Why You Should Claim Your Online Business Directory Listings
Even if your business has never done any online marketing, hasn’t created a corporate website or started a Facebook brand page, it is still very likely that your business has several listings on the web. Many online business directories create listings for businesses using telephone account information or Internet mapping data. Because these listings appear in the SERPs when people do local business or product searches, many of your customers may have seen these web pages even if you haven’t. Those same customers may even have left reviews and comments about your business on these sites, and by claiming your listings, you can gain at least some control over how they represent you and your company.
Over half of consumers use web search methods when they are making a purchase1, with the percentage increasing to 79% for mobile users2 who also have a higher conversion rate and often spend more3. A business’s presence in the search results is increasingly becoming a direct source of customers, and as features like Google’s Knowledge Graph exert more influence over consumers’ choices, it is becoming more important to take control over the listings that they will see.
One of the best reasons for claiming your online business listings is that they are free. Services like Google+ Local pages give businesses a free webpage that they can use to display a comprehensive snapshot of their business online, and for the basic service it costs nothing but the time to set it up and maintain it when needed. The other major search engines also have their own business directory listings that businesses need to claim in order to be able to access them. Bing Local incorporates information from YellowPages Online to make up a dedicated listing page while Yahoo! Local uses information from its own search engines and only creates pages for businesses that set them up. Even if you are using no other online marketing, you should still take advantage of at least these three listings as they will be how your online customers are most likely to find their way to your business.
If you are using Yellow Pages to advertise your business to phone customers, then you already have an incomplete online listing to go with it. The YellowPages Online business directory is one of the most common places that Internet business directories draw their information from, making it a valuable resource to claim for your business. The most popular of these sorts of business review sites would be Yelp, which encourages users to leave their opinions of businesses that they have used on the site. Most of the information for each business listing is based on the Yellow Pages listing and, like all of these sites, it is free for businesses to claim their business page.
It is impractical to try and claim every listing that exists for your business on the web, but for most people, taking control of these five will reach most of the major ones. It may also be useful to claim the listings at CitySearch and Local.com to round out the most popular directories. Once they are set up there is very little to maintain, and any negative remarks can be quickly seen and dealt with before they have much impact on your business. Finding ways to effectively promote a business is always a challenge, so when a productive marketing tool is made available for free, it would be missing a good opportunity to put your business in one of the places where you will certainly find your customers. Contact Infintech Designs to find out all of your options when it comes to using your business’s already existing local listings.
1. Search Engine Use 2012, Kristen Purcell, Joanna Brenner, Lee Rainie, Pew Research Center
3. 5th Annual 15miles/Localeze Local Search Usage Study, comScore, 2012