Can someone clue me in on the local directory thing?

by Ben Roy 14 replies
What was it, a year or two ago? There was a big flare up in the local directory creation business, or maybe just in bringing the IM knowledge and expertise to more of the brick and mortar businesses. Or at least it seemed that way from all the posts flying around. I still see the occasional question or offhand comment but it's nearly as prevalent now.

Anyway, to get to the point, I'm wondering if someone could give me the executive summary. I'm imagining it's something like "I'm going to build a portal for snow removal services in Wisconsin". So I get a decent domain name, I build out a few pages, do a little SEO, get ranked for "snow removal wisconsin" and "wisconsin snow removal" and the like, and then sell page space to local companies that do snow removal. Is that about right?

What I'm really curious about is how the ranking for keywords thing works when it's a directory. Normally I'd turn to writing articles, but what do you do in this case? Write articles about snow removal in Wisconsin? Or do you skip the article thing and just use social bookmarking, directory listings, etc?
#main internet marketing discussion forum #clue #directory #local #thing
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Shook
    Build your individual pages for wisconsin city snow removal services. Submit an article for each. Build a squidoo lens for each. Build a hubpage for each. Then bookmark each of them. Use Pete's and Karen's RSS ideas and submit all the RSS feeds for each of your pages and your sites.

    Get Kansieo's Caffeinated content plugin. Set it up on a blog on the same domain as your snow removal service site to post about snow and bad weather and drop a link into each post from your pages, your 3rd party sites and your rss feeds.

    Set up some wordpress.com blogs and import your xml files from your main blog with your posts into those blogs. Bookmark those posts and use the RSS feeds to populate your lenses and your hubpages.

    Use your traffic figures to sell ad space on your portal.

    HTH
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  • Profile picture of the author Ben Roy
    Thanks for the reply. I guess what I'm struggling with is exactly what kind of content you'd create for that kind of thing. Just write about the general topic, but use the localization terms in the post and link text?
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  • Profile picture of the author threeg5
    Originally Posted by hummusx View Post

    What was it, a year or two ago? There was a big flare up in the local directory creation business, or maybe just in bringing the IM knowledge and expertise to more of the brick and mortar businesses. Or at least it seemed that way from all the posts flying around. I still see the occasional question or offhand comment but it's nearly as prevalent now.

    Anyway, to get to the point, I'm wondering if someone could give me the executive summary. I'm imagining it's something like "I'm going to build a portal for snow removal services in Wisconsin". So I get a decent domain name, I build out a few pages, do a little SEO, get ranked for "snow removal wisconsin" and "wisconsin snow removal" and the like, and then sell page space to local companies that do snow removal. Is that about right?

    What I'm really curious about is how the ranking for keywords thing works when it's a directory. Normally I'd turn to writing articles, but what do you do in this case? Write articles about snow removal in Wisconsin? Or do you skip the article thing and just use social bookmarking, directory listings, etc?
    I would write down everything that I could think of and then Prioritze that list.
    And there would of course be variables by how you break it down.
    Such as I would list all from the above, individually. I would find the local "hot chat lines" the ones you see late night on tv and advertise there. The local chat website. The city website (the .org one) Get links from these to your site. I KNOW THAT YOU WILL GET MAJOR GOOGLE POINTS FOR THE >ORG LINK. The Local Paper basically I would just advertise your site locally. If you are in a "Big City" then I would hit up the local paper to do a Story on your site. Of course they know it's a plug for you, but hey, it's a story for them.

    These are the things that I would do if I were to do something that was geared toward offline business.
    I personally know of someone who has a link to her site from a City (.org) page. It took her site from a PR 1 to a PR 3 in 4 days. Her page is a redirect to a lose weight clickbank product. She has a Myspace page that is "hercityweightloss" and she also created a site at Ning and it is also "hercityweightloss" and she is now sitting MUCH more comfortable.
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    • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
      Personally I'd be inclined to get a small business willing to pay you to help them with their internet marketing then just create a website for them that ranks high for the local keyword phrases that suggest someone is looking for their product or service.

      That way you know you're going to get paid BEFORE you do any work.

      In fact you should take 50% in advance before you start so you actually do get paid before you do any work.

      Now if you want to launch out into creating local directories there is value in that and if you're choosing your keyword phrases well almost any content (even content that just describes the services a business offers) will rank high on Google for a long tail local keyword phrase.

      It also helps if your domain matches the local area in some way so it combines easily with those local keyword phrases (although some people are doing well even without having a location matching domain).

      At present a high percentage of local search terms are not very competitive. Some don't have any relevant content at all so the market is wide open.

      If you want to get paid though you really should focus your efforts on how you're going to get local business owners to pay you for listings or for helping them with their internet marketing.

      That's where the money is made.

      Kindest regards,
      Andrew Cavanagh
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  • Profile picture of the author Dave777
    Here's sitesell's excellent Free ebook on local etc. for ideas (without my affiliate links) Don't worry too much about the upsell. There's all kinds of money making potential in developing well focused local web concepts using wordpress and blogging.
    Local Business Masters Course

    In case you haven't searched through some of the archives. Definitely worth reviewing and checking things out and more great info if you dig a little deeper...
    http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...directory.html
    http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...e-offline.html
    http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-...ge-report.html

    If anyone happens to be interested in searching out and studying Local sites and ideas. A few of the best Local search research tools to help find them...
    Placeblogger | Blogging about places
    Metblogs
    Blogdigger Local: See what they're saying in your neck of the woods!

    Dave
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    • Profile picture of the author Keith Boisvert
      As far as directories/portals go the options are wide open.

      Some people are creating a generic directory for their town, and populating each niche(ie dentists, accountants, auto sales etc) with free listings that include a business name, address and phone number.

      On that same page they will try to get someone to go for paid advertising, which could include only a banner(instead of just text) and/or a page on the website about their business. The goal here is to help promote those with websites by driving traffic to their site by your site being ranked better and higher, OR for those without sites to create a mini site on your portal for them. This could also lead to you offering to create a site for them as well as other services.

      You can also create what I call niche portals which focus on a niche, not a broad range of businesses. This also works but you are limited by income because you obviously don't want to have more than one of a business. Example, snow removal. You want to be able to help a company get more sales by their site or service showing up on your site in the rankings for their keyphrase. What happens when you have more than one snow removal company? You can't get all of them on page one.. well you could...but someone has to be first and then the others will get pissed.

      There are so many different ways to attack this niche, and all can be profitable if approached correctly.

      I do agree with Andrew that there is more money is offering web services than in portals, but it all depends on your limitations(ie: fear of selling face to face, skill set etc)

      As far as content goes, you can still approach things like you were article marketing if you like, but it depends on your directory goal. If your directory is just going to be ablut "snow removal" and want companies to advertise, then yeah, articles and content would be good. However, I think you would be limiting your income potential this way, as opposed to using your site to create content based around the actual snow removal company.

      Probably doesn't make too much sense, but hopefully you get the idea.

      Keith
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      • Profile picture of the author Tina M. Rideout
        Hey all,

        I just jumped into the local business directory idea.

        My directory is #1 on Google for the key word and domain I selected. This happened in just a matter of weeks. As I am still adding content etc.

        I took a different approach, well maybe not unique, but it is working.

        I started out with a Word Press Blog. Then I am attaching the directory listings to it. All posts will have links to relevant directory listings, ie, attorney, real estate, home improvement etc.

        I am adding basic listings free. then offering a couple of different web listing packages.

        I approached several different business types, asked them if I could develop a website for them using their businesses as my model for the webpages.

        I researched the top 12 yellow page searches, and am focusing on those niches first.

        So if you want to focus on snow removal only then this might be an approach that would work well for you.

        Still "under construction" but you can have a look here.

        QCA Business Directory

        Tina
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      • Profile picture of the author ShayB
        I did a local directory for lady entrepreneurs in my town. Got 2 media spots and the phone rang off the hook!

        Local media are always looking for stories! Put a slant on why they should run a story (what the local interest is), and pitch it to someone at the local stations.

        In my case, I went to the websites of each local television station and read the bio clips for each reporter. I found one reporter at each station that I thought might be interested in running the story and sent a personalized email and a press release.

        One reporter emailed me back and passed the info to her producer. The rest, as they say, is history.
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        "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships called Enterprise." ~Commander Riker
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      • Profile picture of the author JL Melvin
        The possibilities with Portals/Directories or Offline marketing are endless - just do a search at the forum here and visit LocalBizBuilders Forum - you'll find enough Solid information to make your head spin.

        I've done some local web design for a small town bicycle shop that's ranking in the SE's for their key phrases and they love it. I set them up using WordPress as a CMS - it was too easy and I'm a total "Artistically, Graphically, challenged Person". You can read the case study at my signature link.

        Currently I have a local portal I'm launching. It's not the end all solution to my "Offline" marketing, but a tool to get my foot in the door to local businesses.

        The key is to achieve some local success with keywords and then offer your services to local businesses. Too many times marketers tend to spout off about the things they can do with no real proof.

        As I build the local rankings for my portal I'll continue to build the "Proof" for local businesses and gain their confidence - then I can show them how to capture the "Local Targeted Traffic!"

        If you're at all thinking about getting into the local directory market then TEST it. For less than $25 you can get a domain, set-up a blog, and start targeting local phrases. I've been ranked on the front page of Google in less than a week. If it doesn't work out for you you're not out a lot of cash.

        Just my two cents...

        Press ON To Success,

        Jeff
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  • Profile picture of the author ShayB
    Originally Posted by hummusx View Post

    What was it, a year or two ago? There was a big flare up in the local directory creation business, or maybe just in bringing the IM knowledge and expertise to more of the brick and mortar businesses. Or at least it seemed that way from all the posts flying around. I still see the occasional question or offhand comment but it's nearly as prevalent now.

    Anyway, to get to the point, I'm wondering if someone could give me the executive summary. I'm imagining it's something like "I'm going to build a portal for snow removal services in Wisconsin". So I get a decent domain name, I build out a few pages, do a little SEO, get ranked for "snow removal wisconsin" and "wisconsin snow removal" and the like, and then sell page space to local companies that do snow removal. Is that about right?

    What I'm really curious about is how the ranking for keywords thing works when it's a directory. Normally I'd turn to writing articles, but what do you do in this case? Write articles about snow removal in Wisconsin? Or do you skip the article thing and just use social bookmarking, directory listings, etc?
    If you are making a directory for an entire state, you can approach things differently.

    Are you planning something for the whole state or for a more localized area?
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    "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships called Enterprise." ~Commander Riker
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    • Profile picture of the author Ben Roy
      Originally Posted by Shay60654 View Post

      If you are making a directory for an entire state, you can approach things differently.

      Are you planning something for the whole state or for a more localized area?
      Actually, neither of the above. I was really just looking to get some insight into how people were approaching these things. There's a bunch of great info in this thread and I really appreciate everyone's help.

      I do have a potential client that fell into my lap. They are going to want to rank well in localized searches (probably the city level), and I haven't ever concentrated on that kind of thing so any and all information is useful.
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      • Profile picture of the author ShayB
        Originally Posted by hummusx View Post

        Actually, neither of the above. I was really just looking to get some insight into how people were approaching these things. There's a bunch of great info in this thread and I really appreciate everyone's help.

        I do have a potential client that fell into my lap. They are going to want to rank well in localized searches (probably the city level), and I haven't ever concentrated on that kind of thing so any and all information is useful.
        The local area is much easier to do than statewide.

        I will help as much as I can. Feel free to pm me.
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        "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships called Enterprise." ~Commander Riker
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by hummusx View Post

        Actually, neither of the above. I was really just looking to get some insight into how people were approaching these things. There's a bunch of great info in this thread and I really appreciate everyone's help.

        I do have a potential client that fell into my lap. They are going to want to rank well in localized searches (probably the city level), and I haven't ever concentrated on that kind of thing so any and all information is useful.
        For ideas on content, check the local "lifestyle" magazines. The slick, glossy ones and the cheap tabloid ones. One common theme running through them is profiles of local businesses coupled to a more general theme article.

        For example, I just pulled one out my stack. Yes, I save them (hint, hint). The theme for the issue is local food. There are articles on preparing seafood, how to tell when citrus is ripe (sniff the end where the stem attached), a few recipes and profiles of a handful of local restaurants.

        Funny thing is, each of those restaurants has a prominent ad in the magazine. Coincidence? You decide...

        Which begs the question, which came first? The profile or the ad?
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  • Profile picture of the author estateguy
    Very impressive posts gang... keep up the good work.
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