A business listing service helps businesses to establish, promote, correct, and monitor where that business is found online, including online directories, social media sites, and GPS databases. Read on to learn more about what goes into these services, why you might need them, and how they benefit businesses.
What to Look for in a Business Listing Service
1. Widespread Distribution
Creating a few profiles for your business is neither difficult nor time-consuming. Yet when you consider the hundreds of directories, social media sites, and GPS databases across the web, this one task becomes much larger. A listing service submits accurate, optimized listings to the major directories which provide listing data to secondary sites and directories. This ensures that your business appears accurately and consistently in hundreds of places all over the web.
2. Local Profile Claiming
A listing provider can help you to not just appear in search results, but also to claim and verify your local listings. Having control over your listing is essential—this enables you to keep your listing up to date and accurate, respond to reviews, and optimize your listing for search results. A good listing provider will prioritize the claiming, verifying, and optimizing of your listing on important directories such as Google My Business, Bing, Yelp, and YP.com.
3. Reputation Monitoring Capabilities
Showing up in online directories is important, but how you appear on those directories is even more important. It’s hard to make improvements to your appearance without a mirror. In the same regard, it’s hard to improve your business’s visibility and reputation if you don’t know how it appears in the first place. A listing provider uses monitoring tools, alerts, and access to data to garner important insights such as how accurate your information is, how easy it is for customers to contact you after finding you, and what customers are saying about your business.
4. Reputation Building Capabilities
Monitoring your reputation is one thing, building it is another. In addition to being able to see how your business is appearing and being talked about online, you also want to be able to engage with the feedback and mentions of your business. You want to be able to respond to and promote positive feedback, to address and resolve negative reviews, and even reach out and ask for customers to leave reviews. A good listings provider has the tools for a business owner to monitor and build their reputation in one place.
A listing provider will save you time and prevent the cost of having inaccurate listings. However, this should not be a completely hands-off service. You want to have access to your listings so you can make adjustments to your profile as needed. Using tools to improve your business reputation monitoring will only be effective if you have some level of involvement.
Why Monitoring Your Listings is Important
Your business can appear on hundreds of sites. Don’t forget that for many directories, anyone can add a business. It’s not until you claim and verify your listing that you have control over it. So your business could be listed on a site and collecting reviews unbeknownst to you. A listing service provider helps you to stay on top of your listings and mentions of your business as much as possible. Here are some additional points to support the importance of list monitoring:
- The network consumers have access to has grown tremendously with social media, review sites, blogs, online commenting and more.
- Consumers talk about what they like, and sometimes even more about what they don’t like, so your business needs to be listening.
- You can quickly be notified about negative reviews, allowing you to respond as quickly as possible and mitigate the damage it causes.
- Businesses should have as much intelligence about their business as they can.
- A local business needs to know not just how they appear, but also how they appear with respect to their competitors.
Why Optimizing Your Listing is Important
Aside from improving your online presence and visibility, optimized listings provide important benefits to your business. Here are just a few of the many reasons to optimize your online business listings.
- Research online, buy online (aka ROBO) is the heart of the consumer journey today. Optimized listings align your business with this process.
- “Near me” searches are more prevalent than ever. Google and other search engines detect this term and use IP addresses to deliver locally relevant results.
- Lisa Cohen Gevelber, Global VP of Marketing at Google, talks about “micro-moments” in this Think with Google article. The example she gives is that of a traveler not having to wait in a check-in line to get into their hotel room. A micro-moment related to your business listing might be a consumer being able to tap to call, right from your listing. Or to be able to see pictures of your business without having to leave the platform on which they found you.
- In order for your listings to attract customers, you need to be there, be useful, and be quick. That is, show up above your competitors, provide the exact information potential customers are looking for, and provide it as conveniently as possible.
How Business Listings Services Work
Now that you understand the importance of business listings and reputation monitoring, here is a basic wrap-up of how business listing services work:
- Listing service providers submit your business information to major data suppliers, which push data to hundreds of other online sources including search engines, review sites, social media platforms, GPS/navigation devices, and online directories.
- Listings are optimized to appear accurately and consistently on the most popular sources, so that potential customers can find and engage with you more easily.
- Regular upkeep and proactive outreach sets a business up for sustainable reputation building and long-term success.
- Reputation monitoring enables businesses to know what’s being said about them publicly online, to monitor and engage with reviews on top sites such as Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, and Facebook.
Who knew that your business listings do more than just show up? They actually work 24/7 to improve your visibility, attract customers to your business, and connect you to the feedback you need to continuously improve your business.
If you’re looking for help with your listings, check out our Local Listings Builder service!