Google has become so pervasive in the online world that even when I’m using another search engine—Yahoo or Bing—I still think of myself as “googling” information.  Because of it’s widespread usage attaining a good ranking in Google and other major search engines should be part of your marketing strategy.  That being said, it’s also a good idea to list your business in African American online business directories.  These directories can promote your small business or professional services to a more targeted audience. 

Below are several useful business directories:

BlackRefer.com

The “about” section of Blackrefer.com says it’s main objective is to bring web surfers “hard-to-find websites, those that are unique and/or eccentric based on their content.”  TNJ.com listed BlackRefer.com, which was launched in June of 2002, first because not only does the site offer free website listings, it’s also a good site to visit and just browse.  This directory is so vast you could be there for hours. So listings can be viewed by regular visitors as well as visitors who are directed to the site from major search engines since BlackRefer.com enjoys excellent rankings.

iZania.com

Founded in 2003, iZania—pronounced (ee-ZA-nya)—is a business oriented social networking site featuring a directory where Black owned business can list their services.  Since iZania is an online community other resources are available including forums, blogs, videos, news and the ability to build a network of contacts. 

BlackPlanet.com

Often thought of as a strictly a dating site, BlackPlanet, a pioneer in the social networking movement, has much to offer the small business owner who does not have a lot of money to market and promote their products and services.  Once you become a member of the site, which is free, you can create a separate “Professional” profile and connect with thousands of other professionals and business owners from all over the world.  The BlackPlanet search functions are particularly useful.  You can search members in your geographic area and those that are in your field of interest. 

E-blackwomennetwork.com

Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, e-BlackWomenNetwork is a membership-based business women’s’ networking organization. While you must join to list your services, the business directory can be viewed by visitors. “We are committed to helping women of color and their businesses achieve, succeed and thrive in the new economy,” state the network creators on the website. 

Technorati.com

While this is a mainstream site, if you have a blog, Technorati is the place to register it.  Technorati is not considered a directory but rather Andy Wibbels in BlogWild describes it as a blog “ecosystem.”  It’s a site that monitors millions of blogs and ranks blogs based on the number of sources linking to a particular blog in relation to other blogs. The greater the number of sources referencing a blog, the higher the Technorati ranking.  Blogged.com, another mainstream site, offers a directory of blogs. Once you submit your site, it’s rated by editors and users based on frequency of updates, content, site design, and writing style. Blogs are compared to other blogs within the same category.

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So of the five directories and other sites listed above, which one should you choose to incorporate into your online marketing plan?  The answer is as many as you possibly can.  Through a variety of approaches you can connect with thousands of potential customers who want to know what your business has to offer. Listing your business in the right directories can increase your website traffic. Signing up is usually quick, easy and for those without large marketing budgets, most directories offer at least a basic listing for free. 

For more information visit:

http://www.blackrefer.com/
http://www.izania.com/
http://www.blackplanet.com/

http://www.e-blackwomennetwork.com/
http://technorati.com/

Related article: http://www.tnj.com/business-news/izania%3A-connecting-the-people-of-africa-via-the-internet