If you’ve ever used a search engine like Google to find or research a local business, you know how vital online local listings are for promoting and managing your own web presence. From increasing your ‘shelf space’ on the search engine results pages to helping you manage your online reputation, claiming your local listings on review and directory sites is a worthy investment that can yield a lot of return.
1. Directories and Review Sites Boost Your SEO.
It’s a fact that more than 82% of consumers use online search to find and research local businesses. Claiming your local listings can increase your SEO ranking; the more places search engines can find you, the better you’ll fare when someone searches for your business. And it helps that search engines tend to favor review sites like Yelp and Citysearch when indexing the most relevant content. For instance, when a search is conducted for local Frisco business The Gent’s Place, Google yields results for their pages on Google Places, Citysearch, and Insider Pages, effectively helping them dominate the search results page for their business name.
2. Unclaimed Listings Can Work Against You.
By not claiming your listings, you may be unknowingly helping out your competitors. An unclaimed business may get placed below a claimed one in local search and directory listings. So, if your competitor has a claimed listing, the search engine may deem that business more relevant than yours. What’s worse is that your competitors can even hijack your listings in order to acquire your potential leads. It does happen: just look at this client, whose competitor had claimed their Google Places page right from under them!
3. Listings Are Good for Your Reputation.
When you own the search results page for your business name, you can control more of the content people see about your business when they search for you. At a minimum, claiming your listings lets you correct erroneous or missing information, such as an outdated or incorrect location, phone number, or business hours, and maintain your info if it ever changes. Once you’ve claimed your listings, you can also actively manage your reputation by responding to any negative reviews on your pages and enhance your profiles with positive content like product or service descriptions, special offers, and engaging photos and videos that highlight your business.
4. Local Directories are (Usually) Free.
Claiming your listings usually only takes an investment of time – but in most cases, not your money. While some local directories do require a small fee, the most popular sites like Google Places, Bing Local, and Superpages.com are free for business owners to claim and update. However, most do require you to verify your listings via a phone call, which may take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to be made. But once your listings are verified, you can update or add content as often as you like to make your listings as relevant as possible.
Claiming your local listings can be time consuming, but it is a necessary part of optimizing your web presence. That’s why one of the many services ReachCast offers is claiming, setting up, and updating your business information on over 100 local directories and listings. To learn more about ReachCast, contact us today.