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Internet Marketing Authors: Elizabeth White, Melih Oztalay, John Khan, Carmen Gonzalez, Neil McNulty

Related Topics: Internet Marketing, Local Business Listings on Ulitzer

Internet Marketing: Article

Local Business Listings Are Not About Getting Listed

Most businesses are already listed with the major local listing websites and search engines.

The number of service providers that are attempting to help the local business and the small business to get listed are on the rise as the Internet becomes more valuable to the local businesses.  What is strange is that in most of these cases the business is already listed!  If you have a phone number for your business you are already listed with the major search engines and the major websites that focus their attention on the local market.

The local listing websites can be broken down into four major categories that include with some examples:

  • Search Engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask)
  • Local Listing Communities (Yelp, Judy’s Book)
  • 411 Websites (Yellow Pages, Yellow Book, Super Pages)
  • GPS (Magellan)

Any one of these websites receives their original data from the phone companies and other public sources.  After all, local listings have been on the web for a number of years.  There really isn’t anything new about this.

Let’s put local listing services into perspective. 

First and foremost, the service that you really need to focus on is setting up an account, claim your business listing, updating your local listing, and then maintaining your local business listing.  This will allow you to update your listing with current contact information, products, services, website, coupons, photos, videos, and much more.  This is not something a "get listed" service will perform for you.  Of course it is best to claim and maintain your listing at multiple local listing websites.  We will explain why shortly as the world is greater than Google in this case.

Once you have completed this process your listing is more likely to appear for the appropriate search results on search engines and provide the consumer with your information on their mobile searches too.  Claiming your listing will insure that you will receive your QR Code that will benefit you to market to local consumers.  Additionally, claiming your listing will help you better manage consumer reviews, which will become important for search engine rankings in the future.

Getting your business listed can provide you benefit by getting your information into secondary local listing website that are predominantly 411 websites.  The benefit here is something called citations.  In particular Google is looking to verify your business which happens by finding your business information through these other 411 websites.  So, there is a benefit from these "get listed" services, however, do keep it in perspective as to how much it will really help your business market to the local consumers.

If you’re wondering why you need to manage multiple local listing websites, the answer is relatively simple.  Your customers will choose which local listing website they post their review about their experience, your products and your services.  This is probably the one area that Google will not be the 800 lb gorilla in the near future.  Local listing communities have been on the Internet for quite some time and the consumers have been using them to post their comments.

This is another reason why getting listed services are not going to be helpful.  Consumers have been posting their comments without the involvement in this process by the business they are writing about.  Without claiming your business listing you will not be able to manage the consumer reviews, which will ultimately play a role with your website ranking position.  Google’s failed attempt to acquire Yelp for $500 million during the 2009 holiday season is a good indication of the type of data Google is seeking out.

Getting listed services are not going to eliminate another individual or competitor from hijacking your listing.  Local listing hijackings are a very real problem as there really is no good quality control.  The search engines have attempted to make this process as secure as possible; however, there are always loop holes, particularly with 411 websites.  If anything, getting listed services are more likely to cause confusion by adding duplicate listings and not having security checks to verify the business they are listing.

Duplicate listings are equally an issue with local business listings.  Information about a business is coming from multiple directions to major search engines. This includes getting listed services, 411 websites, the business itself, and local listing communities.  As this industry evolves over the next few years, this information will get cleaned up, but in the meantime it is important to focus on not adding to the turmoil of data.

Getting listed services are for the most part only running a computer program to distribute your information to a variety of sources.  You are getting what you pay for from these low cost services.  They have a role relative to increasing the awareness of your business at multiple locations in a short time.  This information will aid you with citations as Google’s local listing algorithm is in effect.

If you want to use the local business listing as a local marketing tool to reach the local consumer, then you need a service that will have a progressive plan to help you manage these local listings and multiple local listing websites.  This progressive plan includes setting up accounts, claiming your listing, updating your listing, and maintaining your listing.   This will then be followed by consumer review management, citations, and QR codes.

Your time resources are limited and your expertise is with your business.  This does not necessarily include the management of Internet marketing of your business.  Local business listing management services are provided by SmartFinds Internet Marketing. You will find this to be of great benefit to your time resources and the low cost service may eliminate your yellow page ad costs. Let the experts of over 15 years Internet marketing experience help you use this local business marketing tool properly.

More Stories By Melih Oztalay

I have over 20 years of experience in developing successful, efficient and strategic web marketing and advertising solutions for businesses. Working through an entrepreneurial framework, I have focused on business development, sales, execution, and management. Combining solid knowledge of marketing and advertising with information technology, I have been successful in being able to apply digital technologies to the needs of businesses. As an early adopter of new ideas and technology, my clients are able to benefit from imaginative and effective programs that keep them ahead of their competition.

The Company

Smartfinds is a digital marketing agency working with national and global corporate clients including domestic and off-shore franchise operations with their online marketing efforts. We offer a number of core competencies including web marketing research, analysis, strategies, and tactics; website development and SEO; organic search engine marketing with content marketing and social media marketing; Google AdWords advertising including pay-per-click; Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools interpretation; Local Store Marketing including customer ratings and reviews management; and more.

Our entrepreneurial business approach employs open-mind creativity and early-adopter assertiveness along with in-depth planning for business growth. Our goal is to be a strategic partner with our clients focused on increasing traffic to the website, business growth, generate leads, increase sales and revenues.