There has been a lot of bad buzz surrounding the word “directory” lately, so it’s tough not to question whether or not they are worth your time.
Directories are an excellent place for companies to buy and sell links, publish poor quality content, and spam the web, so wouldn’t it just be best to steer clear completely? The truth is, franchise directories are some of the more trustworthy directories out there; you just have to know what to look for to make sure you find one that really works. Fortunately, that whole process is pretty easy.
The Benefits of Using Franchise Directories When Making a Decision
Before figuring out if a directory is quality or not, decide if a directory is really something that will benefit you at all. They aren’t for everyone, so understanding the benefits is key:
• They sort all different franchise opportunities for you by keyword, type, letter, etc., so it’s easier to see what is available if you’re not sure what type of franchise to start.
• Most have educational materials to help you make your decision.
• The different sorting and categorizing options make it easy to compare your franchise with others out there.
• They will help connect you with the person you need to know if you’re interested in buying a franchise or have questions.
• You can usually also advertise your franchise if you’re looking to sell.
The only real negative to using directories is that some of them can be spammy (discussed in the next section). The good directories usually require a fee from advertisers so they’re only putting out the best quality, and all of the categorization options usually get rid of any overwhelming feelings you might have. Overall, the verdict here is a positive one—assuming you find a good directory.
How To Tell If a Franchise Directory Is Quality
Myles Golden, CEO of WidgetWare, wrote an article where he explained that directories aren’t dead, it’s just now all about niche directories. In other words, it’s not a good idea to look for franchise opportunities on just any directory—you have to find directories that are specifically for franchisees.
Analyzing a franchise directory is much like analyzing any type of directory in any industry. There are a few things you need to look for to make sure you’re using a good site:
• There is usually more than just links. You’ll want to be on the lookout for content (video or written) as well as descriptions and logos for each franchise.
• Take a look at the date when the content was written. The directory should be updated.
• They won’t always rank for the term “directory,” and this is a good thing. Many franchise websites work much like directories and offer the same benefits. Consider using your browser’s “find” function to search for directories.
• A good franchise directory shouldn’t ask for anything in return from you (particularly, no reciprocal links). And the obvious, your credit card information shouldn’t be required to talk with someone in charge of a particular franchise.
You can also look at the PR of a franchise directory to start and give you a general idea of the quality, but I don’t typically make a decision just off of the PR. Consider all of the points above before worrying about if something is a high or low PR.
If you’re looking to find a franchisee and want to use a franchise directory, the same points above apply. I would also recommend trying to submit articles or post in the comments or forums on the directory to really get yourself involved in the directory and show that you’re serious and knowledgeable.
A Few Popular and Trustworthy Franchise Directories
First, Franchising USA is actually a perfect example of a Franchise website that also works as a directory, but it does not rank for the term “directory.” If you visit the “Find a Franchise” link at the top of this page, you’ll be taken to their option that works as a directory.
To save you a little bit of time and trouble, here are a few franchise directories that I have checked out in the past:
Are you familiar with any quality franchise directories? Do you have a story about using a franchise directory that went well (or didn’t go so well)? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Adam Heitzman is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at HigherVisibility, a nationally recognized SEO firm that offers a full range of Internet marketing services.
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