How to Claim Your Local Search Business Listings

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Part of building a solid web presence foundation is local business listings. Places like Yelp, Google, YP, CitySearch and more make it possible for your business to extend it's online reach further than your own social channels and small business website.

You may have noticed already that some of your business listings already have information. But why?

The answer is simple. Just like you and your site, these local business listings sites are working to increase and expand their presence online. By adding your business information voluntarily, people who search for you, or type of business may land on their site. The more people become aware of their website, the more it gets used by repeat visitors.

Just having that basic, boring information about your business isn't enough. There is a valuable marketing opportunity with each listing, and optimizing those business listings is crucial.

Before we dive into claiming those listings, take a look at the infographic below. It shows the importance of these listings and what it can mean for your business. Don't want to look at the graphic? Jump to the tutorial

Claim your business listings

1. The first step is finding out if your business already exists on each business listing website. The easiest way to do this is simply type your business name and address in Google and go through the results. You will likely see places you didn't know you were listed.

2. Next you will probably need to confirm the ownership of the business. This authentication step is different for all the websites. Some will use phone to confirm your ownership. Others will send an email. Google has a few options, one of them being a postcard mailed to your business with a code on it.

3. Once you claim ownership of the listing, you'll want to review it thoroughly to make sure your business information is correct and filled out completely. Make sure to list things like hours of operations, type of payment accepted, and general contact information.

4. After you've filled in the general details, it is important to optimize your business listings for search. Just like Search Engine Optimization for your website, you can optimize the content on you business listing profiles. Make sure to include keywords relating to services and market so your profile can be easily found. If you can add images to your business listings, make sure the images are optimized for searches as well. Good, well rounded SEO can mean the difference in you showing up before your competitor! 

5. If the business listing service offers people the ability to rate your business, take advantage of this. Ask your clients and customers to take a second to review your site. As you can see from the infographic above, ratings play a big role in people's decision making process. Here's a simple script you can copy to get reviews fast.

"Hi {name},

I wanted to take a quick second of your time to let you know I am improving our company's presence on the internet. I need your help. In the next day or so, click this link {insert link} and leave a quick review about how you liked working/dining/etc. with us. It would make all the difference in the world!

Thanks in advance and I look forward to reading how your experience was.

Regards,

{Your Name}"

Conclusion

Business listings are extremely important for your business and online marketing strategy. Creating thorough listings on reputable sites like Yelp and Google will extend your reach on the internet, causing your business to show up more. Make sure to optimize your business listings with good SEO in mind. Your listing is an extension of your business website. Good luck!

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