Local SEO tips for directory publishers

Local SEO Tips for Directory Publishers

Are you looking for new ways to increase your visibility in local search results? Then let’s talk about local SEO tips for directory publishers.

Local SEO is all about optimizing websites to rank better for local audiences. This is true for any digital publisher, but particular those with directory websites.

Why is that, you ask? For starters, a significant percentage of directory websites are locally focused. Business directories are an obvious example here. Most business directories are focused on a particular city or region. That makes business directories, at their core, locally centered websites. The same can be said for many different types of online directories. Regardless of the primary focus—restaurants, job listings, etc.—the secondary focus is location.

When someone searches for “best doctor in [city],” we want them to arrive at our client’s online directory, not a website run by a hospital or physician practice. How do we make that happen? Local SEO is the key. Following best practices for local SEO, we optimize directory websites for city-specific or region-specific audiences.

What Is Local SEO?

Local SEO is how we get online directories to rank better for local audiences. In order to do that, we need to optimize each listing for the city name and address, essentially making sure that search engines like Google and Bing know where to find the businesses mentioned in each listing.
Businesses optimize their own websites for local SEO all the time. They do this to ensure that customers can find their storefronts in real life. But publishers, who are not looking to get web visitors into their own offices, should still be targeting people located in the same geographic area as the businesses featured in their online directories.

Local SEO Tips

Now that you understand what local SEO is, and why local SEO is important for directory publishers, let’s get into the nitty gritty and talk about what you can do to improve the local SEO on your directory website.

These strategies are regarded as “first steps” for directory publishers targeting audiences in specific locations.

  • Include a proper address for each directory listing using schema.org formatting.
  • Ask your web developer to add the city and state to the titles and meta description tags for directory listings.
  • Make sure the city or region is mentioned frequently in directory content, including any business descriptions.
  • Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
  • Add ratings and reviews to your website, if possible.

Fewer than one-in-five marketers incorporate schema markup on their websites, which could be one of the reasons why they are struggling with local SEO. Incorporating proper schema markup is one of the ways that we can communicate the focus of the online directory—businesses in a particular location—to search engines. It makes the online directory more relevant to whichever local keywords you are targeting, as well.

Keep local SEO in mind when generating content for new listing pages. One strategy here is to insert the business location as close as possible to the top of each directory page. This ensures that the city not missing from search results when someone types in a phrase like “best restaurants in Los Angeles.”

Don’t forget about link building, either. Online directories are well positioned to build the types of positive connections that search engines love. Always include links to each business’ website on listing pages. You should also be encouraging business owners to add links to your directory from their own business websites and social media pages. Digital publishers with properties outside of their online directories—for example, those that also publisher online newspapers or magazines—should take advantage by including links to directory listings any time a specific business is mentioned in an article.

Including Maps in Business Listings

What do the most well-known business directories in the U.S. have in common? Those sites almost all include maps on individual listing pages.

Yelp, Whitepages, YP, and Mapquest have pioneered the use of maps in online directories. And why not? If you’ve followed the local SEO tips outlined above, you’ve already added an address for each business listing in your directory. That means you already have all the data you need to include a map on each listing page.

Google Maps is the most well-known of the mapping solutions, but a number of other plugins are available for directory publishers with WordPress websites. Just make sure that the directory software you purchase is capable of including maps on listings pages, as this is not something that every directory platforms can handle.

directory publishers analytics metrics

The Most Important Analytics Metrics for Directory Publishers

Important decisions shouldn’t be left up to gut feelings. Using analytics metrics, directory publishers can get a big picture view of how their websites are performing and where areas for new opportunities exist.

Directory publishers don’t just have to worry about search engine traffic and visitor engagement, although those are powerful factors that can play a major role in impacting the bottom line. They also have to think about advertisers and the businesses signing up for paid listings. The latest analytics metrics give directory publishers insights into how visitors and advertisers are finding their websites and what makes them convert.

The goal here is twofold. Directory publishers want to use analytics metrics to make smarter business decisions, and they want to gain a deeper understanding of how visitors and paying advertisers are using their directory websites. Let’s take a closer look at what that means.

1. Top Keywords

How are people finding your directory? The answer may not be what you think. Using Google Webmaster Tools, directory publishers can find out what keywords are driving the most traffic to their sites. Navigate to Search Traffic, then Search Queries to see a list of the keywords driving traffic to your directory. You should see the click-through rate for each of these top keywords, letting you know how often someone clicked on your directory over another Google listing. Another option here is to use Google Analytics. Click over to Acquisition, then All Traffic, then Channels, then Organic Search.

Most directory publishers see 75% to 90% of their search volume coming through the top 200 phrases. For example, publishers with restaurant directories may find that most people are landing on their sites after typing Top [City] Restaurants or the name of a specific restaurant with a listing on the directory.

Regardless of what you discover through keyword analytics, you’ll want to use the information to optimize your content and take advantage of the keywords people are using.

2. Visitor Engagement

Clicks, shares, and time on page are all trackable metrics that directory publishers can look at as they gauge visitor engagement on their websites.

While engagement is often confused with reach, particularly when it comes to analytics metrics for online directories, they actually tell us two very different things. A directory’s reach is determined based on the number of people who see it, even if they only see it for a moment. Publishers can boost their reach by using clickbait headlines or landing pages that are only minimally related to the content in their directories. Are those stunts worthwhile in the long run? Probably not. Visitors who arrive at a directory under false pretenses—for example, thinking they are getting restaurant coupons when they are actually just seeing business listings—are likely to leave quickly and not return.

Engagement is something else entirely, and there’s a reason why we encourage directory publishers to focus on engagement over reach. Tracking engagement means looking at how involved visitors are with the content in a directory. There’s a number of ways to measure that. One idea is to track comments and shares. People don’t usually leave comments unless they are legitimately interested in the content. Tracking how commenting ebbs and flows over time, and which directory pages are receiving the most comments, can provide you with insight into how you should format landing pages or promote your most popular directory listings.

Another option here is to track scroll depth. Scroll depth means how far down a webpage a visitor scrolls. If a visitor is scrolling down to the bottom of a “Best Of” list or a directory listing, there is a good chance he is engaged with the content.

3. Email Capture Rates

Many directory publishers use email marketing to bring visitors, and advertisers, back to their websites. For these publishers, website email capture rates show how what percentage of website visitors are subscribing.

Determining a website email capture rate is fairly straightforward. Just divide the number of new email subscribers acquired via the directory website over a period of time (one week or one month) by the total number of unique visitors during the same time period.

Let’s say that through this process, a publisher learns that .1% of the visitors coming to his business directory are signing up to receive a monthly email newsletter. The next question is, how do you increase web-to-email conversion rates? A little bit of A/B testing can help determine whether simple changes to capture forms or landing pages could be enough to see major improvements.

What metrics do you analyze, and how could a deeper analysis of the trends lead to greater revenue on your directory? We’d love to learn more about what you’re doing and how we could help take your online directory to the next level.

local business directory

5 Reasons to Launch a Local Business Directory

The biggest business directories in the world are generating millions of dollars in profit for online publishers.

Launching a local business directory is a no-brainer for digital publishers right now. Using sophisticated content management systems, publishers can create directories that are nearly autonomous. Self-serve portals allow businesses to generate and pay for online listings themselves, while publishers sit back and watch the profits pour in.

With a net revenue of more than $218 million last year, Yelp has become one of the most influential directory publishers for local businesses. The company saw paying advertising accounts grow 21% year-over-year, with approximately 163,000 businesses now advertising on the platform.

While those figures are substantial, they also show that there’s still plenty of room for growth in the local business directory space. The U.S. Small Business Administration reports that there are more than 30.2 million small businesses operating in the U.S., which means the advertiser market for local business directories is substantial.

Here are five reasons why digital publishers are rushing to launch local business directories — and why you might be interested in launching one of these directories, too.

1. Generating Ancillary Revenue

By far, the primary reason to launch a local business directory is to create a new form of ancillary revenue. Businesses typically pay a fee of $5 to $10 per month to have their listings included in local directories, providing digital publishers with a reliable stream of revenue that they can count on. Consider this: A local directory with 1,000 listings, charging businesses $10 per month, generates $10,000 in income for a publisher. Although there are a number of other reasons to launch a local business directory, the opportunity to create an entirely new stream of ancillary revenue is something that most publishers can’t afford to overlook.

2. Providing Advertisers With More Options

A growing number of advertisers are moving away from display advertising, fearing that the medium itself has gotten stale. Instead, they are pushing for more unique, relevant advertising experiences. Sponsorships and paid listings are just two examples of “new” advertising avenues that businesses are excited to explore. Sponsorships, in particular, can be lucrative for digital publishers, since advertisers will pay a premium to ensure their logos are the only ones featured on the directory’s homepage for a given period of time.

3. Increasing Search Traffic

Search engines like Google and Bing love online directories, thanks in part to their local focus and keyword-rich listings. The smartest digital publishers are capitalizing on the search traffic that their business directories bring in and converting those visitors into readers of their publications. “Related Content” tags and links to articles about the businesses featured in each listing are two examples of ways that digital magazine publishers are bringing directory visitors over to their publications.

4. Reinvigorating Subscription Programs

Online subscriptions can be a hard sell, especially for digital publishers that already give away a certain amount of content for free and those that rely on display advertising for revenue. Instead of placing a paywall around their articles, some publishers are giving subscribers access to VIP benefits or services. One of these benefits can be a subscribers-only directory. This strategy works better for niche publishers (such as industry-specific online magazines) than local newspapers, but it’s still a concept worth exploring for any publishers looking to increase the value of their subscription programs.

5. Building Connections in the Community

Although we focus a lot on the revenue that online directories generate, the reality is that a local business directory is more than just an advertising service. Like community calendars—which we’ve written about previously—business directories actually serve an important function in local communities. In smaller towns, especially, a local business directory can become a hub of information for both everyday citizens and business owners.

If you have already launched a local business directory, reach out and tell us why you decided to jump onboard. We’re always interested in learning about other publishers’ experiences with emerging platforms.

how to use directories to boost search traffic

Using Directories to Boost Search Traffic

Prominent directory websites like Yelp, YP.com, and Whitepages receive millions of site visits each month, but you don’t have to be one of the “big guys” to benefit from Google’s preference for directory websites.

Digital publishers use directories to boost search traffic on their own websites all the time. It’s a strategy that’s been used for years, and it’s one that becoming even more effective as search engines like Google and Bing refine their algorithms to give more preference to websites with local information.

The key to using directories to boost search traffic is to make sure your directories are created with the right structures and subdomains for successful search engine optimization (SEO). Without the right structure, Google can’t synthesize the information, and it’s unlikely that your directory will rank highly enough to generate substantial search engine traffic.

It’s been a few years now since Google launched it Pigeon Update in 2014. The update involved the creation of a new algorithm that intends to provide more useful, accurate local search results. What most digital publishers noticed about the update was that it placed an increase emphasis on local content and created greater visibility for online directories.

Mobile’s Impact on Online Directories

The rise in mobile search plays a role here, as well. Mobile usage is now surpassing desktop. As more people started searching for content on their smartphones, Google placed a greater emphasis on location. That’s part of the reason why typing in “Italian restaurant” on your phone will bring up listings for Italian restaurants in your own city.

According to Google, more than one-third of mobile searches are now related to local. Publishers with online directories understand this changing dynamic, and they’re adjusting the way their websites are structured so that they can use their directories to boost search traffic.

Optimizing Directories for SEO

Publishers have the most success using directories to boost search traffic when they optimize their content for local search. That means including local keywords in business listings, and it also means localizing schema markup.

Incorporating schema in a website lets Google know the focus of the content and the geographic area you’re trying to serve. Although schema is not directly tied to search rankings, it is tied to local targeting, and we know that local is something Google cares a lot about right now.

Unfortunately, fewer than one-in-five publishers have incorporated schema markup into their websites. That could be making it harder for their directories to rank in search engine listings, and ultimately decreasing the revenue they’re able to generate through advertising on their sites.

So what’s the answer here? How can you start using directories to boost search traffic?

A great place to begin is by inserting local keywords into the title and meta description tags. You should also make sure your business listings include long-tail keywords whenever possible. For example, rather than titling a list “Best Restaurants” you would want to title it, “Phoenix’s Best Restaurants.” And of course, each individual business listing should include local information, such as addresses and phone numbers. This helps Google index the content for the geographic area.

Some SEO experts will also recommend updating NAP information (name, address, phone number) for each listing, including businesses with multiple locations.

One thing we haven’t touched on yet, even though it directly impacts your ability to use directories to boost search traffic, is consumer behavior. Are consumers actually researching the topics covered by your online directory? Is there enough search volume, for example, to sustain an online directory that exclusively focuses on shoe stores in Santa Ana, California?

The best way to know for sure is to take a look at Google’s Keyword Planner, as well as your own website traffic data and performance. Which keywords are people using in search before they land on your website? If there are thousands of people searching for shoe stores your city, and they’re all coming to an article in your digital magazine that contains those keywords, then maybe there is enough interest there to sustain such a hyper-focused online directory.

What you’re more likely to find, though, is that that there isn’t enough traffic to support the creation of a narrowly-focused online directory, and you would be better off creating something more broad, but still with a local focus.

For more details on what’s involved in creating an online directory reach out to our team here at Web Publisher PRO.

directory landing pages

How to Create Directory Landing Pages

Businesses will pay top dollar for landing pages that go along with their listings in online directories. In order to be effective from a traffic and conversion standpoint, directory landing pages should include a few key ingredients.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s talk a little about what directory landing pages actually are. Directory landing pages are also called business profile pages. When people visiting an online business directory click on a listing—for example, the name of a restaurant or a retail store—they aren’t typically directed to that business’ website. They’re usually taken to a landing page hosted by the directory publisher.

Directory landing pages highlight a business’ best attributes, and they can help with search engine optimization. In addition to the organic visibility of the landing page itself, outbound links make it easier for consumers to find the business’ traditional website.

What Should Directory Landing Pages Include?

Think of directory landing pages as online billboards, promoting the best features of a company. Directory landing pages should include profile photos, or logos, and much of the same basic business information that shows up on a business’ Google My Business listing.

For a good example of a directory landing page, check out D Magazine’s business directory. Restaurant landing pages include business addresses, hours of operation, official website links, categories, brief profiles, special features (such as catering or delivery), reservation information, payment types accepted, and price range. When relevant, landing pages in D Magazine’s directory also include links to awards that businesses have received from the magazine, such as the Readers Choice award or the Restaurant Design award. Including those links keeps visitors engaged in the digital magazine’s website.

The best directory landing pages are mobile-friendly and optimized for search engines. According to a 2018 survey, 76% of top landing pages have location in the title tag and 66% have the business name in the title tag. One-quarter of top landing pages also include at least one video. (We’ll dig deeper into that later in this article.)

Publishers are granted a lot of leeway in deciding how much content they want on to feature on their directory landing pages. Most landing pages contain somewhere between 400 and 700 words.

What to Charge for a Directory Landing Page

The price a publisher charges to create directory landing pages should be commiserate with the price of directory listings and the overall time involved in creating individual pages.

First let’s start with the business directory itself. A publisher that charges businesses $20 per month for inclusion in an online directory can charge more for landing pages than a publisher that only charges businesses $5 per month. In order to justify the higher price tag, publishers should rely on web analytics. Showing the actual number of website visitors, along with conversion and engagement rates, digital publishers can demonstrate the value their online directories provide to businesses.

The next part of the equation has to do with the time involved in creating directory landing pages. How involved is each page, and how much original content had to be created by the publisher? Some publishers hire writers to create distinctive profiles for each business, usually ranging from 150 to 250 words long. While brief, these profiles are an excellent advertising technique and businesses are usually willing to pay for that feature.

Other features that might justify a higher price tag for a directory landing page include design customization, additional images, and any one-on-one conversations that took place as the business owner described what he or she was looking for. The more unique a publisher is willing to be in creating individual landing pages for businesses, the higher the final price tag.

Directory landing pages are an excellent place to post videos, which a publisher’s advertising department should create as part of the directory sales package. Videos can be setup as brief commercials or they can be documentary style, showcasing a day in the life of an employee at the business. The sky is the limit here. In any event, the business landing page is typically the place videos would be posted. Promotional videos are an add-on for publishers looking to generate more income from their business directories.

If you’d like to learn even more about how to create directory landing pages for your business directory, reach out to our team here at Web Publisher PRO.

job board

Does Your Digital Magazine Need a Job Board?

Could your publication be doing more to help readers?

With an online job board, digital publishers can better serve their readers and generate additional revenue at the same time.

When most people think of online job boards, they think of the standalone websites like Monster.com and CareerBuilder. These websites publisher hundreds of thousands of listings from around the globe, but they can also be too generic and unwieldy for job seekers to navigate.

Publishers with city and regional magazines, along with niche publications that focus on specific industries, are in a unique position to benefit from adding a job board to their websites. Given the professional relationships these publishers have developed with executives in the industries or areas they cover, exclusive listings and advanced notice of upcoming job openings are a distinct possibility. Recruiters also understand that a niche publication’s readers are the types of highly-qualified professionals they’re looking for, and they will pay a premium to tap into that reader database.

In most cases, city and regional magazine publishers launching job board products are selling listings through self-service portals. That means businesses can visit their websites and enter their own information about the open positions into an online form. Payments for those listings are processed online, as well. Publishers then have the opportunity to screen listings to make sure they don’t violate any policies before publishing them on their own job boards.

Smashing Magazine is an online publication for web designers and developers with its own job board. Job seekers have the opportunity to search for remote or on-location work in the design and programming fields. Finding a job on the website is free, but businesses have to pay a fee that ranges from $75 to $225 to post their opportunities for 60 days.

From an ROI standpoint, a job board presents an incredible opportunity for publishers with existing websites. Once the initial work of launching the job board is done, incremental revenue continues to roll in with minimal financial outlay. This is particularly true for publishers with self-serve portals, since businesses can upload and pay for their listings without requiring help from the publisher or his staff.

Some digital publishers are finding that add-on services can help improve ROI, as well. For example, a publisher might charge businesses $30 per month to post a job listing, with the option to pay an extra $5 per month to include a logo or $10 per month for premium placement on the job board.

Another publisher that has found success with an online job board is PracticeLink. PracticeLink publishers in print and on the web—PracticeLink Magazine and PracticeLink Online—with content geared toward helping physicians navigate the recruitment process. The publisher’s job board receives more than 1.7 million page views each month, with 5,000 hospitals, medical groups, private practices and health systems posting more than 20,000 physician job opportunities. As is the case with many other digital publishers, PracticeLink allows job seekers to search and respond to opportunities for free, while charging hospitals and medical groups for its recruitment products.

The products that PracticeLink offers go beyond what most basic job boards provide. For example, in addition to listing healthcare opportunities for a fee, PracticeLink has created an active candidate database that in-house recruiters at health care systems can use to search for physicians. The publisher also has a number of additional recruitment tools, such as conference leads and career fairs designed for recruiters at larger healthcare organizations. Part of PracticeLink’s strategy here involves offering free trial accounts for recruiters.

While PracticeLink’s job board has been fully optimized to take advantage of as many revenue generation opportunities as possible, digital publishers also have the ability to take a scaled down approach. In fact, that’s what we recommend for publishers who are just dipping their toes into this new arena.

Job boards offer total flexibility from a publisher’s perspective. With the right directory software in place, publishers can grow their boards gradually over time.

Based on our experience helping publishers launch and grow their online job boards, we’ve put together this list of things to consider:

  • Create a job board with room to grow, since there’s a good chance your board could take off among companies and job seekers in your industry.
  • Make it easy for job seekers to search for listings. The more opportunities that exist for sorting and filtering listings, the more functional a job board becomes.
  • Don’t be afraid to send emails to job seekers when new listings that fit their criteria go live on your website.
  • Provide reporting tools that companies can use to see how many people have viewed their job listings and clicked on their links. Advanced reporting tools will be increasingly necessary as your job board grows and as larger employers start putting their exclusive listings on your site.
online directories

The Three-Pronged Approach to Successful Online Directories

Online directories offer some unique benefits for digital publishers. When they’re executed and managed in the right way, online directories can generate traffic, revenue, and engagement across a publisher’s existing websites.

We’ve talked a lot about monetization strategies for online directories in previous blog posts, so you should already be familiar with the various paths toward profitability. What you may not realize is that selling listings and charging readers for access are not the only two ways to generate revenue from an online directory.

Google loves online directories. Directories that are setup using the right tagging and markup standards, and following widely recognized best practices for search engine optimization, drive traffic from Google and Bing. Even better, online directories can be setup to push traffic back to a publisher’s existing website.

Pushing traffic to a secondary website is a powerful strategy, and it’s one that is under-utilized within the digital publishing community.

Driving Traffic with Online Directories

Online directories usually contain the type of SEO-friendly information and formatting that Google loves.

Let’s say you have an online directory that’s brimming with information about all the best restaurants in your city. When people search for terms like “best restaurants in Seattle” or “best tacos in Seattle” they should see your directory rank more highly than individual restaurant websites. That’s because Google has the tendency to rank online directories high in search results—something that works in your favor as a publisher.

One of the factors at play in Google’s decision to rank online directories highly is Domain Authority. Domain Authority is determined largely by the quality of website content (which should be excellent in an online directory with hundreds or thousands of business listings), along with who is linking to the website, the total number of links, and the overall value the website provides to its users. Each website has a Domain Authority score.

There is a good chance that your directory will perform well on search engines, even without much effort, but you can still improve your rankings on Google and Bing with simple upgrades. For example, page titles and meta tags can help establish a page theme. You should also be submitting XML sitemaps to make it easier for Google and Bing to index your directory.

Increasing Engagement on Existing Websites

Now that a user has found your online directory via a search engine, the first thing she’s going to click on is a listing. Your business listings should offer up all the pertinent information, including a brief description, location, hours of operation, website link, and phone number.

In order to take advantage of the three-pronged approach to success with online directories, you always want to make sure your listings link back to your existing website whenever possible. In this case, that means including links to relevant articles that have been featured on your website, such as any reviews that have been written about a restaurant with a listing in your directory. You could also link back to image galleries or maps.

Publishers who run online magazines and blogs should consider coordinating content to promote engagement on their directories. That means making sure links to directory listings are included any time a business is mentioned in an article.

Revenue Generation Strategies

Blind luck could be responsible for an online directory having excellent traffic and engagement metrics, but generating revenue requires a strategic plan.

The majority of publishers with online directories utilize self-serve portals, where businesses can pay a nominal fee to add listings to the website. Having a self-serve system means the publisher doesn’t need to worry about staffing up a large sales team to create and publish individual listings. From an ROI standpoint, self-serve portals are always smarter for digital publishers than going the full-service route.

In addition to charging businesses for listings, publishers in certain sectors are also finding that readers are willing to pay for access to their directories. For example, a niche healthcare publisher might charge physicians to access an online directory, knowing that physicians and hospital administrators are more likely to pay for access than the general public.

Considering all the blank space available around the perimeter of most websites, publishers are also smart to run display advertising. Display advertising rates have been falling in recent years, however this is still a popular strategy for generating additional revenue.

If you’d like even more information about the three-pronged approach to success with online directories that we have developed here at Web Publisher PRO, reach out to our team for a consultation.

job board location tagging

Here’s The Feature Your Job Board Is Missing

Have you heard? Right now is possibly the best time in history to be running a niche job board. Sure, the big three players in the job board market—Monster.com, CareerBuilder, and Indeed—are facing increasing threats from LinkedIn, but smaller digital publishers are finding that the niches they’ve carved out are still large enough to build profitable businesses that are sustainable for the long-term.

Despite those successes, there’s still a website feature that many online job boards are missing, and it could be causing publishers to lose out on monetization opportunities.

The feature that many niche job boards are missing is location tagging.

Adding a geo-location feature to your job board will improve search engine visibility and make your website more useful to job seekers. Location is one of the most important elements that job seekers look at when evaluating online listings, well ahead of compensation and benefits packages.

How to integrate location tagging into an online job board

If you’ve already created a self-serve portal where recruiters and companies can upload their own job postings, then adding a location tagging feature should be simple. Create a space in your submission form to add an address for each listing. Even if you make that space optional, you will be surprised by how many companies choose to include a specific address with their listings.

If your job board software allows for it, you can add a map to your website as a way to help candidates search for positions in specific locations. The Google Maps Platform is a great place to start, since it offers publishers a way to build customized experiences with dynamic maps and Street View images. Not only do these types of interactive maps add a visual element to an online job board, they also add valuable functionality for job seekers who are interested in working exclusively in certain cities or areas of town.

Location tags can be useful, as well. Your job board software should extract the city from each address to create location tags, which visitors can browse. Local publishers in large metro areas may want to go even one step further by including neighborhood tags.

Adding a location feature doesn’t mean recruiters are limited to posting about jobs in specific cities. Ideally, recruiters and companies posting jobs on your website should have the choice to get as specific with the location as they feel comfortable with. In a large metro area, a company might post the exact address of the office building, while a company in a more rural area might post just the city or the county.

Recruiters should also have the option to include regional tags, like ”Northeast” or “Southwest,” or even more generic tags, like “United States” or “Remote” when they can’t publicly share the specific location of an opportunity. Listings with the “Remote” tag won’t show up on any maps, but they should be searchable, for job seekers who are exclusively interested in working from home.

Whether you decide to allow multiple job locations to be tagged on a single posting is up to you, based on how the back-end of your job board website is setup. However, as a general rule of thumb, recruiters should not have the ability to select more than five to 10 locations for a single job listing.

As a side benefit, having specific location information can also help ensure your listings get included on Google Jobs, the AI-powered job board from Google that launched last year. Many niche job board publishers have seen an increase in traffic since the launch of Google Jobs. Although the majority of listings are from larger players, like Monster.com and LinkedIn, niche publishers are represented on the platform. Having the proper job schema will increase the chances of getting the listings from your job board included on Google Jobs, and that means including specific location details whenever possible.

Adding geo-location tagging to your job board is one way for your website to evolve and meet the changing needs of job seekers. It’s also an effective strategy for upping profits and boosting search engine visibility.

If you’d like more information on the strategies that job board publishers are using to monetize their websites, reach out to our team here at Web Publisher PRO.

community calendar

10 Places to Find Events for a Community Calendar

Designing a community calendar is the easy part. In order for your calendar to be a success, it needs to be brimming with events that are timely, relevant, and interesting to your readers.

Digital publishers often find that there is a fine line between having a community calendar that’s too sparse and having a community calendar that overflowing with too many listings for irrelevant events.

The ideal community calendar is one that includes details for all the most important activities going on in a specific city or region, with functionality that allows visitors to filter out content that doesn’t fit their interests. For example, Layton City’s community calendar includes details about sporting events, concerts, family activities, and restaurant events in and around the city of Layton, Utah. Knowing that the calendar could be overwhelming, Layton City has introduced filtering tools that visitors can use to browse certain types of events, like concerts, classes, or farmers markets.

Where do these event listings come from? Layton City, like many digital publishers, encourages website visitors to add their own events to its community calendar. That’s a great way to learn about events that haven’t been publicized elsewhere, adding significant value to your community calendar. But user submissions alone are unlikely to be enough. That’s why we put together a list of 10 more places you can look to find events to include on your community calendar.

1. School Districts
School district websites are chock full of local event information. In addition to listing the pertinent information about junior high and high school sporting events, you can also find the dates for upcoming school plays, art shows, and other events that community members might be interested in attending.

2. Concert Venues
Venues that host concerts and other performing arts productions have a vested interest in getting the word out about upcoming shows. If you connect with these venues and let them know about your online community calendar, there’s a good chance they will email you directly whenever new shows are added to their roster.

3. Facebook Groups
Most cities have at least one, if not multiple, Facebook groups dedicated to local events. For example, in Northern California’s Shasta County, a Facebook group called “Get Out! Nor Cal” aggregates information about outdoor activities in the region. The group also has a hashtag that local publishers can follow to stay updated on events that they should add to their own community calendars.

4. Recreation Departments
If you think your readers might be interested in classes, programs, and other outdoor-focused events, check out the recreation department in your area for information about events that can be added to your community calendar. Most of these departments send regular emails with the latest event information, which can be automatically funneled into your own community calendar.

5. Local Museums
Local museums are an excellent source of recurring events. In addition to hosting special events and exhibit openings, most museums have monthly discount nights or children’s nights.

6. Nonprofit Organizations
Like concert venues, nonprofit organizations have an interest in spreading the word about their upcoming events. Many groups have outreach coordinators who would be happy to email you directly or submit information to your self-serve portal to have listings added to your online calendar.

7. Tourism Bureaus
Although most tourism bureaus don’t host their own events—at least not on a regular basis—their websites are a fantastic resource for information about festivals, exhibitions, shows, and other upcoming activities that might be of interest to your own readers.

8. Public Libraries
Public libraries host daily events and activities for all generations. Bookmark the websites for any public libraries in your area for details on weekly story times, game nights, and adult education events.

9. Chambers of Commerce
The Chamber of Commerce is a collection of businesses aiming to improve the business climate in their communities. It’s not uncommon for the Chamber of Commerce to host its own fundraising events—like golf tournaments—along with educational events that local entrepreneurs can attend.

10. Gardening Clubs
Gardening clubs are growing in popularity. Although club meetings are typically private, many of these organizations host semi-regular plant sales that are open to the public. Larger gardening clubs may host educational events, as well.

online directories

How to Turn a Free Business Directory Into a Profit Center

The most successful business directories aren’t the most exclusive. They usually aren’t the most expensive for advertisers, either. What the most successful business directories have in common is that they’re free — up to a point, at least. The free business directory has a way of luring in both readers and advertisers with the promise of something for nothing. And who doesn’t like that?

Just remember, creating a free business directory doesn’t mean you have to give everything away for — free. Savvy digital publishers are discovering that it’s possible to launch a free business directory that generates substantial revenue. Here’s a few of the ways those publishers are making it happen.

Basic listings

In order to run a free business directory, publishers usually need to give away something at no cost. In most cases, that means letting businesses add their listings to the business directory for free. What’s the catch? Well, those free listings are usually very small and minimal in scope. Most include just a business name, telephone number, and physical address. In order for business owners to include images, highlighted text, or outbound website links, they need to pay for upgraded or premium listings.
Basic listings are a great way to bring new businesses, which could eventually turn into paying advertisers, to an online directory. Just make sure to give business owners plenty of opportunities to upgrade their basic listings, even once those listings have gone live on the directory. For example, you could send business owners weekly emails showing how much web traffic and engagement their listings are generating, as well as invitations to upgrade to premium listings — for a fee. These periodic emails serve as good reminders, in case business owners have forgotten about their listings, and relevant page view statistics justify the value of upgrading to paid promotions.

In some cases, a simple weekly or monthly email isn’t enough to encourage a business owner to upgrade from a basic free listing to a premium listing. In those cases you may want to try…

Free trial offers

If you’re confident in your product, then a 30-day free trial is an excellent way to expose business owners to the effect that premium listings on your directory could have on their companies. For maximum impact, upgrade businesses to the highest level of service — for example, a premium listing with an image gallery and outbound website links — and then carefully track the number of page views, click-throughs, and other engagement metrics during the trial period. These metrics will be valuable when the 30-day free trial has expired and it’s time to sell the business on a regularly-priced upgraded listing.

When you sell digital products, like listings on a free business directory, it doesn’t cost you anything to temporarily give away the product for free. It’s also easy to revoke access, which makes the 30-day free trial an effective strategy for encouraging business advertisers to upgrade to premium listings on your business directory.

Digital incentives

Basic listings are the foundation of a free business directory. Most businesses — particularly small and mid-size businesses — will create accounts on a free business directory just for the opportunity to have their business information included on the public page. But even a free business directory that’s centered around listings can have some valuable add-ons, for a price.

The sky is the limit when it comes to the value-added services you can offer with a digital business directory. Outbound links, location maps, and image galleries are a few of the self-service options that businesses can add to listings on their own, but the addition of more customized marketing services, like individual business landing pages, ecommerce capabilities, and online reputation management, can turn your free business directory into a hub for local digital marketing.

Imagine if a business owner arrived at your free business directory planning to post a basic listing for his business, and after doing so, he sees the option to sell products or accept client bookings directly through the listing he just created. Imagine the extra value you would be providing for the business, and the profit that these digital marketing add-ons would generate on a larger scale.

On the surface, it may look like business directories are generating their revenue from paid listings, but the vast majority of successful directory publishers are utilizing digital incentives and other value add-ons to make their directories profitable. If you’d like more information about how to increase the profitability of your own business directory, feel free to reach out to our team here at Web Publisher PRO.