back links, use your own network of sites. If you think about how many people you know in your industry it is probably quite a few. What about companies you refer. Right there is your back link strategy. Trade linking with one or more of their posts or pages and visa versa. If you do this with five or more other sites you are on your way to establishing your own internet presence.
This article just touches on the secrets directories keep from you. Research this topic yourself and you will be amazed on how they need you a lot more than you need them. In fact, they should be paying you to list you!