ACTION INSIGHTS : CUTTING THROUGH THE CLUTTER

Directories dominate over small business websites on Google

Huge website directories containing thousands of links and state, city, local web pages continue to proliferate online at an alarming rate. Search online for services such as roofers or lawyers chances are you will find a directory website on the 1st page of Google.

What is a business website directory?
A website directory is a repository of individual websites and/or business listings commonly offering products or services. Directories appear in Google search results when customers conduct a search for services; roofers, painters, real estate, home remodel, lawyers and so on.

Short list of directories commonly seen during a Google search include;

Air BnB
Angieslist
Avvo
BBB.org
Find Law
Home Advisor
Houzz
Hotwire
Kudzu
Local.com
Merchant Circle
Porch.com
Realestate.com
Super pages
Thumbtack
Tripadvisor
Trivago
Yellow Pages
Yelp
Yext
Whitepages
Zillow

Directories are crowding out websites in organic search results
Google searches for service based business show an alarming trend that is sure to continue if left unchecked.
Below are some examples and ratios. * Below we have searched ‘home remodelers virginia beach’.

Out of 11 organic results 5 are directories. This is not because of the lack of home remodeling web sites; rather it is the size, power and funds of the directory websites that give them the power to out-perform small business websites in Google search results.

Directories dominate over small business websites on Google

* Results will vary over Google

How do directories work for customers?
1. Directories supposedly benefit both customer and vendor by creating a clearinghouse. Customers may either search for services or post an inquiry that gets routed to a participating vendor.

2. Most directories are free to use. Some directories such as Angie’s List have an optional membership subscription that provides customers more features and tools.

How do Directories Work for Vendors?
1. Most directories allow a business to join for free; however vendors must pay to access more sales tools or have a ‘featured listing’.

2. Some directories charge the vendor a ‘fee’ for each inquiry they receive from a customer. – But at least the vendor gets to communicate directly with the customer.

3. Vendors must ‘pay’ to respond to a customer’s inquiry.

Our suggestion to the Google search team
Google could save consumers and vendors lots of time, money and aggravation by moving ‘Directory’ websites to a ‘Directory’ section in Google Search. I suspect this will never happen.

Directories dominate over small business websites on Google

There will come a day when Google top 10 search results are filled with directories and small business websites are pushed to no-mans’ land on the 2nd page of organic  search results. Or maybe service based business directories will suffer the same fate as MySpace. I hope it is a latter.

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