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

Related Topics: Twitter on Ulitzer, Internet Marketing, SEO Journal, Mergers & Acquisitions on Ulitzer, Telecom Innovation, Local Business Listings on Ulitzer

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Local Business Listing Hijackings

If you do a search on “local business listing hijacking” you will find related information

If you do a search on “local business listing hijacking” you will find information related to situations in which a competitor hijacked another businesses local listing to their benefit. As of December 7, 2009, Smart Company wrote an article about hijacking prevention. In New Zealand a florist is facing 7 years for hijacking local listings of competitors.

This is a real situation that can and does have an impact upon a business that is not paying attention to their local business listings. If your business relies on the local consumer market for its primary revenue and you are not clear about local business listings, then you need to get caught up real quick.

For one thing local business listings are the demise of the traditional yellow pages. If the traditional yellow pages have not already seen their coffin and at minimum a door stop, then free local business listings are the nails in the coffin. Certainly you will find that you can save money in this space.

Local Business Listing Hijacking CautionLocal business listings give a local business the ability to not only have their general information available, but photos, videos, coupons, offers, discounts, promotions to name a few items. Additionally these can be updated 24×7x365. Certainly none of these are features of the traditional yellow pages.

The process gets even better. Not only do these listings show up on the first page of Google for a search result in which a local listing is appropriate, but they show up on mobile devices while local consumers are driving around town. Studies have shown that there is an increase in local search and local search via mobile applications on mobile devices. We won’t get into all that detail here, but you can certainly read one of our previous articles about the statistics.

As you can imagine local listings have been evolving in the past few years and so have mobile devices and mobile applications. Starting in 2010 the two industries are merging even closer.

Just in case you’re still not convinced that you need to pay attention to your local business listing, think about the consumers walking through your store and writing reviews about their experience, products or services. If they don’t like something they can twitter or write a review in any local listing website before they even make it back to the car.

These consumer reviews are very important because in part they determine your ranking amongst other local listing websites for a web search (vs. mobile search). They also have a tremendous value to the search engines, which is one of the reasons Google wanted to acquire Yelp recently.

So, let’s get back to the issue of local business listing hijackings. To prevent this process the first action is to claim your business listing at multiple local listing websites. Certainly Google Local Business Listing will be your first stop, followed by Yahoo, Bing, Local.com, Ask.com and Yelp. You will find that there are many more locations, this is only a start.

Aside from getting involved in local business listings around the web here are a couple of other items to consider. Always be sure to have consistent and as much detailed information about your business as possible, particularly your address. Be sure your information is consistent amongst all locations on the web including your website.

Claiming, updating and managing the ongoing updates and reviews to your local business listing can become a time consuming process. It may at some point require more time than your website. Certainly the local business listings can become your website too.

Because there are multiple locations that have to be updated you may need to consider a service that will help you maintain and manage your local listing at multiple local listing websites. When it comes to the web, Google may be the 800lb gorilla, but in the mobile marketing space, the mobile application developer will ultimately decide what database they will use. Furthermore, the local consumer will be the one to decide which local listing they will use to write their reviews. Therefore, for both of these reasons, you will want to manage your local listing at multiple local listing websites.

Waiting to consider your local business listing is not really an option. You will want to be an early adopter as quickly as possible.

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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.