Online Listings - For Real or Phony?

Recently, a client contacted our firm about an online business listing for his company. The listing had an incorrect phone number, but the listed URL linked to his website. After a bit of investigation, it was determined that the listing had been auto-generated.

This is a concerning thought for our industry. Most businesses that we work with have no idea where their business is listed online or how the process works. With a million listing directories available on the web, it’s no wonder there is confusion or that scammers have found an easy mark.

For a small business owner, finding a competitive edge in the world of online marketing can be overwhelming. When it comes to choosing which listing directories to go with, it can seem paralyzing. Here are some tips to help cut through the muck and spot a listing scam before you get the bogus bill.

Optimize Your Free Listings

Know which listings matter. Start with the free listings that are relatively easy to set-up. Verify your business listings with the Big 5. These listings are FREE and pack the most clout for your effort.

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Yelp
  • Facebook, Twitter
  • LinkedIn

Update Your Membership & Organization Directories

Do you belong to organizations relevant to your business? Are you listed in their member directories? Is your information correct?

Be Selective with Your Paid Listings

There are many paid listings available to you that vary by industry, audience, etc. If you have the budget to utilize paid listings, do your research first. Start with one and add as you can manage.

Use Your Noggin’

Get an offer that is too good to be true? It probably is. Never heard of it? Neither has anyone else. Is it in broken English? Red flag! Be cautious when giving out your business information for a “business listing” over the phone. Get as much information as you can about the caller first. Only use listings relevant to your target audience.

Don’t trust a logo.

Interestingly, “Yellowpages” and the “walking fingers” are not registered trademarks of anyone, so any scammer can use either of these in their presentation materials.

Understand Auto-Generated Listings

As stated before, there are literally millions of listing sites on the Internet. Most of them are auto-generated with software algorithms that scrape your business’ name, address, phone number and other public content from the web.

Although these technically won’t harm your online presence, they may contain old or outdated information that could potentially frustrate a customer. Keeping your website and “good” listings current, optimized, and up to date is the best way to keep the bogus listings from negatively impacting your business.

Use a Marketing Company

Hire a reputable marketing firm to handle your online presence. Online marketing companies handle the fast paced and ever changing world of SEO and Social Media everyday, so they are up to date on the latest algorithm changes and software updates. They also sprinkle magic optimization dust on business listings, helping you get found on the web.

Need more help navigating the muddle of marketing options? Connect with Art Unlimited for your free consultation!


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