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You’ve heard about the 70-plus local directories on the internet, and you’ve probably been told that you should claim your business listing on those sites. But you still might be asking: Why? Maybe you’ve already got a website and social media profiles — why does it matter if you’re listed on a bunch of other sites?
The answer is simple: Customers. The more sites that correctly and consistently list your business info, the more likely it is that you’ll be found by more customers. Online directories are the digital equivalent of the phone book, except it’s no longer enough to be listed in one phone book. You need to be listed in all the phone books.
Here are five reasons why these listings are so important to small business owners.
When search engines like Google crawl the web, they look for mentions of your business’ name, address and phone number (NAP). Even slight variations, like an abbreviated street address or alternate phone number, signal to search engines that your business might not be legit. When your NAP info is consistent in every citation, on or off your website, search engines will see your business listing as trustworthy, boosting your rank in search results and possibly earning a place in featured results like Google’s Local Three Pack.
Consistency isn’t just key to search engines. It’s also important to customers. What happens when a customer finds an outdated phone number for your business and the line is disconnected? Or they try to visit your storefront but find the door locked because it’s your old location? That customer is going to think you are unprofessional and disorganized, and they’re going to take their business to your competitor. You need to ensure that customers find your correct phone number and address every time they search, no matter what site they’re using.
It’s not enough to find and correct all your local listings. You also need to “lock” those listings to make sure they don’t change again. Online directories get their listing info from aggregators that scrape government documents and other public data sources. This info is often wrong and outdated, but it could be used to overwrite your listing — even after you fixed it! Even worse, an unscrupulous competitor could claim your listing and replace your phone number with theirs. Locking your business listings is key to protecting your reputation and securing your business’ online identity.
When your online listings are correct and consistent, it signals to search engines that your business is legitimate and trusted. And when search engines like Google and Bing trust your business, more customers will see it in search results, resulting in a lot more visitors and traffic to your websites. This also applies to featured placements like Google’s Local Three Pack, Google Maps, and key placement on mobile searches.
Most web searches today are not conducted on computers — they are conducted on smartphones. When a customer finds your business listing with a mobile search, they are just as likely to call your phone number as they are to visit your website. That’s great news for business owners — but only if customers find your correct phone number. Updating all your local business listings is the only way to make sure customers find the right info every time.
There are more than 70 maps, apps, and local directories that list your business info. Claiming and correcting your info on all of these sites would take a very long time. Manta makes it easy! We can use the information in your Manta profile to fix your business listing everywhere it appears, and we’ll lock those listings to secure your business identity. Make sure customers find the real you, every time and everywhere they search.
Thank you very much for reading this!