Claiming Your Business Listing
It is not uncommon to meet with long established locally based companies who have just decided to build a website. Once this has been accomplished and the On-Page SEO has been complete, claiming their local online directory listings is the next step in solidifying their local online presence and ranking. Most business owners are surprised to see how many unclaimed directory listings they have accrued over the years or the advantages that come with claiming and updating them.
These listings offer businesses several opportunities to in order to build web traffic or increase brand awareness. The first advantage these listing offer companies is that they are usually 100% FREE to claim. Some companies might solicit money to expedite their approval process, charge a onetime or annual fee for membership or offer a premium listing that helps your listing stand out among your competitors. Other directory sites may have a sales associate call the company in order to offer their premium plans or sponsored listings. While most of these websites are legitimate, our company recently received a call by a sales associate from a very popular and unnamed review site who began to quote me implausible numbers of people searching for my specific services in my locale. Being familiar with the accurate search numbers in the immediate area for our services, I asked him to email me the figures so I could have a closer look, and then make my decision based on this information. Needless to say, I never received the email; sometimes sales people can be the worst disseminators of information.
The second opportunity lies within the user base of the listings. Sites such as Yelp, Merchant Circle, Manta, City Search, Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, Hot Frog, Super Pages, MapQuest, Local.com and the all familiar Yellow Pages have developed large and loyal user bases that rely on these companies for information and to assist them when making decisions on which local companies to patronize or avoid and which products to purchase. The amount of feedback and positive reviews can dictate which companies they will ultimately choose. Because of their established credibility, many of these websites are featured prominently in the search results of the major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
The third advantage is the amount of content and pertinent information that can be placed within the listing. When completing a typical listing you will be required to add your companies name, address (sometimes they offer the option of hiding it), phone number, email, url (this usually includes a pass thru link to your website which can help with search engine rankings and credibility once indexed), social media sites, office hours, main contact, payments accepted and other additional information. You can also post photos, online coupons and daily content updates on many of these sites without any additional payment.
The fourth advantage when seeking out and claiming your online listings allows you to correct any outdated or misinformation that might appear on these listings. Many companies send out spiders to pull listings off of other sites in the hopes you will find it, claim it and be active within their community. Some of these listings are outdated or incorrect. Remember when you claim your listings, you are taking ownership of them and verifying their accuracy. Search engine sometimes use these listings as a measurement of your trustworthiness, which can ultimately impact a site’s ranking in the search results. Make certain all the information in your listing, other than the content which should be original for each listing, is uniform. In some cases competitors have been known to hijack listings in order to redirect the web traffic, emails or phone calls. In fact this was a major issue with the locksmith industry in Google Maps several years ago, at one time they stopped accepting listings from that industry due to excessive fraud.
Finally, the last advantage focuses on your company’s reviews. If you have poor or inaccurate reviews on your listing, you can now address the issue directly. Many consumers appreciate this proactive stance and it allows the company to tell their side of the story or to help resolve the issue. Reputation management is essential and has helped many business correct blatantly false information which otherwise might hurt their bottom line. Hotels such as Holiday Inn and The Marriott are actively engaging past guests on these sites and address both the good and bad experiences they may have.
As you can see there are many advantages to claiming your local listings for your company. Although claiming your listings can be quite time consuming, it certainly can be beneficial and profitable. If you are looking to drive traffic to your website from outside sources and raise your online profile. If you are interested in claiming and creating your local listings and do not have the time but would like to have it done by experienced professionals at a very competitive rate, please call us at 786-368-3076 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.