In the days before the Internet, a business might have listed their business within their local Phone Directory. They may have even added a full page or half page advertisement to add a little zest to their listing.
You may recognize the YellowPages, Dexknows, SuperPages, etc. If you’re under the age of thirty, chances are you’ve seen these books at your Grandparents house, perhaps you may remember you parents using these Directories to find a local handyman, plumber, electrician while growing up.
These phone directories were the only way to put your business in every home within your market. Then came the Internet and the World Wide Web.
You probably didn’t know this but YellowPages.com is older than Google.
During the DotCom boom, these Phone Directory Companies: YellowPages, DEX, SuperPages took their massive web of physical phone directories and listed their Clients on the World Wide Web.
These were the first Online Search Directories for local businesses. The famous Walking Fingers turned into Typing Fingers. Before Google, you would search these directories for local businesses and services. This was the early days of Internet Marketing.
Then after Google re-imagined Online Search, these Online Phone Directories were the only credible source for Local Business Listings. Google would rank these Online Phone Directories above local business websites because of their credibility.
Even today, if you were to search for Architects, Plumbers, or Lawyers near you on Google, Yahoo, or Bing, chances are you’ll find Yelp.com or YellowPages.com organically ranked higher than local business websites. Why? Because the major Search Engines lean on these sites to offer their users (the person using the Search Engine) the best options within that area.
There are more Online Directories nowadays than YellowPages.com, SuperPages.com, and DexKnows.com; for any given industry there are more than 70+ Online Directories that a local business may be listed on.
Maintaining accurate and up-to-date information on these websites is what you call Online Listings Management. There is much more to Search Engine Optimization than Online Listings Management, but it is a good place to start.
Today, there are three pillars on which Google will rank a business by within the Google Map Pack. Have you ever searched Google, Yahoo, or Bing for Italian Restaurants near me? Did you notice that small map that appears above the Organic Websites and Links? This map pack or ‘Google 3 Pack’ will usually list A, B, and C or the Top 3 local Businesses that fit the description of your search.
Having your business listed at the top of a Search Engines local area listings is imperative in this day and age if you wish to be found by new customers or clients.
Within the Google Map Pack, Google will rank a business based on: A) How Accurate is their Business NAP (Name, Address, & Phone Number) across their network of Online Directories, B) Are they trusted, do they have reviews, and C) Are they constantly producing content on the internet that is relevant to their industry.
We can talk in much more detail regarding B & C, but for now let’s stick with Online Listings Management.
Maintaining accurate business information across the multitude of Internet Directories that list your business is the first & easiest way to ensure Search Engines trust your business enough to include your listing within their Local Area Search Results.
How do you Manage your Online Listings? There are two ways: the easy way & the hard way.
The hard way would be logging into each of the Online Directories that currently list your business and maintaining your listings yourself.
The easy way would be to subscribe to a Listings Management Service such as Yext or one of their Partner Softwares to manage your listings for you.
If I were a business owner, I would choose the latter, that way I could continue focusing on building my brand or business.
And as Always, thank you for reading.