Whenever I visit a new city or country, one of the things that I most look forward to is tasting the local cuisine. Every place has its unique flavors and secret recipes for me to discover.
Today, with online business listings and mobile apps, finding local cafes and restaurants is easy — no matter where in the world you are.
Or so I thought. Until I had a bad experience.
On a recent vacation, I planned to dine at a restaurant that everyone said was a “must-visit.” I did my research online. I checked the hours, verified the location and mapped my route, and browsed the menu and prices so that I could make the most of my experience.
Imagine my frustration when I arrived at the restaurant to find that it was closed. I had driven almost an hour to get there. Not only was I far away from my hotel, but also hungry, disappointed, and certain I wouldn’t return.
That’s the problem when businesses don’t take ownership of their listings. The information can be inaccurate, leading to a loss in reputation and business.
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If you’re a small business, make taking ownership of your business listings a priority. You never know how many potential customers you will lose due to inaccurate information showing up when they search for you.
Run a search for your business today
“How do I know where my business is listed?”
“How do I know if the information is accurate?”
“How do I search for my business listings?”
The good news is, you’re not the only one asking these questions. The better news is the answer is very simple — just Google yourself!
When you are ready to take ownership of your business listings, start by searching for your own business. Go to Google, type your business name and hit “search.”
What kind of results do you see? You are having the same experience potential customers have when they look for your business online, so take a closer look at what comes up.
If you have a website, it should show up as a search result. Similarly, if you have social media pages for your business, like a Facebook page or a Twitter handle, they will show up too.
You may also see a Google listing on the right side of your search page. This will have complete information about your organization — your location, timings, services, reviews, and other details that can help people decide if they want to do business with you.
You may also notice your business listed on Yelp or other industry-specific sites or review sites that customers use.
For example, here’s what came up when I Googled a restaurant my friend recommended in San Francisco:
It is important that the information in all of the different listings is accurate as you can’t be sure which link a visitor may click.
Also, you really only need to be concerned with what shows up on the first page of the search results. You don’t need to browse through every page.
Start correcting and updating the information
Take a close look at the search results for your business. Click through to each listing and check out the information that is displayed. Is it accurate?
Did you create the listing a long time ago? Check that all the information is correct and up-to-date.
Did someone else create the listing? If so, you should go ahead and claim it.
Yes, it’s possible for customers or the owners of the listings site to enter details about your business. In order to take ownership, you need to “claim” it, or else they have complete control of the information that shows up under your business. Once you claim it, you can manage it.
What exactly do I need to check??
Check that the essential information that helps potential customers find you is correct:
- Contact information – business name, contact name, phone number, email address
- Location – address and map links
- Hours of operation
- Social media links
- Industry related information, e.g. menus, services, prices, etc.
If you are satisfied that all the basic information is accurate, you can go ahead and add more details.
If my website is up to date, do I really have to worry about online listings.?
In a word — yes.
Customers today search for new businesses online — they don’t necessarily know your website by name. And, even if your business does appear in the search results, they may not click on it first. Many people rely on review sites like Yelp, CNET, and TripAdvisor to research options before they visit a particular site.
Say, for example, you run a bakery cafe in St. Louis, called “Bon Appetit.” People won’t necessarily search for your cafe by name. They might look for “cafe near me,” “coffee places,” or “food places near me.” Your website may show up in the results, but review sites like Tripadvisor and Yelp definitely will. You want to make sure you are represented accurately across all the listings.
When you consistently show the right information across all your listings, you ensure that potential customers can see you, reach you, and do business with you.
Claim and update your business listings
Today, customers turn to the internet to find new businesses, check for reviews, ask for recommendations and share their experiences.
Accurate information across business listings takes you one step closer to turning potential customers into paying ones. It becomes easier for people to research your business, find you, and engage. Additionally, it allows you to control your business’s online reputation and ensures you don’t lose customers unnecessarily.
Ready to own your business listings? Start with an online search for your business. It’s that easy.