Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell a legitimate opportunity for a listing from scams and wastes of money. There are some basic criteria that I use to evaluate these as they cross my plate. You can do the same or simply forward them to me and I will take a look.
Key Points to Remember
Don’t want to read all this? Remember these key points:
- Google continues to devalue directory websites but relevant directories (dental sites since we are working in dentistry) still have worth in SEO.
- If you’ve heard of them, it’s probably worth a look.
- A little bit of research is a good idea.
- Consider niche directories carefully, as well as Chambers of Commerce.
- We are here to help!
Online Directories are Vestiges of an Older Internet
Random directories were popping up every day a while back, clamoring to be the next Yahoo or Google as the go-to source of information on the Web. But those wild west days of the Internet are pretty much over. The victors have emerged as Google as the clear-cut winner with Yelp, Healthgrades and various “yellow page” directories allow as distant runners-up. All other directories are lucky to get a foothold on Google if they are identified as especially trustworthy in a given niche. Aside from that, Google has greatly devalued any link we could get from catch-all directories that have no specific focus. Even the BBB, while worth being listed on as a basic citation, isn’t worth the accreditation fee just to get a link.
In dentistry, these look like LeadingDentists.com (for TMJ treatment), ImplantDirectory.com (a dental implant directory), and DentalWellness4U.com (a mercury-free dental directory). At Pro Impressions Marketing Group, we have been involved in creating a directory for FOY® Dentures at FOYDentures.comand for NuCalm providers at NuCalm.com. Apart from those, the only directories that we recommend participating in are local Chambers of Commerce directories because they usually send a strong local business signal to Google that can benefit your SEO results.
So, if you receive a solicitation to be listed on a directory, consider that the listing is highly unlikely to have any value and could even be a scam such as the listing solicitation below:
One of our members received the above letter and forwarded it to me. Its bland layout made it look somewhat official but upon closer examination with Google’s help, we discovered that this is a scam run by an individual who is fleecing many other types of professionals.
Forward Directory Opportunities to Us
If you’ve been a Pro Impressions Marketing Group member for a while, you know that our unofficial tagline is “We’re here to help!” If you receive a solicitation to be part of a new directory, please forward it to me. My team and I will research the opportunity to see if it’s worth the time and resources. More often than not, the answer will be “Let’s pass,” but occasionally we find upside in sending a positive signal to Google about local, dental relevance.
The landscape for listings has largely remained unchanged, but using online listings as an SEO tactic has changed. Google continues to lessen the value of links from websites if they are paid for- essentially just discredits them entirely. This means that online listings must be evaluated for their standalone worth to the practice. If they will bring in enough traffic and potential patient leads on their own, then they are worthwhile and any SEO benefit that they bring will be an added bonus. Some online listings are now offering some social media help as well.
Sadly, LVI Global has parted ways with the marketing company that was operating LeadingDentists.com and has elected to shutter the website. We saw lots of organic listings for LeadingDentists.com- both global (ex. tmj treatment) and local (ex. TMJ treatment Columbia SC). LeadingDentists.com also had Google Ads running, and we saw prospective patient leads generated for the offices that we managed. It’s so unfortunate that LVI decided to fold LeadingDentists.com into their main website, LVIGlobal.com. It’s even more unfortunate that they redirected the domain into the home page, rather than a patient-focused TMJ directory section of the website. It’s hard to imagine the site converting in the same way that LeadingDentists.com did, and it certainly won’t rank as well. LeadingDentists.com has already disappeared from Google rankings, and has not been replaced with LVI Google rankings.
We know that so many people need the help that these dentists can offer. At Pro Impressions, we would have loved to help evolve the Leading Dentists campaign. We contacted LVI a couple times to ask about helping but never heard back.