Man looking at client reviews on phone

Do Directories and Reviews Help Google Ranking?

  • LawFirm
  • SEO

Curious how web directories and reviews help Google ranking? Explore our expert guide on the benefits of directory citations, positive Google reviews, and more!

by jennifer 03 March 2022

Table Of Contents

If you’re looking to boost your website’s search engine ranking, it’s important to understand how web directories and client reviews can affect your digital presence on the local SEO level. 

In this in-depth guide, we’ll walk you through the benefits of directory listings and positive client reviews, as well as the do’s and don’ts for each, and a quick breakdown of commonly asked questions.  

Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in!

What Are Web Directories?

Web directories are generally defined as any website that lists and links out to businesses. Typically these directories will have a focus on a particular service or location, like “Best XYZ Businesses In New York”, or “Finding a Lawyer”.

While directories have become less popular since the invention of the search engine, they still hold SEO weight on a local level, making them an important tool in boosting your local rankings.

Ensuring that your business appears consistently in the right local directories is one of the keys to local SEO success. 

How Do Local Directories Affect SEO?

Getting your business cited and linked in a local directory can help your SEO efforts in several ways. For starters, listings in reputable and relevant directories will help your business gain backlinks and increase visibility, while also providing local relevancy for your business in the eyes of Google.

As a general rule, you’ll want to make sure that you’re creating more than just directory citations, as you’ll also want to include a link back to your website whenever possible. While brand mentions are always valuable, having a quality backlink from a well-respected directory is even better. So whenever possible, be sure to include links in your local listings. 

Directory Tips for Local SEO 

Not all directories are created equally. While some may hold a great benefit for local SEO efforts, others can actually hurt your site’s ability to rank.

To ensure your success, let’s walk through the top 3 SEO tips for local directories.

Tip #1: Be Selective With The Directories You Use

When choosing a directory to list your business in, make sure that you’re only selecting reputable and relevant sites. If you’re trying to market your law firm, for example, you won’t want to appear in a directory that specializes in local bakeries, or dental services. Relevancy to your location and business is key when selecting a directory.

You’ll also want to avoid including your business in any directory with low domain authority. While this won’t specifically hurt your ranking, it won’t provide any meaningful benefit either, so it’s best to invest your time and efforts where it really counts.

Tip #2: Consistency Is Key

Once you’ve established which directories will be relevant and helpful to your business, it’s time to start creating your listings. The most important factor to consider at this stage is consistency. You’ll want to make sure that your business information appears exactly the same on every directory you’re listed in, paying special attention to “NAP”, or “name, address, and phone number”. 

Other important facets to look out for are basic typos, discrepancies with placing a “1” in front of an area code, or writing “street” instead of “avenue”. If your directory listings contain different information relating to your business’s NAP, Google’s algorithm will begin to question whether or not the business exists, and may be dissuaded from viewing it as a reputable site. 

Now that we’ve determined what you’ll want to avoid, here’s the information that will be the most helpful to include in your listing:

  • Email Address
  • Business Address
  • Business Name
  • Business Phone Number
  • Forms of Payment Accepted
  • Social Media Handles
  • Hours of Operation
  • Website Address

To truly optimize your directory listings, it’s always considered best practice where possible to include a short description making use of popular and relevant localized keywords.

Tip #3: Perform Maintenance On Your Listings

After you’ve chosen your directories and created your listings, it can be really tempting to forget about them entirely. But, if you want to gain the most benefits out of your listings, it’s important that you periodically review them to update any necessary changes. For example, if your business changes locations or alters its hours of operation, it will be extremely important to make sure that these changes are reflected in all of your directory listings. 

Outside of updating changes in name, address, and phone number, it will also be important to review your listings every now and then for optimization opportunities. Utilizing location-specific keywords is a great way to use directories to your advantage.

How Do Client Reviews Affect Google Ranking?

Positive client reviews can work to boost your SEO efforts by encouraging Google to view your business as “trustworthy”. Reviews are also helpful in assisting Google to better understand what your website is about while generating more organic traffic. 

To explain this process a bit further, let’s explore how Google determines the credibility of a website. In an effort to decipher which sites should rise to the top, Google measures something called “E-A-T”, or “expertise, authority, and trustworthiness”. Google’s aim is to bring its users the best and most reliable content, so ensuring that your site follows E-A-T best practices is very important. These factors are particularly important if your site falls under the  “YMYL”, or Google’s “your money or your life” category.  If your business focuses on services or products related to health, safety, happiness, or financial stability, it is imperative that you work on boosting your “E-A-T”, and positive reviews from clients are a great first step.

Aside from creating the right signals for Google, positive client reviews also send the right signals to consumers and potential clients; helping your site to gain more traffic, and working to successfully grow your business.

Responding to Client Reviews: Do’s & Don’ts

While client reviews can do wonders to help boost your business’s ranking and trustworthiness, they can also hurt your business when not handled correctly. This is why you should always respond appropriately to concerns and criticism, and acknowledge praise with gratitude.

Do: Respond To All Comments

Many business owners focus only on negative reviews and neglect to respond to the positive ones, which is a huge missed opportunity. Responding to all reviews helps build trust with Google while also creating loyal customers, encouraging repeat business, and gaining the confidence of new customers or clients.

Don’t: React With Emotion to Negative Comments

When a negative review comes in it can be hard to stomach, especially if you feel the information is untrue or particularly harmful to your business. No matter what the subject matter of the negative review, always respond calmly and from a solution-focused perspective. Listen to the person’s concerns and try to provide the best customer service possible.  Not only will this gain Google’s trust, but it will also show current and prospective customers that you run a reputable business that values customer satisfaction. 

When these conversations go well enough, it may even inspire the person to take down their negative review, which is a huge win for everyone involved. 

Local Directory & Client Reviews Q&A:

Do reviews on third-party sites affect search ranking?

Reviews on third-party sites can help to boost your site’s overall ranking, but they do not carry the same weight as Google reviews.

What is E-A-T?

E-A-T is an acronym in SEO that stands for “expertise, authority, and trustworthiness”. Google measures a site’s E-A-T to determine whether or not the site is reliable and credible. This process involves a review of on-site content, as well as a review of its authors, and the site as a whole.  How Google assesses E-A-T factors can either hurt or help your ranking. Google aims to bring its users the most relevant, high-quality content possible, so ensuring that your site is optimized for E-A-T is an important step in securing high rankings. This is especially true if your business deals with matters like health, happiness, finance, safety, or education.

What is local SEO?

Local SEO is a term for digital optimization strategies that work to make your business’s website more visible on a local level.

How can you track leads from a directory?

Software like CallRail can help you track leads from a wide range of sources including local directories.

How do you handle negative reviews?

The best way to handle negative reviews is to respond to them calmly and with a solution-focused approach. Responding to negative reviews shows current and potential clients that you care about their experience and that your business has integrity. 

Read More: Law Firm Web Design – All The Basics Explained

Read More: Learn How to Elevate Your Website With MeanPug’s Bobby Steinbach


Other News plus icon Back to all
Found this article interesting?

Found This Interesting? Have Questions? We’re always here to chat.

Useful Resources plus icon Get your freebies
legal marketing resources

Check out our Free Resources for marketing tips and tricks.

There’s no better time to transform your firm than today. Take the first step by downloading our free marketing checklists and ebooks.

We’ll never turn our backs on you again

Don't be shy. Fill out the form and we'll be in touch shortly