Everyday I hear from clients, “does it really matter if I have control over my listings?” and the answer is YES! This is especially true of Google. The truth is that if you are not in control of your local listings then you need to be asking who is. I have seen numerous clients who have had their local listings claimed by large corporations that they work with or are dealers for, but the truth is, you should have ownership of that listing. Who are the major listing players? Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yelp, and I will cover how to claim each below.
Google is the most important listing you can claim. If you do nothing else, make sure this one is taken care of. You will want to start by heading over and creating a google account via Google My Business. Click the “Get your page” button. Make sure that you choose the appropriate information on this next step:
Storefront: This is for brick and mortar businesses. You should have a business where customers come to you at a physical address, and you are going to setup one listing per address.
Service Area: This is for Businesses that travel to its customers and service a designated area. Make sure you accurately mark your service area as to not upset potential customers.
Brand: This is for brand, non-business, related pages. If you are a band, sports team, community group, etc, this is the page type for you.
After selecting your business type, follow the rest of the instructions based on the type of business. Make sure to provide as detailed information as possible to help Google index your business for those looking for you. To finish claiming your business Google will need to either call your business or mail you a postcard. This is just to verify your address. If you run into any issue throughout the process Google has support staff that are there to help. Just send an email through one of their support tabs and a representative will either email or call you. Google Support is amazingly helpful!
Yahoo is still in the top four of the local listing sites. Firefox recently even changed its default search engine to Yahoo, so this is one more reason to make sure your Yahoo listing is claimed. There are multiple options with Yahoo, and only one of them is free. Head on over to the Yahoo Listings Page to see what your options are and which one works best for your business. If nothing else, scroll down to start with Yahoo Basic. This will allow you to claim your listing and make sure your business information is up to date. When you pick your plan, click the sign up button and Yahoo will walk you through the rest. Make sure that you fill in as much detail as possible so that Yahoo can properly index you in the search engine.
Bing is utilized by Windows Mobile, Internet Explorer, and Windows Computers (out of the box). Bing is the easiest to claim with the most claiming options. Use the Bing Places Dashboard to create a login and get started. You can find your business by address or phone number, and most of the time you are able to verify your listing by multiple methods as well. Make sure you fill out all the information in the listing as this will help to keep them from being suspended by Bing’s automated system.
Yelp is a review site that is also used as a listings site because Siri uses Yelp for its search functionality. Getting started with Yelp is easy, and the great part of Yelp is it is so much more than just a listing. Once you get setup, you can create coupons, deals, and advertisements that do cost money, but the ROI is 100% trackable. The Yelp Claiming Page is where you need to go to get started. Click the “Claim my Business” button to get started. You will search for your business in the Yelp database, and then click the “claim” button next to it. This will take you to a screen where it will provide you a 4 digit code and it will send an automated call to your business. Just answer the call and enter the 4 digits and your business will be claimed. Then you can optimize your listing. Once again, you will want to make sure that all your business information is fully filled out so that Yelp can index your business properly. You will notice that your competitors ads will appear on your Yelp page, you have the ability to purchase ads that will appear on theirs as well.
Listings are alive and well online, and it is crucial that your business is claimed, verified and that you, the owner are in control over your listing.