You should claim your business online – RIGHT NOW! Okay, now that we got that out of the way you may be left with a few questions: How do I claim my business? Why should I claim my business? What is claiming my business? I have a website, isn’t that good enough? The answers are as follows: Go online, because someone else will, taking ownership of your online local listings, and not at all.
The World Wide Web has seen drastic changes in the way it indexes and presents content since its early days. These changes require you to be able to adapt to these constant changes. Local listings are of utmost importance in today’s online realm as it lends legitimacy to your company and, with some effort, can help tremendously with your online rankings. What are the rankings? It’s the ranking of which your website and/or content appear on Google. The best content and websites are the ones that appear on the first page of Google and within the 10 ten searches for a particular topic. Just having a website is NOT enough – you need to claim your business and we’re going to show you how and why, but first…
What are Local Listings?
Local listings are pages in online directory systems that provide information to potential customers. These act similarly to the yellow pages of the print era and some even have GPS abilities to make sure your business is able to be found. A customer needs directions to your business so they can buy your products, but will the online GPS be able to map your business? This is where taking over a listing with mapping capabilities is important. Google Business, for example, allows a verified listing to be searchable on Google Maps. Unless your business is very, very new there is always some trace of it on the web. Businesses on these listing directories need to be verified, which is why you need to; claim your business sooner than later. Each has its own verification process with the express purpose of making sure the person claiming the listing is legitimate.
Why Claim Your Business?
Even though this information is publicly available and can still drive people to your business (albeit in a roundabout way) the act of verification has tremendous positives. Having your website connected to a listing helps with its search engine optimization (SEO), and any contribution there can eventually do wonders for your search ranking. Another major positive is having complete control over your listing.
Got a bad review that you felt was a misunderstanding? Having control over your listing will allow you to reply back and mitigate any damages a bad review can cause. Want better pictures uploaded to represent your business? You have that option as well! Changes in hours, events, descriptions – all this will be at your command and continuously staying on top of it will make your business look professional. An unverified, unmanaged listing can provide a bad look to your business in today’s digital age, so put in the work!
How to Claim Your Business
First, you need to find your listings! Some of the major listings are Google Business, Facebook Business, Yelp, Yahoo Local, and Bing Places. There are other tools that allow you to see what listings already exist if you have the name of your business and phone number – which you should, you own it! One of our favorites is Yext. Each of these listings will have a claim option and after that, you can input information, photos and even posts.
Next is the verification process which will require an automated phone call, an email, or in some cases both. The automated phone call is very easy to complete. Simply log in to your account after claiming the listing, request a phone call (which happens within seconds), then simply input the pin number given to you by the robotic voice on the other line into your account. You will then see a prompt on your computer screen letting you know the verification has been completed. There are some situations that will require a mailed postcard with the pin number. The process is similar but you cannot complete the process until you receive your pin number via the postcard.
The postcard is the most secure option as it will send a verification code to your business address and then you can verify online once received. You may run into a situation where an attempt to claim your business has shown that someone else has already done so. Don’t panic; there are dispute processes in place for each service that allows you to present your information and transfer the listing over from another party.
Re-verification may be needed in the future if things change for your business (change in location, phone number, or ownership change). Staying on top of your listing by checking all the incoming emails from it and posting regularly will stop these things from falling through the cracks. A spreadsheet is the best way to keep tabs on all your logins between listings (Microsoft Excel or Google sheets are the best options).
Protecting our business is priority number one if you’re going to be successful, and having full control of your online presences is the best way to go about it. Posting new content and updating features on your website keeps you in good standings with the top search engines and claiming your online listings helps support those efforts. Managing the online efforts of your business is another job in itself and your time is valuable as a business owner.
Promotion LA specializes in content, content marketing, and improving your online presence making us advocates for small businesses. It takes a solid framework and strategy to make the above things happen and you need someone on your side who can manage all of this for you. Promotion LA is capable of handling all of this on your behalf so you don’t have to. Helping you claim your business online is just one of the many things our agency is able to do for you. Contact us today for more information or follow us on Facebook and Instagram for some visual motivation!