Best of the Web Introduces BOTW Local
A Soon-to-Be Must for Small Businesses
My friend Eric Lander, in addition to writing some very nice things about me and the Local Search Ranking Factors project yesterday, also highlighted a very important news note in the Local space: Best of the Web has just launched a Local directory, appropriately named BOTW Local.
Greg Hartnett, President of BOTW, is one of my very oldest friends in this industry (I met him shortly after starting my business in 2006). At a local San Francisco SEO meetup, he went out of his way to help me think through my career path in search marketing, and took the time to give a fledgling web designer a link in Best of the Web.
Largely because THAT LINK showed up so prominently in early Yahoo Site Explorer searches of my own domain, I have encouraged most of my clients to seek out BOTW links ever since. It’s long been my contention that BOTW is the best directory link for small business owners, because for a one-time fee of $200 (most directories charge annual fees) it’s a guaranteed citation from a trusted, human-edited directory.
Now I’m advising small businesses to avail themselves of another BOTW offering: sign up for a BOTW Local profile–the free version is called “JumpStart.”
Currently BOTW Local is only being spidered for selected markets (Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Chicago and Austin), but even if you’re not in one of these markets, it’s ALWAYS good to be an early adopter, and these guys know SEO, and how to get spiders crawling deeply. It’s only a matter of time before all pages are well-spidered.
How to Sign Up:
I just walked through the signup process for my own business. It is a little clunky at the moment but I’m quite certain it will go more smoothly as BOTW receives more user feedback. The thing to keep in mind is that when you get to the screen below (accessible by the “sign up” link two paragraphs above this one), the “Contact Info” and “Business Address” headings are actually links that allow you to input your contact and business information.
For easiest usability, those headings should probably be underlined, but it was only moderately confusing.
The next screen looked fairly standard to me, but just in case that was only because I’ve seen WAY too many Internet Yellow Pages sign up screens recently, I’ll walk you through this one as well (darn! wish I had taken a screenshot). Basically, you’re prompted to refine your business type through several industry categories. Once you reach the third or fourth level deep (for instance, mine was something like Computers -> Internet -> Internet Marketing), scroll down the page just a bit to see the hyper-specific options you can select.
And once you’re signed in and confirmed, the dashboard to manage your listings is a cinch. You just send them an email to make changes from the following screen:
I expect BOTW Local to get little or no traffic as it is growing out its platform (a statement I expect to be false within a matter of weeks). But given the increasing importance of citations in the Google and Yahoo Local algorithms, BOTW’s superb site architecture will absolutely ensure that your BOTW Local listing is spidered by both engines. I’d love to have a nickel for every BOTW Local citation that shows up in the Google Local “Web Pages” tabs by this time next year–I could retire to Tahiti at the ripe old age of 27.