Wednesday, August 30th, 2017
Whether you've got a website or not, whether you've just started out or have been in business for years, whether your business is big or small… you should claim your online business listings if you have not already done so. These are listings could be working for you to spread your name and reputation.
There are a ton of sites out there - directories, portals, and channels - that create listings for you whether you asked them to or not. It looks like you're a member of the directory or site. Nice of them? Maybe. Here are just a few of the more significant listing sites for home improvement contractors:
One recent study by BrandMuscle showed that 56% of location-based businesses had not claimed their listing on Google My Business. And 84% had not updated their Better Business Bureau entry!
An unclaimed listing already has information about you. For example, an unclaimed Yelp listing may display phone, address and even reviews for a local remodeling or fence business. If they get it right, it's another instance on the Internet with your business name and essential details. But if they get it wrong, it can hurt you. And if the reviews are negative, you don't even get a chance to respond! Here's an example of what an unclaimed Yelp listing looks like:
If a Yelp listing is unclaimed, the right-hand side will offer the option to claim it.
You might think Facebook or Home Advisor would wait for a contractor to join and create a page or account. Not so. Instead, many of these sites prepopulate their own directories from online business directories and sites called "aggregators." The technology for gathering or "scraping" this data exists, and it means their own databases are more complete and more useful.
The result is your business is out there on the Internet in more places than you know about. While it seems this would increase the chance that future customers will find you, the truth is just the opposite.
Inconsistencies in your NAP - your company Name, Address and Phone number – hurt you because search engines have to reconcile all that data and return websites and businesses they think searchers are looking for. Google and the other search engines look for consistency as one method of judging how valid your business is, how likely it is that it exists.
Google will give preference to long-established businesses, but also consistency. The longer you've been in business, the more solid you may look as a business to Google. But the longer you've been in business, the more likely there are inconsistencies out there. If you've ever changed your business name or moved your office, it's likely there are multiple names and addresses out there attached to your business.
Directories and Other Listing Sites
Publishing and promotion sites, like Facebook, and offer you the opportunity to post new photos and status updates.
Review sites, like Yelp, and even if you haven't "claimed" the listing, your customers can still post reviews. Monitoring and replying to reviews is an important marketing function for any contracting business.
Promotional sites, allowing you to create offers and/or engage in online bids for customer projects, like Home Advisor.
Directories - Then there are a large number of sites that are simple directories and lists, offering the basic facts about your business. Their data source comes from several large data "aggregators" and the listings can be hard to correct. As soon as you fix one entry on one site, another one appears or the listing reverts back to the original wrong data. You should check and update these entries 3-4 times a year.
You can take control of these listings by "claiming" them and then correcting or updating the information: the name of your business, physical address, phone number and website address.
Beyond claiming the listing, many sites can benefit by additional information and/or monitoring:
1. Claim & Correct Your Listings!
So, the first step is to simply claim your listing if you haven't already and correct any errors in the name, address, phone number or website address displayed. Once claimed, Google will see the listing as legitimate or owner verified. You'll also instantly build trust with visitors.
2. Beef Up the Important Listings
The second step is to enhance the important listings with photos, lengthy descriptions, your logo, business hours and any other information specific to that specific site.
3. Monitor and Refresh Your Listings
Unfortunately, you do need to stay on top of your listings, by checking them at least twice a year and whenever your essential information changes. Use a spreadsheet to keep track.
For the major listings add new content regularly, such as photos or status updates. Put it on your work schedule. And set up notifications on these sites to you can respond to new reviews as they come in.
Focus on Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business.
BigNet Lead's Local Team helps home improvement contractors in our network manage their listings. With advanced software tools and our Listings Log widget, we audit, correct and monitor listings across the leading listing platforms. We take this time-killing task and get it done!