Make sure your customers don’t end up at your former (or competitor’s) location!
Local Business Listings in Montgomery, AL
Bizeeo Marketing Agency, based in Montgomery, Alabama, will create, claim and customize Local Business Listings for your small business wherever you may be located.
Do Local Business Listings help or harm your business?
It all depends on how you, the business owner, make use of them.
Whenever you perform an online search for a business in Montgomery (or whichever city you’re in), you’ll notice that there are literally hundreds of online business directories.
And if you are a local brick and mortar business, you’re probably already “listed” with most of them.
A few examples of more prominent business listings include:
- Yellow Pages
Many Local Business Listings have evolved and include social networking and customer reviews.
Are Business Listings Useful?
The short answer is, “Yes!”
- They provide another channel for potential or current customers to find you. You want potential customers to be able to discover you and you want existing (or former) customers to become “repeat” customers.
- They’re a quick way for customers to find your phone number or street address, along with a map with directions to your storefront.
- Many customers searching for a product or service will discover you through a business directory and see reviews and/or ratings that will (hopefully) help them form a positive opinion about you.
- Business Listings almost always provide a link to your website.
- Most of the listings cost nothing. This is FREE advertising!
Can Online Listings Harm My Business?
Again, the short answer is “Yes!”
As mentioned earlier, your business is probably already listed with many different directories.
This is mostly an automated process (the topic of a future article), but it can also be the result of user input, meaning someone has posted information about your business such as location, phone number, and other important details.
The problem is that many times the information is inaccurate, incomplete, or inconsistent.
Here are some very common examples of what Bizeeo encounters every day with our customers:
- A local business had a VERY negative review on page one (1) of the search engine results page (in the second position just after their website). An additional 15 people took the time to click “yes” when asked “if they found the negative comment helpful?” Who knows how many HUNDREDS of people actually saw the review?
- Another business had incorrect phone numbers and offices listed that no longer existed.
- Still another business, a restaurant, was listed with Google’s “Places for Business” (now called “Google My Business” 1), arguably the most important directory of all. The listing indicated the restaurant was CLOSED FOR DINNER, when they were open for dinner 5 nights a week!
- Lastly, a friend of ours that ran a local business said that her business details were so inaccurate that they were completely misleading for her customers.
Local Business Benefits
Less understood are the beneficial effects that accurate and consistent Local Business Listings can have on the ranking of your business website in the local search results.
One of the many ranking signals Google considers is “trust”.
For example, some of the things that Google wants to verify, from more than one source, are:
- Your business actually exists
- Your street address is accurate
- You sell the products and services you claim you do
- You’re open when you say you are
- The listed phone number rings at your business
Why Does Google Care?
Google wishes to provide its users with the best experience possible when they’re searching online.
This means providing the most accurate and relevant information possible, no matter what you’re looking for.
Google considers information about your business in the various Local Listings as independent corroboration. Think of it as both an online “character reference” and “background check” for your business.
If your Business Listings overwhelmingly indicate you are a Dentist when your website states you are a Veterinarian, Google sees this as a problem, and your search engine rankings will most likely be adversely affected.
What Should I Do?
You MUST take control and “claim” your listings!
Maybe not all of them, but the ones that are most important to your business. Here are a few tips:
- Create or claim all of the listings on the first 2 or 3 pages for search terms related to your business. This will require setting up a user account and in many cases, undergoing a verification process to prove you are the business owner.
- Make corrections to your business details.
- Be consistent.
- Add as much information as possible about your business, including images and video, when appropriate.
- Monitor and address all reviews and ratings. When people see you are engaged with your customers, they are more likely to conduct business with you.
- If you encounter a malicious and/or false review, in some cases you can have it removed. At the very least, you can leave a response as the authorized business owner.
- Add your business to any directories that will be beneficial to your business if you are not already listed.
Is It Difficult To Claim My Listings?
Also referred to as “Business Citations” or “Internet Yellow Pages”, it depends on how you define “difficult”.
It doesn’t require any technical skills, and the business listings are usually free. (Some offer optional, premium services for an additional fee.)
However, be prepared for a task that is:
- Extremely time consuming
- Extremely tedious (requires good record keeping to keep up with all of your accounts, usernames, and passwords)
- Extremely boring
- And in many instances, extremely confusing
If you are a business owner and don’t have the time to claim your listings (and most likely you don’t), consider hiring an Internet Marketing Consultant.
Remember, if people don’t know you exist, and cannot locate you online, you are most likely losing customers!
“The message for business people contemplating their place in cyberspace is simple and direct: get linked or get lost.” ~ Vic Sussman and Kenan Pollack
- Learn more about Google My Business. ↩