If you’ve got a green business, blog or website, one of the best things you can do for it is to join a green business network or association, preferably one with an online directory that you can get your business or site listed in. When looking for the right green business association or network to join, there are several key questions that you need to answer in order to see if it serves your purposes.
What are the benefits of joining?
If you’re going to join a business network or get listed in a directory, you want to make sure you get something out of it. The benefits of joining a green business network or association are typically two-fold. First, you’ll gain access and valuable exposure to a community of like-minded businesses and individuals, which can be useful for sharing ideas and solving problems. But if that green business association or network also has an online directory, your business, website or blog has much to gain in terms of marketing. Some networks also offer perks such as newsletters, discounts and advertising space.
Does it come with an online directory?
A directory is a list of websites broken down into specific categories, then further into subcategories. It differs from a search engine in that most of the links in directories are put there and reviewed by actual people through a process called manual directory submission. Why is this good for you? Because they are subject to such a high level of scrutiny, when you create a directory submission, search engines consider it a validation of your site and give those links more weight, which leads to higher rankings and ultimately will lead to more exposure.
What type of links does the directory offer?
Another reason to get your site listed in an online directory is because it helps you build links to your website, particularly backlinks, which as the name implies, are simply links back to your home page. Backlinks are important because the more you have, the higher your site will rank in search engines. However, not all backlinks are created equal. In an effort to cut down on spam, particularly in blog comments and user generated content sites like wikis, Google developed “no follow” links. No follow links are links search engine spiders do not follow. While the link might be recognized and indexed, they do not transfer the most important factors that influence search engine rankings, such as authority and anchor text relevance, from the host page to the target page. However, a link is still a link, so get them where you can. While no follow links won’t do much to boost your search engine rankings, they are still useful for exposure, and traffic.
How can you tell if the directory will help you?
If you’re going to take the time to find directories and manually submit your links to them, you want to make sure that the directory is worthwhile. Most web directories provide little value for the time and energy invested, so it’s best to pick directories that are relevant to your niche, or general directories that are well established.
There are several strong general directories such as Yahoo! Directory, Best of the Web, Business.com and Dmoz, which are especially attractive for SEO marketing. It’s definitely a good idea to try and get listed in those, though, with the exception of Dmoz, the rest are paid services. Beyond that, there is an easy way to tell how much weight search engines give to a particular directory. Copy the URL of the particular directory you’re interested in and then search for it in Google. When the results come up, click on “Cached” underneath the site’s description. The date that you get is the date that the search engine last visited the site. If it’s been a while since Google has been there, it might not be the best directory to spend your time on.
Also, its a good idea to see if the page where your listing will appear is indexed by Google. Sometimes if that business listing page is several pages deep, it will not be indexed on its own. Pick another business listing, copy a section of text, and paste it into Google. If the page does not appear, then it hasn’t been indexed. Therefore you will have to fire some links of your own at it, in order to get it indexed. However, bear in mind, that the authority that flows down from the directory home page might be diluted by the time it reaches a deep business listing page.
For more information on evaluating a web directory for it’s SEO benefits, check out this SEOBook post Web Directories…Are They Relevant to SEO.
Do you reach the right audience?
It’s not surprising to learn that there are literally thousands of directories you could get your site listed on. How do you choose which one is best for your purposes? Ultimately, it comes down to audience. You want to find the best directories for your particular niche, in this case green businesses or green marketing, because you know the people searching there are people who are actually interested in what you’re doing.
In the case of the best green business networks and directories to join, look no further. Green Marketing TV found them for you:
Green America is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote green and fair trade businesses. Their site contains news, programs, action items and green business network with over 3,000 members. Members go through a screening process, but once you’ve been approved and your membership fee has been paid, you have access to many benefits, including a free directory listing.
The Green Chamber of Commerce is a growing network of green businesses. They also offer news, information, resources and a speakers bureau. Membership fees are based on the revenue size of the business or organization. Membership includes a Green Chamber logo, advertising opportunities and discounts to networking events and conferences.
Greenopia offers local guides for green living. Submitting a business listing to Greenopia is free and is available in two different levels. Whether you’re approved or not, you can also become a member of their online community where you can create a blog, write online reviews and receive their online newsletter.
4. Green Maven
Green Maven boasts that it is the world’s largest green search engine, combing through over 1 million green pages. Not only can you search for all things green, but the site contains a categorized green website directory with over 3,000 green business listings. Getting listed in the directory is free. They also have a section for green product reviews where users will soon be able to post their own reviews and a green business news network.
GenGreen strives to be the most comprehensive and diverse resource available for those looking for sustainable and environmentally conscious businesses. With over 60,000 listings of businesses, coupons, events, jobs and other categories, which are searchable by location they might be just that.
Eco Business Links is one of the oldest online green business directories. The site is searchable and contains over 13,000 links to green businesses. Being listed in the directory is free, and you have the option of adding logos for an annual fee. They also have a number of different advertising options.
The Green Business League offers a number of different certification options for green businesses. The certification comes with a number of other green marketing options for your business, including listing in the green directory, blog mentions, a press release and directory submissions to over 200 other directories.
The Ultimate Green List is a listing of businesses and organizations that sell green products or services. The Ultimate Green List compiles lists of green businesses, green blogs, green events and green news from across the web. The site also has a guestbook where businesses can leave virtual business cards.
Best Green Blogs is a listing of green and sustainable focused blogs and websites from around the world. For $30 you can become a site supporter, which means your blog gets listed in their directory and receives a number of other benefits including a rotating front page feature and indexing on Greenblogsear.ch, a Google search engine for all things green.
10. Blog Catalog
Blog Catalog is is a searchable directory of blogs of all themes. The two different membership levels offer a number of different promotional opportunities. Listings on Blog Catalog include statistics, widgets and badges.
Image Credit: Felix Triller