If you’re running a local business you need to take every opportunity to both manage your business’ reputation while reaching out to your local clientele, especially when that opportunity comes at no cost. Some of the best of these no-cost resources for local businesses are the local listings such as Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Yelp.
There are three primary reasons for claiming your local listings through these providers:
1) Claiming your local listings provides an easy to use platform to publish your contact information, hours of operation, directions, etc. You can also engage in reputation management practices such as responding to negative reviews and building optimized profiles. Photos, video, coupons, and special offers can also be added to these sites.
2) Neglecting to claim your listings can reduce your local visibility, pose risks to your company’s reputation, and assist your competition. While some local resources will publish a skeleton description of your business, others may not post anything at all. For example, if someone is trying to find your business but you’re not listed, the chances are that they will move on to a business that is listed. An unclaimed local listing can also look sloppy with fuzzy pictures and random information – not what you’re looking for in terms of making a good first impression.
3) Local pages give you another opportunity to occupy rankings on the front pages of the search engines, a critical element of proactive reputation management.
The search engines have made huge advances in terms of helping local businesses to get found by their local customers. Gaining that visibility while managing your reputation at no cost is the kind of deal you just don’t see every day.