Online listings are an important part of local search visibility—yet surprisingly enough, new stats show that 49 percent of small businesses have never updated their online listings—and 1 in 2 businesses have seen online listings that aren’t accurate.
The culprit? It’s not necessarily a lack of awareness—instead, not enough time and resources are typically to blame. Seven in 10 businesses say they don’t have enough time to manage listings on the wide array of sites most often used by consumers.
And this is where I pull out my soapbox. You’re ready, aren’t you? I know better than most people that small business owners are stretched to the max. They’re trying to do a lot with a reasonable budget and prioritization isn’t simply an optimal behavior—it’s a mandatory part of each and every day.
That being said, digital tools like online listings are important. And, in fact, they’re one of the easiest and most effective ways to help build your company’s online visibility. You don’t necessarily need to go out and secure your business listing on every single available site. Instead, pick a handful of the top listing sites like Google+, Yelp, Foursquare and CitySearch and start there. Make sure your business details are correct and up-to-date on these heavily trafficked sites. Theoretically, your business information isn’t going to change on a weekly or even monthly basis. So once you get these listings updated, you can turn your attention to other sites and work your way through them by just setting aside a few minutes a week.
Another tip? Let the Internet do the work for you! Create Google Alerts to monitor your business name. That way, you can keep an eye on how your business appears in search results—and if you notice a source with incorrect information, you can go directly to that particular site and make whatever corrections are needed.
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Your time is valuable—and I’d never argue with that sentiment. On the flip side, however, aren’t your customers (and sales) equally important? If people can’t easily find correct information about you, you can bet they’ll go somewhere else—and those sorts of missed opportunities can quickly add up in terms of lost revenue.
Do yourself a favor—take a few minutes to check just a few of your online listings. Next week, do it again with a new set of sites. This sort of resource investment will pay off, I promise. Do it!!!!!