It’s really important for any small to medium business to be listed in reputable business directories. The more places you are listed online with your correct details, the more backlinks you have to your website, and the more chances you have of people finding your business and booking with you. Quality, optimized business listings with consistent information also please Google and show that your business is genuine, allowing it to be listed higher in the search results.
Online business directory listings offer searchers the chance to quickly find the type of business they are looking for in their local area, along with their contact details and a range of other helpful information, often including reviews and star ratings. These directories provide a great service for searchers, who can quickly find companies to suit their needs.
However, these directories are also good for businesses, as we’ve described above.
The problem is that you can update your business directories and optimize them with your correct and up-to-date information, but then it’s still possible for the information you supplied to be changed, and not by you.
Obviously, this can be frustrating, and at worst, it can be very damaging for a business. Customers need to be able to see accurate information and they may go to the competition if they can’t find it – and certainly, they will, if it’s incorrect. The wrong information can cause a lack of trust, which you definitely don’t want. The other consequence is that incorrect information, particularly with your Name, Address, and Phone number (your NAP), could reduce Google’s trust in your business and ultimately affect your search engine rankings.
So, why does it happen? How do you control your own information, and what can you do to ensure you always provide the correct information consistently across so many business directory listings?
What you need is to ensure consistent and regular directory listings management. Yes, it’s another thing to add to the list of marketing tasks, but it’s extremely important that you control your own information.
In this article, we’re going to talk about why your listings can change and give you our top tips on how to make sure you’re the one in charge of your own listings.
Why does my listing information change?
The main directory listings now are Bing, Google Business Profile, Apple Maps, and Facebook. Most business directories will take the information that you input and keep it that way. They won’t allow anyone else to update what you’ve provided or change it themselves. But the big four are prone to allowing changes from outside. It all comes down to where they get their information from.
With the big four, users such as customers, can go to your listings and suggest changes. They may perhaps find that your opening hours have changed but you haven’t updated them on your listings. They can click to suggest an edit and update your hours for you.
This is great if the edits are accurate and with good intentions, but not so much if what is updated is wrong and/or harmful.
One other place directories look at is your own website. Be as tight and consistent with your information, keywords, and topics as you can, because you don’t want to inadvertently make them think you provide a service you don’t or that you’ve changed what you do altogether.
You may have given permission to third-party apps to update your listings, so for example, if you have an auto-updater set to keep your phone number consistent, but then you forget to tell that third-party app that you have a new phone number, the app could continue to try to update your phone number back to the old one. Turn off any third-party app update permissions, unless they really need them. This could save you a lot of headaches.
Finally, double-check who has access to your listings from your own business. Directories will continue to allow changes from other people in your business, if they’re listed as a manager for your listing. Go through and check who has management permission for your listings and make sure you only have the people who should be listed.
What you can do to control and prevent changing information
Now you know how directories pick up and change your information, you’ve gone a little way toward solving the problem above. But there is more you can do:
1) Claim your business profiles on the top directory listings
If you haven’t already claimed your profiles on the main directory listings, you must do that as soon as possible. Once you do, you’ll have more control over what information goes on your profiles and who can change it.
Should anyone try to change anything once you have claimed your profiles, you should get an email or a notification to tell you what is happening. You can then go into your profiles and do something about it.
2) Set up / add to the listings only the information you want people to see
Fill in all of your business profiles with quality, keyworded content that will attract your ideal customers. Ensure that you’ve provided everything potential customers could possibly want to know, including your contact details (NAP), opening hours, services and/or products, quality images, frequently asked questions, and more.
Ensure you optimize each profile for SEO and local SEO to gain visibility.
Once you’ve updated your profiles to say what you want them to say, you are in a much better position to be sure that what information you’ve given is accurate.
3) Approve/Disapprove any suggestions made to your directory listings by other people
You can’t entirely stop people from suggesting edits to your directory listings, and really, you shouldn’t want to. User-generated content can be really helpful to other potential customers and show that your existing customers appreciate you. And you might find that outside viewers pick up something you’ve missed, simply because you’re too close to your own content.
However, it’s important to vet any suggested edits quickly and ensure that you disapprove anything that’s inaccurate or worse, as well as approve any good suggestions that will enhance your profile. You don’t want inaccurate information on your profile for any length of time, so deal with it quickly.
4) Check in monthly to make sure your information hasn’t been changed without your consent
Schedule a time on your calendar each month or use marketing software that will automatically manage your listings for you.
It’s important to look at your listings at least once a month to ensure continued accuracy and consistency.
5) Use marketing tools to automatically maintain your listings’ accuracy
Software, such as Surefire Local’s business intelligence marketing software can ensure that your directory listings are updated quickly and accurately. With just a few clicks, you can update your listings in over 80 business directories, including your Google Business Profile.
That’s a great time saver as you can do all of that from our dashboard without having to log in and out of individual websites, but it also provides real peace of mind that your data is safe and accurate.
If you ever do have an update you aren’t happy with, it’s the work of minutes to go into our software and change it to what it should be on a long list of business directories.
6) Consistently update your listings with new content, like reviews and photos
A big part of directory listings management is to keep your listings updated with fresh content. It’s important to do this to show visitors that you have a thriving, busy business, where visitors are welcome.
Your listings are a snapshot of what it’s like to visit your company and sign on as a customer with you. Keeping everything updated provides an excellent impression of your business for both new and existing customers, which will hopefully be reflected in your reviews.
Use your listings to the fullest, including frequently adding new, quality images to show off your premises, your work, and your staff. Add case studies, post about your latest projects, provide any current offers, and more.
You want your listing visitors to feel welcome and a part of something. You want high engagement and a listing where people respond to you and you respond to them.
Not only do consistent updates keep more accuracy and ensure you don’t get any unwanted updates from elsewhere, but you’ll be creating a place with a community feel that visitors will enjoy and potential customers will be impressed by.
What is Surefire Local?
Surefire Local provides top-quality business intelligence marketing software which does far more than just directory listings management.
While you can certainly update all of your directory listings with a few clicks, you can also manage all the important aspects of your business marketing in one place.
You can plan, jot down ideas, write, and manage your content, create and send email campaigns, manage your paid ads, manage and reply to your reviews, and far more, all from one easy-to-use dashboard.
Optimize your lead generation, reduce your cost-per-lead, and generate more revenue for your business using Surefire Local’s all-in-one marketing platform.
Why not book a demo today with our professional team and see how we can help manage and market your small to medium business?