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(NHC) has composed a quick introduction to the world of online directories - what to look for, what to avoid - to help
you select the best places to invest your time and money to promote your business online. (Other online marketing tips are
available at http://NaturalHealthcare.ca/bizdev/.)
When you are choosing an online
directory where you will upgrade your business listing, remember that it has to appeal to your target clientele and not
just other practitioners and business owners. What good is a listing if the site isn't appealing to the people you need
to reach? Look for a site rich in features that make it bookmark-worthy, as well as being search-engine friendly, so that new
people can find you with ease.
Most online directories offer a free basic listing. It is well worth your
time to get your business listed in as many of those as you can. It means more opportunities for people who are looking
for your type services to discover your business.
Compose a list of directories
of interest. Make a text document to track the URL of the main page of the site, the site name, the prices of the
listings they offer, and a few extra items (below). This list will also help you if you need to update your listings at a
later date, as well as helping you use third party analysis tools to see the effectiveness of the individual
As you visit the sites make note of a few key things:
- How does one get
to the directory? Is it a series of text links or do you have to enter information in a form (or choose from a drop down
- When you find the listings for a particular region, what does the title bar say? (The title bar is
the very top of the browser window.) How about the heading for the page? These areas are critical for search engines and if
the page does not have specific information in the title and heading tags, it's not optimized.
other information (content) is available on the site to make it useful to the visitors, and to make them want to bookmark
Deciding which sites are the best options to upgrade your listing.
- Pick the
site that will promote your business, not their own agenda.
The directory pages should be designed to
feature the city or town that your business is in, and your business specialty.
- Pick the sites where the
listings are accessible to search engines.
If the site requires you to use a form to access the
listings, check that there is a "back door" that lets the search engine get to each and every page. The most effective way
to do this is to use Google.ca and list all the pages on that site - e.g search on "site:naturalhealthcare.ca". If you know a word that is only on the directory pages - or if it has a
distinct file name - you can add that to the search term to see only those results.
- Choose sites that are the
The more content, the more opportunities for visitors to come to the site. Remember,
you want a site that appeals to your clientele - use the same syntax at Google to
find how many pages are indexed.
- Pick the sites with the most visitors.
Why pay for a listing
on a site that no one uses? There are third party tools that allow you to gauge approximately how many unique visitor
sessions a site receives. One such site is metricsmarket.com. It's as simple as plugging in the domain name of a site that
interests you and it will return a figure that estimates the amount of traffic that site has received that
If you are considering NHC as one of your options, we have made it
easy for you to check out features. When we developed this site, we invested the time up front to build it correctly, and we
are always working to improve it.
This section addresses the points raised above.
- When you
enter your business information, even for the complimentary basic listing, you can choose multiple modalities,
products, or services that are relevant to your business. The page titles, headings, and metadata are generated on each
page to reflect the content (modality, product, or service) and the town/city where the businesses are based because that
is what people search for when looking for a business when they do not have a specific company name.
- You may note that the main entrance to our directory listings is forms-based. However we have built in a back
door. There is a master listing of all the category types and links to the individual results in the database - but
because it is a long scrolling page, it sits on a separate subdomain that is submitted directly to the search engines. That
is why you can find over five thousand pages of results on NaturalHealthcare.ca - every directory listing is
accessible to the search engines - which is good for your business.
- In addition to the directories,
NaturalHealthcare.ca has searchable references to herbal and natural remedies, and articles about healthy and
environmentally-friendly living which draw users to the site, making it ideal for bookmarking and sharing with
friends. It is also an incredibly "sticky" site; visitors see an average of 6.62 pages/visit*. They are clicking
around to see what else is available on the site!
- Metrics Market Results for NaturalHealthcare.ca on September 7, 2004: "Estimated 147,900 visitor
sessions in the last 30 days."
Alexa comparison of some Canadian
holistic healthcare directories:
This chart is the current comparison of websites generated daily by Alexa (the
web technology arm of Amazon.com). Alexa collects its data from Google and its proprietary toolbar.
This chart shows only the top 100,000 websites on the Internet, so some days certain web sites may not
appear at all. You may have to go to Alexa to see the current ranking of any individual site.
statistics of the month to date, September 7, 2004