If you follow digital marketing and SEO trends at all, then you know that gearing your website and content toward local searchers is an excellent way to put your business in front of the best customers, local taxpayers, and small business owners. However, because of this, in recent months SERPs (search engine results pages) have changed. Google, Bing, and other search providers know that local information is important, so the SERP pages are designed to show searchers the best local results. Because of this, you may have noticed that marketplace and directory pages are taking over the SERPs.Why is this? Consider these five reasons why.
- The Sites Are Trusted – Google (and other) search engines do not share every bit of information about how they work, but one thing that is commonly known is that trusted, high-authority sites will rank higher. TaxBuzz (a marketplace site for tax professionals), for instance, has a detailed verification process in place that can tell if a review came from a verified client or not. Verified results mean that Google can trust that the information posted on the site is likely to be valid. Plus, there are plenty of high-quality links to these sites. Backlink building schemes don’t usually work, but natural, organic backlinks do show your authority and help your site rank higher on all the major search engines. Developing links is not an easy process and not something you should necessarily be paying to get. Provide quality content and build quality pages and these links will come naturally.
- The Directories Offer Reviews and Other Dynamic Content – While you may have a blog, you don’t have the same influx of reviews and other dynamic content that the directory websites have. These reviews are always changing, and they will naturally hit some of the keywords that other searchers are looking for too. People love leaving reviews. Quality reviews build up over time and help these sites perform better and better. Even negative reviews can help a company’s directory page rank higher in the search engine results.
- Marketplace Sites Provide Heavily Searched Information – These directory websites have a template design for website owners to fill. A "fill in the blanks" approach assures that every single local company has the information that customers are most likely to search for when searching online. Including information like phone number, address, business hours and other simple data makes a big difference in how the individual directory pages rank on the major search engines.
- The Marketplace Approach Puts Multiple Options on One Page - For consumers, this feature is likely the best reason to use a marketplace. A site like Yelp, TaxBuzz, or CountingWorks offers a number of businesses all on one page, in one search. This means the customer doesn't have to click through to dozens of businesses to find the right one. From an SEO standpoint, this is brilliant. It provides a wealth of useful, searchable information within the website and helps these marketplaces rank higher than standard websites.
- These Websites Are Well-Designed – Websites designed for mobile are now more likely to rank higher in the search engines. Websites that do not use outdated graphics or design techniques will rank higher too. Thumbtack, TaxBuzz and other directories don’t allow silly keyword text strings, mass spam or other information. The pages are designed with search engine results in mind. Finally, these directory sites are built to work perfectly with social media sites. It is easier for customers to share pages on social sites—and these social shares will often build a website’s authority.
Instead of worrying about why these directories are taking over search results, look at these pages and learn from them. Then, implement these tips as you revise your page. Local tax accounting firms that are taking advantage of mobile-friendliness and modern SEO techniques, rather than outdated SEO, will often rank higher too. At the end of the day, make sure YOU are listed on these web directories too. After all, does it matter if a client finds your site through your main page or from a link in a directory? When you embrace the directories and marketplaces, instead of fighting them, your will achieve the best possible results.