Remember hearing stories of a business that was left out of the phone book? Or, it was published with the wrong phone number? Basically, invisible for a whole year.
They often went out of business or had to pay big money to get the phone number that appeared in the book.
Getting a ‘nice-looking’ website online is seen by many businesses as todays equivalent of being ‘in the phone book.’ You’re out there to be found by the people that are either looking for you or that need what you have or do. Right?
If the person looking for you knows the domain of your website, then, yes it can be the equivalent. If not, and you’ve had the site online for any amount of time, it may be starting to feel more like you’ve been left out.
Maybe you’ve already spent some money with one of those people that keeps calling about that unclaimed listing on the first page of Google. My sympathies if that’s the case. Read on, here’s three things, in plain English with no acronyms, that will make sure you’re ‘in the phone book’ and then some.
Ever go looking for someone and find conflicting addresses or phone numbers?
Kind of throws you off, right? Well the search engines, starting with Google, hate it. They scour the internet looking for you in ‘all the usual places’ (directories) as well as other mentions of your company (citations.)
I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are tons of places on the Internet trying to serve as some kind of directory. Yelp, YP, etc., etc., etc. Some are narrowly focused, like home improvement or lawyer directories, while others are more like the old phone book.
A citation is when your business is mentioned and linked from another website (sometimes a directory, sometimes not.) For example, if your business is listed on the local Chamber of Commerce website and they publish your name, address, website, etc. this would be a strong citation. Strong because of the credibility of the Chamber’s site. It’s credible because it’s less likely to cite a scammer that’s just trying to rank in the search engines. There are a lot of those.
Google considers the information you provide in your Google My Business (GMB, more on this in a bit) listing to be your accurate name, address and phone number. Everything else it finds on the internet that it thinks is referring to you is compared to that.
It then scores you based on the number of directories and citations you have, coupled with the consistency of the information and the credibility of the sites they find you on.
We recently met with a local business that’s been around for over 15 years. Over that time, he’s moved twice and made subtle changes to the business name to reflect that. By now, he should be in well over 50 directories or citations. Probably 100 if he’s trying at all.
He’s only listed in 24 and only 7 of them are correct. Google is totally confused about the name and location of this business. He only shows up when people manage to search by his exact, current name. Complicating things, many of these directory sites refresh their data using the data they find on other sites. This can cause incorrect information to take on a life of its own and keep coming back even after you fix it.
If you’d like to run a scan of your directory and citation listings, click here. It’s free and it’s a really good thing to know. The first step in ‘showing up’ online is to send strong, consistent messages to the search engines, and searchers, that you’re a real business.
We have a system for fixing incorrect listings and getting you added to appropriate sites.