97% of the businesses in the USA are small businesses. The vast majority of those are a local business where people do business with them in their office or within their city or town.
As we all know, the online world changes constantly. New social media platforms pop up every day. Google keeps changing the rules on search engine optimization. Did you know that Google and the other search engines also rely heavily on business databases to know about your business? Your customers are already searching for you, but unfortunately, most businesses don’t have their online listings set up correctly.
There are MANY online business listings out there, as well as business databases that need to have consistent information. Google relies on these sources of information to know whether to serve up your listing or someone else’s when someone is searching for your type of business.
If the data from these sources is inconsistent, then the search engines have a hard time knowing which is correct. Maybe your phone number changed, or you moved your office. Did you go back and fix all the online systems? Probably not, or you missed a few.
Worse, were you even aware that you needed to do this? Did you know that you need to set up your listings on ALL the sites, like Yelp, Google+, Yahoo and Bing, and many other sites that all feed back into the three big business databases (Axciom, Yellow Pages Marketing Association, and InfoUSA)?
It’s a daunting task to hunt all these systems down, create accounts, update them and manage them. What happens if you’re a real estate business with multiple locations? Then the problem gets even worse.
I even had a friend whose competitor went out and created a bogus listing and put some bogus information out there. He couldn’t get control of the listing to change it, and it showed up high in the search engines! You must do this.
Fortunately, there’s an easier way. MUCH easier.
In my classes I always talk about GetListed.org. They had a free tool that allowed you to search on your business and see what’s out in the wild. They no longer exist, but the good thing is that they got acquired by Moz.com, and it’s now called Moz Local. They’ve done a great job of updating the interface and showing you what’s going on with your business listings.
Click the “Check My Listing Score” button, type in your business name and zip code. (I’m not sure if it works in countries outside the USA – please let me know in the comments below.)
They then give you a dashboard so you can see what listings you’ve claimed, which ones are missing, and which have inconsistent information. The listings include:
- Infogroup (database)
- Localeze (now Neustar)
- Best of the Web
- Acxiom (database)
It’s a hefty list. How did your business score? Leave us a comment below and tell us.
Moz is also offering a way to get your listings consistent across all systems with one button. For $49/year per listing, they’ll do the heavy lifting and post all your data into all systems. Is it worth the 49 bucks? I don’t know. I haven’t tested it yet (and I’m not trying to sell you on their services either – you can do it all by hand for free, and I like free!) To me, though, that’s a reasonable price to save you the aggravation of several hours of create account/copy/paste/save, so I may just give it a try.
Have you tried it?