Business listing opportunities are everywhere online. In the past a local business need only call the local telephone company and place their business listing in the local phone book. Not anymore. Today there are hundreds of places online to list you’re business. The big three search engines: Google, Yahoo and Bing all own and maintain their own databases and encourage people to open an account and post their business listing for free. They also populate local business listings search results pages with information from trusted outside data sources that offer business listing opportunities as well.
Where Should I List My Business
With so many opportunities to list your business, where is the best place to list your business online? The answer is; everywhere you can. What the search engines don’t explain very well is that there is more to local businesses ranking on search results pages then simply listing your business on their site. Since each of the major search engines wants to provide the most accurate and relevant information possible on search results pages, they don’t rely solely on their own databases for search results, they compare the data they have in their own databases to third party sources at least once every couple of months. If the comparative data doesn’t match properly or doesn’t exist at all, the search engine thinks the data they have or that the third party has might be wrong or less important and therefore less relevant. As a result your ranking on results pages can be dramatically affected by what these search engines find, or don’t find about you on other sites.
Claim Your Listing
To ensure the big three search engines recognize your business listing is up to date and relevant it is important to do three things. The first is to create a listing if one doesn’t already exist. Since business names, addresses and phone numbers are often public information they are found in a variety of databases used by search engines to display information on search results pages, your business listing may already exist online. As a result the next step in ensuring you take advantage of all the business listing opportunities available is to ensure that you “claim” your business listing. When you “claim” your listing you are taking ownership of that listing. “Claimed” listings are considered “verified” by the big three search engines. Verified listings are more relevant than unverified listings. In addition, unless your claim you’re listing on Google, Yahoo and Bing you will be unable to edit it. You may claim your listing either by personally creating and account and entering the information or claiming it is yours if they already have your listing within their database.
Business Listing “Citations”
The third thing that is very important for you to do to ensure search engines see that your listing is relevant and up to date is to ensure that your listing is found by search engines on other sites. This is called a citation. Citations are very important and a key component of the ranking algorithms used by the big three search engines. Assuming all other factors are equal, businesses with the greater number of citations will probably rank higher than businesses with fewer citations. Citations are “mentions” or “web references” of your business listing on other established portals or local search platforms like Superpages.com and Citysearch.com. These citations help search engines increase the degree of certainty that your listing is relevant and up to date. As a result you will receive the highest possible ranking on search results pages.
As a result, if you are not actively taking advantage of all the business listing opportunities and managing your online business listing you are very likely not going to be indexed by search engines returning local search results to local consumers.
The Big Three Search Engines
Fortunately there are services available (www.clickfirst.com) to help you “claim”, manage and distribute your business listing to hundreds of secondary search engines and local search platforms.
To independently list your business on the big three search engines:
Google Places – http://www.google.com/places
Yahoo – http://listings.local.yahoo.com/
Bing – http://www.bing.com/businessportal
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