Google is the giant of the directories and searches, but there are others. Some are business specific, some are search engine specific. Most of our clients know about Google Places and Google Local, because we make a point of educating you about those resources, and how we can help manage them. Do you know if your information is correct on Yahoo Business Listings? What about on Bing? One of many yellow pages or white pages directory sites? Have you looked yourself up on Yelp! To see if your business accurately informs customers of the most basic things, like your address or phone number?
For each of these places I just mentioned, there are about 50 other places that people use as well. You could spend all day, all week, just investigating what is out there. Sometimes fixing incorrect or misleading information can be a chore and headache of massive proportions, in and of itself.
Persistence is the key to correcting your listings. Start with the big sites that get the most traffic, then work your way through the medium and smaller, or specialty, sites. If you are a restaurant, you may want to focus more energy on restaurant review and hospitality sites. If you are a hotel, tourism sites might be a good category of sites to focus on. When you find incorrect information, pour over the site to find out how to fix it. Don’t brush it off when it gets frustrating. This is your reputation at stake, and in the business world, reputation can be a deciding factor in if a potential customer chooses you, or your competitor. Some sites, finding that information on how to contact them can be difficult. Be persistent. E-mail customer service, or any other e-mail address that you can find.
Think beyond the regular online listing resources. Does your community have a business association? Are you a member? Some organizations will list any business, if you ask, even if you are not a member. Is there a trade show for your industry coming to town? Being listed in their online directory can put your business in front of hundreds, even thousands, of potential customers, provided that you know your market. It might not be the right choice for a local landscaper, but for a local restaurant, those attendees from Indiana may want to have dinner together after the speeches, and having your name in front of them can be opportunistic for you.
The more places that customers see your name, the more familiar they will be with your name. You have to invest, either in time or money – preferably strategic use of both, in getting your name out there in front of people. Familiarity can drive business your way. You want to be sure that wherever potential customers see your company’s image, name or listing, the information about you is correct. It’s your image and reputation.