When looking for an area restaurant or a local plumber in Washington, D.C., the first step taken is to go to Google and type in something generic like “best area restaurants” or “plumbers near me.” Businesses that are “in the know” digitally will appear as follows in a local search:
These restaurant owners have all taken the steps to claim their business on the number one search engine in the world—Google. By doing so, they not only legitimize their business through this local marketing, they’re taking advantage of a wide range of benefits available for FREE.
Builds Consumer Trust
When businesses are claimed on Google, a well-crafted description of products and services, the hours, pictures, associated social media profiles and a link to the website are all featured. Plus, from an SEO perspective, an inbound link was gained direct to the company’s website from a reputable platform.
In addition to Google, businesses can be claimed on other major platforms including Bing, Yahoo, Manta, YP.com, Yelp, MapQuest, Angie’s List and TripAdvisor.
Improve Search Rankings
The top returned, non-paid search results often include the businesses that are claimed on multiple platforms. Each of these search engine platforms give claimed businesses more prominent placing on its maps and search pages. And because consumers often search for businesses while on the road, a claimed business will be visible through smartphone apps that are increasingly driving customer spending.
Keep Customers Happy
A frustrated customer is not going to spend money and nothing is more irritating than to arrive at a store only to find it’s closed, despite what it says on the company’s Google listing. When claiming a business profile on listing sites, confirm the contact information and hours are correct.
Interact with the Audience
These days, many consumers turn to online reviews to make purchasing decisions. While businesses can’t control who leaves a review and what is said, they can control how they respond. If there’s a negative review about a business that hasn’t been claimed, there’s no way of interacting with that customer. Once claimed, business owners are alerted through an email that someone has added a review and they can respond. A genuine response to both the positive and negative will show a potential customer the business cares and thus, they may be willing to give the business a try.
All the major online platforms offer free online listings. Sometimes businesses list themselves but many times, a customer may have added it manually or the platform pulled in the information. Either way, once a business is listed, it’s important to claim it. It can be a bit of a process to get through all the search engines and directory services (there are more than 70,) so start with the big ones. If time is an issue, GRIT’s digital team can help list the company and get it on its way to better search rankings in no time at all.
Next week, we’ll talk about some of the best strategies when it comes to claiming businesses and how taking the right steps can make all the difference in SEO rankings.