Claim Your Place

You’ve got a website, Twitter account and Facebook page. You’ve set up your LinkedIn profiles (both for yourself and your business), and you’ve created your Google+ profile and business profile.

You’ve even been an overachiever and created a YouTube channel, Flicker and Tumblr accounts.

Whew! That’s it, right?

Well, maybe not. If you are a business with an actual address, there are a few other things you’ll want to claim and monitor. I know, not what you wanted to hear, but if being a small business owner were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Don’t forget about Yelp, Google Places, Yahoo Local and perhaps Foursquare. These are other places customers can find you and talk about you. Some reviews will be good. Others maybe not so good, but you need to know about them.

Why do you care? Two reasons.

1. If you don’t claim it someone else, like your competition, might

Let’s take Yelp for an example. A Yelper can create a page for your business to review it. Also, Yelp spiders roam the web, looking for business listings and creating basic pages for them. Once a page is there, anyone can stop by and review you.

They can also stop by and “claim” the page. What does that mean? It means they have set up a user name and password to access and make changes to your business information. If that person is you, great. If not? Do I really need to spell it out for you?

If you claim your own page, no one else can claim it for you.

It works basically the same for Foursquare, Google Places and Yahoo! Local.

2. If you don’t know it exists, you don’t know what people are saying about you

If people are complimenting you, don’t you want to know about it? If they are saying you suck, you need to know that so you can fix the problem. But you have to go to where they are commenting, and the four places I’ve discussed in this post are the ones I suggest paying attention to. Yes, there are others, but until you have a large staff working for you, apply the 80/20 rule. Those four places, plus your social media channels, will hit 80% of the places people are reviewing you.

What if someone says something bad? Respond. Ask what happened. Offer to make it right. If someone on your staff received the bad review, discuss what happened. Maybe the reviewer is a jerk. Maybe your staff member was having an off day. But you, as a business owner, need to know about it so you can address any problems.

Respond publicly when you can. People notice and appreciate it. If you’ve made something right for a client, ask them to update their review. We understand that things can happen. We love it when we know mistakes will be fixed!

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2 Responses to “Claim Your Place”

  1. There are many good reasons to claim and customize all of your local business listings. Most small businesses that depend upon walk in traffic aren’t aware that they can do local business listings on Google, Yahoo and Bing.

    The other place they should look at is Best of the Web (BOTW). And check out Universal Business Listing (UBL).

    Another really good, very, very local business listing is Patch. It’s run by AOL, and it has an awesome local business listing directory.

    The other good thing about all of these listings is the citation factor Google looks for when ranking and indexing local businesses for local search results. The more listings you have, the more your business looks important to Google.

    If your business is concentrated on getting customers from specific areas, put that on your website – neighborhoods, zip codes, counties, etc.

    Yelp is still on my s&^% list. They will continue to try to manipulate business owners into buying a premium listing to wipe out negative reviews a company might receive. I tell people to be very, very, VERY careful with Yelp.

    And finally…one small thing that’s within every business owner’s reach that most never think about is to put their physical address, including the zip code, into a crawlable part of their website on every single page for the search engine spiders and bots.

    Many folks do a search for local businesses by typing in a zip code. It’s so easy, it’s a crime NOT to do it! You owe it to your business!

  2. Juli Monroe says:

    Nancy, many thank. I knew I could rely on your to chime in and give me a whole ‘nother blog post in your comment.

    I hear you on Yelp. I’m not crazy about them either, but they are the big dog in the room right now, so people ignore it at their peril.