Why aren’t more small businesses increasing their online presence by verifying their FREE online business listings?
There are many ways to get your business noticed and listed online. Some work more than others but in my opinion a business should try and list their business in as many places as they can.
Many DIRECTORIES are free and more in likely your business is already listed in some of these directories and search engines. These FREE directories and search engines include major platforms like Google, Facebook, Bing, and Yahoo.
FREE Directories like the above are sort of like the old phone book that listed businesses automatically in the Yellow and white pages when the business was officially registered with a local government. Search engines and directories follow the same concept as well listing business domains URLs once they are registered. I am using Google as a reference because it serves as the major search engine and is a pretty good business directory that most directories and search engines fashion themselves after.
WHY VERIFY YOUR BUSINESS?
Since your business is more in likely is already listed you still need to claim and verify your online listing immediately. If your business goes unverified three things could happen.
1. Your competition can claim your business.
When a domain name is registered search engines usually crawl it looking for information. Once the domain is populated with information search engines and directories that share information back and forth then index the pages. The URL and page titles become searchable. The new URL usually only shows up if search for by name but it will show up.
Any websites are entitled to list their URL on any of these free search engines and directories. Major search engines like Google, Facebook, Bing work by allowing anyone to search for a business by name during the listing process. If the business website has been crawled it will appear in the search and ask to be verified, by asking for information pertaining to your business location and other identifiable credentials. The verifying process will entail the directory or search engine mailing a postcard to the address listed in the pre-verification process.
Here is where it gets tricky. There are business owners who make an honest mistake and claim your business thinking it to be their own but there are competitors who will want to steal your juice and your listing by claiming it intentionally. [Here is what Google has to say about verifying online listings if it its already been verified. https://support.google.com/business/answer/4566671?hl=en ]
2. Negative comments can be submitted against your business without your knowledge.
If your business goes unclaimed anyone can leave negative comments without your knowledge. Imagine someone spreading bad word of mouth press about your business that just isn’t true or not being told in the right context? Imagine you never get to tell your side of story and the word of mouth continues. That could be devastating. [Here is what Google has to say about negative comments online listings. https://support.google.com/business/answer/4596773?hl=en ]
3. Your listing could be suspended.
Not verifying your business could lead to some serious Reputation Management problems. Someone else could claim your business and the listing is suspended through no fault of your own but because of something someone else did just because you were not aware to claim your business. [Here is what Google has to say about suspended listings online listings if it its already been verified. https://support.google.com/business/answer/4569145?hl=en ]
Once your business has been verified the next step is to get it noticed and using your verified listing as the base for all of your online marketing.
Searchengines and Directories are valuable backlinks key components that help websites rank higher with search engines. The more reputalbe backlinks the better.
Google allows via Google analytics, and Google web master console a complete set of tools to monitor and manage your online listing. From the Google webmaster console you can manage marketing campaign metrics and assign pages to be crawled and manage listing and citations.
Here’s an excellent source to explain this forward. Click Here