The Importance of Owning Your Business Listings

Four out of five consumers now use search engines to find local businesses. This is why you must own your business listings. Any company or individual can set up your information through places like Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, Yellow Pages and more. Some customers may have the best intentions, but others can use this as a chance to create confusion and cause your reputation to suffer.

The more of these pages (aka listings, citation sites, directory sites) you control and maximize, the higher your business will appear in search engine algorithms. The higher your visibility on the first page of search engine results, the more social proof you will gain for potential clients and customers. Being an established company is almost as important as customer and client reviews.  We have a joke in this industry. Where do you hide the dead body?  Page two of the search engines!

You want to dominate your local area search results. Your business listings are the key to doing that, and your future depends on it, guaranteed.

Not so long ago, listing your business in the White or Yellow Pages was all you needed. Shoot, you could even put an ad in the paper or send out a postcard and that would do the trick.  With GPS and mobile use dominating search engine results, over 60% of searches are now done on mobile devices, your company must get the future is now. Mobile access is becoming more important than ever. Apps like Yelp and Google Maps and even Facebook will require accurate, up-to-date information. Please note that the iPhone and other Mac products use Apple Maps Connect as their map application. With accurate listings, your customers can find you on-the-go with no fuss. Nothing frustrates a customer more than inaccurate information such as business hours being wrong or not listed at all, no feel for what the business looks like because the images are missing.

Pro Tip:  At a minimum, your address, phone number, website, and hours of operation need be listed correctly.  

The best way to control your reputation is to claim those listings for yourself, using your own logins and passwords. A note of caution here. Be very careful who you let have access. There have been nightmare stories about shady companies, prior employees, and vengeful admins who used the login credentials and administrative privileges provided to them to discredit, slander, alter, and/or delete the listings completely.

Be proactive. You want to claim them as soon as you’re able, since most business listing sites require verification of identity after an account has already been built. This can take up to 45 days in the inside when you use a company like ours, up to two months on the outside and if you do it yourself, in some cases, it could take years to be even semi-accurate.

If you find that someone else has set up an account, or if you notice that a prior owner of your establishment still has access, contact the site admins immediately for assistance. The sooner it happens, the faster you’ll have the reins of your reputation firmly in hand.  If you are unable to do so, there are ways you can access your listings, some easier than others and recently Google My Business has made it even easier.  Keep a master website address for access to your listings with logins and passwords handy and updated.  Not sure where to start or don’t have the manpower to even begin to tackle this project?  That is why we developed a program that will do it for you with no headaches.  The best advice is, while you don’t “own” your Google, Yelp or Facebook pages, you can control the content and the best way to do that is to know how to access them quickly and effectively.

Tamela Cantor