Every day, consumers use the Internet to get advice before making purchases. They’re getting a lot of info through reviews found on local business directories like Google My Business and Yelp. If your business isn’t listed completely and accurately on as many sites as possible, you’re missing out on a big opportunity.
Get found online
Local businesses listed in Google My Business are prominently displayed across Google platforms (like Search, Maps and Google+).
These reviews matter to both consumers and businesses. Consumers value reviews – a study done by BrightLocal.com in 2014 shows that 88 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as word-of-mouth recommendations. That’s a lot! It’s critical that your business is listed online so consumers can read reviews and share their experiences with your company.
Claim your business’ listings
The fact is, many free online business directories might be displaying your business reviews without you even knowing it — and often, the information is inaccurate. Your customers might already be writing reviews about your business on local review websites, which means potential customers are reading them. You need to find, claim, and verify your business information on these directories.
Another great benefit from business listings is that you can increase your rankings on search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing. For example, Google favors small businesses that have detailed profiles on Google My Business.
Search engines typically pull information from business listing sites — Yelp, TripAdvisor and others — and display them under your website address for local search results.
Getting your business listed
So now you know what these websites are and why they’re important. What’s next? Let’s find out which sites are most important for you, and start managing them.
Search for your business online and see what comes up. Determine what sites search engines use to pull reviews.
Visit those business listing sites. Create an account and either claim yourself as the business owner, or create a complete and accurate listing for your business. By claiming the business, you can leave comments on customer reviews. This is especially important for managing negative reviews.
Start asking your customers to leave a review of your business. When a customer gives you good feedback, ask them to share their experience on a local review website. The more reviews you have, the stronger your reputation is. That can equal more business.
Don’t be afraid of a bad review. If you come across a bad review, leave a comment and invite the customer to contact you so you can have a chance to win back their business. This shows the customer you have integrity and care about their opinion.
Monitor your listings. The last thing you want to is update your business hours but not have your online presence reflect the change. Use a product like Get Found so you can easily manage all of your listings from one place.
Your customers and potential customers are already using local reviews to find businesses. Don’t waste any more time — jump in and use those reviews! You will get honest feedback from your customers while building your brand at the same time.
Also published on Medium.