If you are actively working on SEO/SEM initiatives to promote your business and improve your online marketing strategy, you are already aware there are many directories and sites that are constantly popping up with multiple lists of businesses. The great majority of them end up not becoming a successful business directory, however they still may gather your company information and publish it without your permission. On many occasions they may list wrong contact information and negative reviews about your business and there is not much you can do about it.
Some of them may allow you to update the information if you pay, but others are not even reachable. If you have been in business for a while you also know there are many unethical people and businesses that cause more harm than good. Sometimes unfair or unfortunate events occur which affect your company in a negative way, but it’s just part of the “business life”.
What seems to be not very rational is to see some successful or bigger companies who seem to be misleading or inconsiderate with users and small businesses. After talking to hundreds of businesses we find that companies such as Yelp, Yahoo, Yext and other very prominent search engine and online directories are on the business of “wasting your time”! Many local companies and small businesses think these companies will help your business by adding your information on local directories and business listings, but when you are done you are not better off.
They make you go through a tedious process (for most people and business owners) and, after wasting your time and energy, more often than not they will not update changes to your business listings, nor let you verify your business listing… unless you pay them... of course!
Many people are hesitant to invest on listing directory services such as Yext because of the enormous price tag they entail. Still, some might be tempted to pay the price when they find that claiming their listing for free will not yield the expected changes. If you are one of those, keep in mind that once you enter a contract with Yext, you can’t back down as easily as many would like. If you ever leave their service, they will revert your listings back to what they were before the contract started. This means that if you want to keep the listings that Yext has created and updated for you, you need to keep on paying them indefinitely.
This photo shows a sample of a message you get after completing the free verification process on Yext. They tell you the process takes 2 weeks, but don’t hold your breath unless you can hold it indefinitely.
This is especially a big concern for small businesses with limited resources and limited marketing budget to promote and optimize their online exposure.
All reasonable people understand businesses have to make money, and we don’t disagree with search engine and directories charging money. Most people will not have a problem with that. The problem lies with the companies that promise something and do not deliver the goods. For most business owners, the worst part is the aggravation and the waste time.
On the other hand, you can find other search engines and directories that will not list or update your business information unless you pay them. But they don’t beat around the bush, they just tell you like it is and if you don’t like it you can move on. It is a refreshing approach to see when businesses are ethical and considerate of other businesses.
What are the best search engines and directories to advertise my business?
The top search engine is Google, followed by Yahoo, Bing and others. Depending on your business and type of industry, you will find several important local business directories where your business should be listed. For example, if you are on the health care industry you may not care about Cars.com, TripAdvisor, Dining.com or other no so relevant directories. However, it would be important to be listed on Helathgrades.com, Vitals.com, Webmd.com and other related medical directories. If you are an attorney you probably want to consider Avvo, but not so much if you are an electrician.
If you would like to get details about the best directories where you can promote your business, contact the SEO/SEM professionals at Xperience Marketing Solutions, and they will send you detailed information and suggestions to help improve your online marketing communication and search engine optimization.
How important is to claim and optimize my local business listings?
Whether you live in Port Saint Lucie, Martin County, Miami, Tampa, Florida, California, USA or other country around the world, if you are in business and have a website, you should be paying attention to local business directories and applicable search engines where your business may be listed by other people or where you can add information about your company so people can find you.
To learn more about online marketing and the importance of claiming and optimizing local business listings, follow our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram feeds, and we will let you know when other valuable articles are posted.