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So here’s a great newsflash: people still like to find venues and businesses the old-fashioned way, by looking at a list of companies under a certain topic. While using the physical phone book is becoming less common, many are still relying on directories and lists of topics in order to find what they are looking for.

Case in point: My personal web design and development firm, Spark Genius. Now I am currently busy with finishing a Masters degree and many other things in life, so I don’t do web development full time. However, I still like to have a good flow of business coming in. I usually rely on word of mouth, which has provided a good workload in the past. Occasionally though there are droughts, and I enjoy working on new projects from completely different sectors, and word of mouth was keeping me in just a few similar industries. I’m not big on SEO and did not want to spend big dollars or lots of time marketing the company, but I did want to increase exposure so that I could try and get more varied clients.

I found by way of a blog post on the personal site of a local web developer and SEO man I follow that he was starting a new project focused on niche directories. At first I thought it was Yahoo Directories from 1998 come back from the dead, but luckily it wasn’t. I signed up (see out my free listing here, yay shameless self-promotion! ;)), and eventually shelled out a few bucks for a “featured” listing. The results? Impressive…

While I haven’t been flooded with calls (thank heavens!) I have already received several very good leads, and have recently started a very compelling project from those. The leads have all come directly from the listing (the premium one on the front page of the directory probably), and I think it has worked well because people are typing “utah web design” and see a result listing local companies, and would rather have a curated list to examine than look at each company’s site in turn.

So lesson learned? Yes, my organic search ranking has increased slightly. Yes, I now have one more inbound link to my site. But are these what has generated results for me? No! It’s been the targeted list that people like to have at hand that has brought me new leads. If you can get yourself onto a similar directory, I think you’ll like it.