Quality online directories are more important than ever.

Online directories are more important than ever, and they provide a needed space for both local businesses and consumers. But how directories show up in Google’s search engine has changed a lot over the past few years. If you want consumers and businesses to be able to find your online directory, it needs to be high-quality and maintain a high standard.

So there must be some traits and characteristics that distinguish a high-quality online directory from a not-so-high-quality online directory — but what are they?

Traits of a High-Quality Directory

If your directory isn’t appearing in Google Search, it can’t offer much to the businesses listed with you, which will make it harder to attract traffic and new listings. So what traits will Google and users be looking for?

High-quality directories should always have a professional website with quality images. Content should always be edited and proofread to ensure there are no typos or spelling mistakes and that the grammar is correct. The website should be user-friendly, and navigating through the directory should be as painless as possible.

With 2020 approaching, making sure your online directory’s website is mobile-friendly is more important than ever. As of 2018, over 58% of the time spent on websites came from mobile users. If the online directory isn’t mobile-friendly, it could be missing out on nearly half of it’s potential online traffic. Some directories even develop apps to expand their accessibility to mobile users.

What Should Quality Online Directories Offer Businesses?

Consumers visiting the directory who are looking for a local business need to be able to find whatever information they’re looking for, whether it’s the address, phone number or the hours they’re open. Consumers also turn to online directories to find reviews of local businesses, so having a feature where users are able to post business reviews on the directory will be a big win.

An ideal business directory should allow as many of the following elements as possible for their business listings:

  • Logo
  • Business Name
  • Phone Number
  • Address
  • Website URL
  • Map & Directions
  • Business Photos
  • Business Categories
  • Business Description
  • Keywords
  • User Reviews
  • Operational Hours
  • Payment Methods Accepted

Signs of a Low-Quality Directory

Not all directories are created equal in the eyes of Google. In fact, Google has stated that low-quality directory bookmark site links can be considered a violation of their guidelines, which could lead to a directory being deindexed by Google — and that’s the last thing anyone wants.

Google and consumers will notice if the website or domain name makes it clear that the primary purpose of the directory is building links (ex., getfreelisting.com and similar domains). Other obvious signs are if the website contains text like “Add Your URL” or “Submit a Link” with no other process or features.

Below are a few other signs of a low-quality directory:

  • Low Domain Authority
  • More ads on the website than content
  • Not moderated
  • Asks for reciprocal links
  • Domain has been deindexed by Google

How Does Your Online Directory Compare?

Not every directory can have everything — but how does your directory stack up against the rest? You can start by looking at other directories that are ranking highly and comparing their features with yours. See what’s working for other successful directories out there and use those insights to improve your own.

If you want to gauge the quality of your directory website and see what you can do to rank better with Google, ADP offers a directory auditing service that may be perfect for you.