A big part of performing search engine optimization (SEO) strategies for small businesses is managing online listings. Aside from input from search engines, like Google or Bing, consumers are also using review sites, like Yelp, and mobile apps, like TripAdvisor and Foursquare, to find local businesses for their everyday needs.
Generally, this is a good thing, since there are now more ways for potential customers to find you. However, this can also pose an issue for small business owners, as this would mean that there are more listings you will need to manage and even more businesses you’ll need to compete against!
Being on top of your online business listings is a must, as outdated information, such as business locations and opening hours, can confuse and turn off potential customers if left unmanaged. Here are four ways to manage your online listings and make sure that your customers are getting the correct information when looking up your business:
Find the most relevant platforms
It’s impossible to find and manage all your listings at once, which means that you’ll have to prioritize the platforms that are most relevant to your specific niche or industry. If you already have a solid online presence, you can search for your business on Google and see which results come up.
Take note of business listings that you have not claimed before, and prioritize those that you think will get you the most traffic. It’s also helpful to be on the lookout for platforms that publish content about your specific niche. For example, if you have a physical location such as a shop, hotel, or restaurant, you’ll want to make sure that you have a profile on popular review sites, such as TripAdvisor and Yelp.
Claim your listings
Most of the time, you won’t even need to create a profile to get indexed, you’ll just need to claim them. To see which listings of your business are available, search for your business on the platform and see which ones you haven’t claimed yet.
Most listings from publishers like Google My Business, Yelp, and Tripadvisor can be claimed. This allows you to update any relevant information and post content that will help boost your online presence.
Update your address and contact information on your website
One of the most effective ways of controlling your online listings is to display the correct address and contact information on your website all the time. This is because most publishers rely on readily accessible information from websites to populate their platforms. Keeping your information updated helps publishers display the correct information in the first place.
Claiming your online business listings on sites like Google, Yelp, and Tripadvisor allows you to see and manage reviews. While not all may allow business owners to censor negative reviews, they do allow you to address complaints and hopefully resolve them in a timely manner.
Despite the potential of opening yourself to negative reviews, reviews are highly important for businesses today, especially given that 90% of consumers in 2020 read just ten or fewer reviews before making an opinion about a company. Having no reviews is even worse, particularly because potential customers will have no data to base their opinion on and may just move on to a more recognizable name.
Managing your online business listing is a great way to boost your local SEO strategy. While social signals, such as those coming from online listings and review sites, may not technically help your search rankings, it will still help your customers find you online, which in turn can boost sales and help you find better leads.
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