The Importance of your Online Business Listing

The Importance of your Online Business Listing

What are online directories? What is my business listing?

Remember when finding the address or phone number of a business meant reaching for a phone book like Yellow Pages? Today, most people search for this information online. There are literally hundreds of online directories. Some are industry-specific; others are general business directories.

If you’re a business owner, chances are your company has a listing in at least a few of these directories already, such as Google My Business or Facebook. You may have even received advertisements from directories such as Yelp or Home Advisor, encouraging you to list your business with them.

If you’re a business owner, chances are your company has a listing in at least a few of these directories already, such as Google My Business or Facebook. You may have even received advertisements from directories such as Yelp or Home Advisor, encouraging you to list your business with them.

Does every directory really help make my business more visible to my customers? Don’t most people just use Google?

Great questions. The majority of searches are performed on Google, especially those from a mobile device. Creating a Google My Business page is a great start, because it enables your business to appear in Google Maps.

The top three Maps results get the vast majority of “clicks” from potential customers. Google uses several factors to determine which businesses earn these coveted spots.

Some of these include:

  • The number of listings you have on other sites. The more times Google can see your business mentioned on the internet, (especially on the directory sites that it considers to be the most trustworthy,) the more credible your business will seem. This will result in your listing receiving priority over businesses with fewer listings.
  • The consistency of your listing across all sites. You may be surprised to discover many inaccurate listings, even if your business has never moved locations. Many directory sites automatically add business data that they believe to be relevant. Misspellings and confusion with competitors or businesses with similar names are very common. This can lower Google’s confidence as to which details are correct.
  • Number of Google reviews and overall rating. A business with lots of great reviews will typically be shown to more potential customers than a business with a high percentage of negative reviews, or one with very few or no reviews.
  • Your website. Some factors are right on your website – for example, whether your site is mobile-friendly, and the amount and relevance of its content.

Additionally, some people prefer to search directly on specific directory sites (for example, within the Yelp app). Having your listing in as many places as possible ensures more customers can find you.

How to ensure your listing is accurate and consistent:

Adding your listing to hundreds of directories can be tedious. Aside from entering the information manually, you may opt to enlist an intern or hire a virtual assistant to tackle the task. Be sure to double check all entries; even a simple misspelling equals an inconsistent listing.

Note that this process may need to be repeated every two to four months. Many directories will delete a listing that they perceive as “inactive.” Some allow other users to make changes to your listing, which may not always be accurate.

Be aware that while many directories allow you to post a free listing, there are some that require payment, or are only available as part of a paid subscription service. Such services can be helpful, because they distribute your listing to a select number of directories after you enter the information only once. These services often maintain your listing and can prevent third parties from editing your listing.

Consider hiring a professional: most digital marketing companies offer a listing submission service, and many include subscription services or paid directories as mentioned above.

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