We’ve had a few virtual assistant directory sites pop up offering advertising recently. I typed out a long response on whether I thought it was was using these on one of the Facebook groups and thought it was worth posting here too:
Why not use a Virtual Assistant Directory?
Over the years we’ve had VA directories promise to deliver VA clients many, many times. But no one has ever really cracked it. Here’s why:
- “Virtual Assistant” worldwide is a very competitive search term and it’s populated by very SEO orientated people posting lots of updates (which Google loves). So anyone planning on optimising for the term VIRTUAL ASSISTANT is going to have a tough job. (We know – we’re 1st page!! More SEO tips here)
- However clients themselves don’t necessarily use the search term “virtual assistant” to find one – they might use any one of a million different keywords or searches e.g. “freelance secretary” “Online typing” “social media Bolton”. So getting the traffic from clients really needs an in depth understanding of the VA industry and their clients – which has always been lacking in the projects we’ve seen. It’s always been outsiders coming in and assuming it’ll be fairly easy to capture traffic – and it’s not!
- There’s been a fair amount of “Built it and they will come”… We’ve rarely seen the type of through the line marketing which you would expect to build true national awareness of a new service like this. Plus VAs are notoriously
mean“frugal” about paying for anything – whilst they might give it a crack one year, unless it produces results, they won’t cough up for a second year. If you don’t get a fair number of VAs on the directory, there’s no point in a client using it as a central resource – they might as well just Google.
- On that point, the rates quoted for new directories are around £100/year… £100 buys a heck of a lot of Google ads, Facebook ads, and LinkedIn traffic directly to your site looking for the specific skills you offer. Wouldn’t that be better than clients seeing your business alongside 20 other VAs?
- If it’s a paid-for site, where’s the integrity of the content? Do VAs get removed if they are letting down clients?
- If paying for exposure, you’d want it to be a site with high domain authority referring to you. As a rule of thumb in online marketing, you would expect a referring site to have 30+ before you considered advertising or paying for links. Governments and highly respected news sources who update frequently have DA of 90-100 (BBC.co.uk is 95 for example). An SME will have a DA of 10-25, larger companies/organisations 30-40 (SVA’s is 35), and DA of 50-90 would be for large media corporations like The Guardian or Huffington Post. The directories I’ve seen this month have a DA of ZERO!
Do I think advertising is worth it?
Yes, if the site is getting visitors from your target market in sufficient numbers to justify the cost – I wouldn’t pay to advertise on any site with a DA of less than 30 though.