Business Listings Management (BLM)
Hi there! I’m Jason Crabtree, Director of Search Engine Optimization for Agent Branding System. In this video, we’re going to discuss business listings management. The goal is to give you a better understanding of resources and techniques to maximize your business listings. Why is it critical to submit your business information to online directories? Well, the purpose is twofold. The first, and most obvious, is consumers shopping for local goods and services tend to use online directories. This means that by having a presence there you are likely to get increased traffic and phone calls to your business. The second reason is because search engines crawl and index the pages of these online directories, and as they find these credible listings that are published by online directory sites they tend to favor and trust your brand more. They’ll follow the link over to your website. They’ll verify that you are legitimately a local business. Let me clarify what business listings management is. It’s simply the publication of your pertinent business information in online directories. You submit information about your business and the directories publish that for consumers to use. In this video, we’ll discuss three ways to maximize your efforts when it comes to business listings management. We’ll talk about where to publish your information, how to publish your information, and the velocity in which you want to publish your business information. Business listings expand your company’s visibility by publishing you in hundreds of different online directories. Most sort by category and geography and some also allow ratings and reviews. Many of these online directories will showcase other pertinent business information, such as your years in business, your hours of operation, and even your payment methods. Where should you publish your business information? There are literally hundreds of directories that you can use to increase your visibility and gain traffic to your site. Some of the most common are Yelp, Google My Business (formerly Google Maps), Yahoo Local, Bing Local, YP Superpages, and City Grid. All of these sources are popular. Then, there are other directories that are less known but still valuable directories like Hotfrog, Foursquare, Easy Local, and Info USA. These are all great places to showcase your business information. You should list in these directories and others to expand your visibility. Just make sure that the information you place in them is consistent across all platforms. Which brings me to my next tip – consistency. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal and it doesn’t seem that hard to do to maintain consistency across directories; but, far too often we see businesses with slight variations of their business information not getting full credit from the search engines because they appear as different entities. Here’s an example: Sometimes a business will use the number sign and a suite number and sometimes they’ll use the word suite. This, although it seems very minute, can label your business as two different companies. The second most common is using LTD or LLC or Incorporated at the end of your business name in one directory or another, and not using it in others. Search engines are crawling these directories all the time looking for new, relevant updated trust factors. If they see inconsistencies in business information, they tend to not trust that business. We’ve found that it’s best to create a master spreadsheet with all of your pertinent business information, then simply copy and paste that information every time you submit to a new directory. This keeps you consistent. This keeps everything on a level playing field. It’s also critical to select the proper categories when you’re signing up for directories. Directories tend to categorize businesses based on the services and goods that they offer, so make sure that you’re consistent in selecting your category. It’s very important that you don’t skip any steps. If there’s an opportunity for you to submit more information about your business when you’re submitting a business listing make sure you do it. The little bit of time that you spend now is going to prove to be very valuable when you’re ranking ahead of your competition. Then tying it all together make sure that the business information that you list in the directories is consistent with what’s on your website. Some business directories don’t allow the word “suite.” They prefer the number sign, or the hashtag, when putting a suite number there. So, if you’re putting it in the directories that way and it isn’t on your website that way, I suggest that you go into the website and change that one little thing to make sure that you’re consistent. My third and final tip about business listings management is the velocity in which you submit your listings. Although it may be easier to just submit all of your directory listings at once, all in the same day or the same month, it’s been proven that showing steady growth over time and expansion of your business tends to gather more favor from the search engines than doing it all at once. Search engines want to see businesses that are expanding and growing and becoming more and more part of the online community. And there you have it – three critical steps to managing your online business listings. If you found this information useful and informative, please share it with your friends and follow us on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. I’m Jason Crabtree, thank you for your time.