An article on our website discusses online business listings and how important they are for local businesses. However, not all local businesses are familiar with them. This blog post is intended to bring you up to speed on what a local business listing is and how it can affect you if you own a small business.
Local listings have existed on the Web for years. Various companies have purchased business databases and create websites with the information. Some of the database information is from the phone companies and some comes from other sources, but the result is a sort of yellow pages on the Web. The listings have your business name, location, and telephone numbers, and they may also provide mapping information, hours of operation, forms of payment you accept, a description of your business, and customer reviews. The sample here comes from Google’s local listings.
Many companies provide and promote these listings including Google, Yahoo, Merchant Circle, Insider Pages, City Search, Kudzu, Super Pages, and the Yellow Pages. All of these companies provide small business owners with a free basic listing, which can be updated and corrected by the business owner merely by claiming the listing. Think about the paper Yellow Pages where you couldn’t change your business advertisement for a year. These are a great deal for small business owners and you should claim the listings for your business.
Some of the listings have become even more important lately. Google claims over 70% of consumer search and Google’s local listings are likely the first items presented to your prospective customers when searching for your products or services. Claim the Google listings first! These listings will often appear above your website if you have one. If your competitor has claimed its local listing and provided additional information and pictures to dress up the listing, it will stand out over the listings that have been neglected. If your competitor has also asked customers to provide business reviews on Google or affiliated sites, those reviews will further distinguish your competitor’s listing from yours.
Do yourself a favor and claim your business listings, update the information, and then ask your customers to submit reviews for your business. If you have questions about this, please contact us. If you do nothing, you’ll be wasting a very powerful web reputation opportunity.