Searching online for a business and their contact information in Thailand isn’t as easy as it is in other countries. Business directories in other countries always seem quite full and have easy to read information. But why is it so tricky here in the land of smiles?
One problem stems from the written address and the Thai non conformity to setting one address as the correct one.
Think of how many ways the Thais spell Lad (lat) Prao and Jatujak (chatuchak) for example. This is why huge companies like Pitney Bowes and Neopost haven’t got a foothold here yet because a machine needs exact information to create bar codes and Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) for large mail sorting machines to sort mail effectively.
Another issue Internet surfers in Thailand come across when looking for business information is; old and useless information. Many directories pre-load databases, because they believe no one dines at empty restaurants, or visits empty online directories, for this reason, owners of these directories pre load their website with a database gleaned from wherever, sure Google likes it and you are high up on Google, but the wise internet user can see you fine, and knows how to ignore, you because you aren‘t as good as Google thinks you are!
The more established directories are not quite moving with the times either, and rely on having many thousands of pages linked on search engines to keep them alive, when in fact the new Google algorithms are slowly spelling disaster for this kind of business model as they are not as up to date and consistent as other sites who have blog, news and forums and are making noise on social media.
Google is desperate to give you a ‘learning experience’ or at least they want you to stay on what you searched for, which means for them you have found what you were looking for. So their robots are so clever now and can spot black hat techniques a lot more than they used too, to have any kind of a web presence you are going to have to start reading what Google is looking for. The main thing they are looking for now is trust and consistently shared informative content.
Most business people I speak to find it annoying when they find their business listed on directories they never asked to join, this is another issue when it comes to pre loading an existing database. As the website owner do you call each one and then ask them to approve their listing, give them a username and password? Expensive and time consuming exercise indeed. Sure the links back are useful for your search engine ranking, well they are if the site is deemed as an authority site and lends to your business topic of your website.
A further challenge Business directory owners have in Thailand is populating the site, people are generally lazy, and to get them to spend 5 minutes adding their business to directories themselves is like asking them to walk home in the baking Bangkok sun, so to have an owner populated site you are going to have to be good at sales, (even if it is free) be damned good at social media marketing, and of course regularly blogging just to tell them what the massive benefits are for having a business listing on a good business directory and article marketing site actually is!
We started making web directories 5 years ago and back then we were not much different from the renegades I described in this post, contactbangkok.com was a reasonable success if you count 78,000 members, yet we realised that we needed to change our business model and go with a more user driven Thailand directory for business.
Biz-findthailand.com was born in February 2013 based on the success of our UK site biz-find.co.uk which has seen over 750 members in one year join, and people are starting to see the value of managing your own page, adding articles and social media links on our sites.
We are now driven by content which makes us unique in our field. Sure we started out with just one listing and we had to beg for that one! Yet now the traffic is growing and people are opening, reading and commenting on our member’s article posts.
We are an online marketing company at heart with ten years UK sales experience to boot and we have a massive social media presence so our members get maximum exposure to the Thai market place.
If you have a business anywhere in Thailand (Any ASEAN country is welcome also until we get a franchisee in your country) with a Thai phone number and a website, we post your business free on our site, in Thai and English (or just English), then we post your arrival to our social media people and you can see the clicks your page and each other listing has had. You can post your business articles free on the site too! We pay to promote great articles to get you more edge rank, and online exposure and this all leads to one place…more chance of sales!
This year we will have a buyer’s page and a member’s offer page so watch out for that.
Some great things in life are free, just don’t believe everything is bad, or you will miss the one time when a good thing comes along!