Business Listings Management 101 – The Local Marketing Basics

Checking off items from a list of boxes.

Business listings management is an essential part of getting your business ranked highly in searches relevant to you getting more business.

But first, I have a really interesting story for you.

I received a call today from a company that deceptively led me to believe they worked directly with Google. I knew they didn’t. They didn’t know that, though.

What was their story? They are a direct provider of businesses to Google that provides business information for Google Maps and the Google 3-pack. In other words, if you paid them an amount of money they would list you at the top of Google search results in the map listings.

That’s these business listings:

Google Search For Plumbers in San Jose With 3-Pack Highlighted

That’s also a blatant lie and deceptive sales on their part. Nobody can buy a place in these rankings, you have to earn them.

You can, however, list your business on Google Maps, search, and other places using Google Business Profile. Any company that states they had a spot open up on the Google 3-pack and they can place you there is lying.

I got the company name and did some research, and they are being deceptive, leading people to believe they work directly with Google. What they are selling is basic local SEO (search engine optimization) services that are supposed to rank your business in these listings.

At the price they’re selling at, there is a low likelihood they would be any more successful than you just using a tool as I will explain later.

That brings me to what business listings management and the basics behind it. By learning the basics you will understand better how business listings work and why companies like this are being deceptive at best.

So you don’t fall victim to their deception, fully understanding how Google works for local businesses and understanding business listings management will help you a lot.

In other words, read this fully.

What Business Listings Management Is

In its simplest form which is deceptively simple, business listings management is the act of managing your business information on all the directories of the internet.

The thing that doesn’t tell you is how many directories there are, how often you need to manage your information, and how accurate your business information needs to be.

The process of doing all of these things and doing them well is also included in what business listings management is. It’s complex, it can be difficult, and doing it manually these days is harder than ever.

There is one directory, in particular, that is more important than all the rest too.

Google Business Profile.

Because Google owns a huge share of the search market they also own a huge share of how people search for local businesses. Whenever someone is looking for a service, store, or whatever in their city the likelihood they start their search on Google is extremely high.

That’s why it’s important to look at the next section and how Google Business Profile matters a lot to business listings management.

How Business Listings Management Works With Google Business Profile (GBP)

Google Business Profile is the most important part of listings management because Google makes up so much of the search engine. People are most likely to use a Google service when they’re looking for a local business.

So how does it work?

You create a Google Business Profile and your business will be listed. It’s as simple as that. There are likely tons of businesses listed in your industry, though. That means it’s going to be more of a challenge to get listed at the top where your business will be seen.

The company I mentioned at the beginning was lying because they said you could buy your way into the top place. You can’t. You can pay someone a lot of money monthly to work on getting you there.

The most important place to be listed is on the Google Search 3-pack. when you search in Google for a local business you will see the 3-pack. They look like this:

Google Search 3-Pack Map

Every business in that position has to earn their spot, not buy it with one exception, Google has been experimenting with one paid spot at the top of the 3-pack. That doesn’t always show up and to get that you have to use Google Ads.

These are the things that can help you place in the Google search 3-pack:

  • A well-optimized GBP profile.
  • Lots of reviews that have relevant keywords in them.
  • An optimized website with keywords and a strong rank in search.
  • Lots of accurate business citations across the internet in directories and elsewhere.
  • Accurate Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) everywhere.

If you’re missing any one part of these it’ll be harder for your business to rank in the important Google search 3-pack.

Who Needs To Manage Their Business Listings

If you do business locally then you need to actively manage your business listings. That means service area businesses and especially if you have a physical location.

No matter if you’re a local laundromat or a plumber out and about town, managing your business online is essential to being found. Every business that works with customers locally should make the effort to manage their business listings.

If you don’t work with local customers and do business either solely on the phone or the internet then there’s no need if you never want to grow. People aren’t finding you in local searches anyway so it would simply distract from your goal.

You’ll find that we don’t have any local presence because we do business on the internet only. We don’t see clients locally at all. That also wouldn’t classify us as a local business.

Why Business Listings Management Is Important

Most people find businesses online today. Even if they don’t, they’re likely to refer to the internet to either look up a business or get directions to a business.

That means they’re using their favorite app or in most cases, the map software that comes with their smartphone.

On an Android device they’re likely using one of these:

  • Google Maps
  • Waze

Or if they’re on an iOS device they’re likely using one of these:

  • Apple Maps
  • Google Maps
  • Waze

That means they’re getting business information from Google (Google Maps) or from Apple and Yelp (Apple Maps). Waze is a bit more complex and I won’t get into that.

A lot of factors go into determining if your business is seen when someone is searching for what you do. Your business has to be listed accurately and optimized well.

Your business also has to have accurate and consistent information. Google in part ranks businesses in maps and other places based on citation information across the internet. Business listings management helps ensure your business information is always accurate and always current.

Competitors changing information or reporting information incorrectly does happen. A good business listing management platform like Loclmark will stop that because your information will always be locked in and accurate.

The importance of business listings management comes down to whether or not it’s important for you to get new business from the internet.

There’s a lot of potential customers out there searching. If you want to tap into that market then it’s important. If not, don’t worry about it!

How To Manage Business Listings

If you want a good balance between saving time and paying a massive amount of money, our local marketing automation platform is a good option. This would allow you to add your business everywhere and update information in near real-time easily.

While you’re still ultimately in charge of getting your information accurate and keeping it updated, Loclmark makes it much easier to manage and saves you hundreds of hours a year. It will require an hour or two every month as opposed to 20-40 hours every month.

There are two other ways you can manage your business listings online. You either have to spend a lot of money or a lot of time with these two methods.

  • Manually
  • Full-Service Agency

If you do things manually then you’re going to have to create your listings on dozens of directories manually. It’s honestly unmanageable, I’ve tried.

The worst part about this method is that many websites don’t let you create or manage listings manually. We’ve put together a list of directories that let you add your website without issues. Just don’t add them and forget about them! Revisit your listings monthly or at least every six months.

The other method is to use a full-service agency that will typically take care of absolutely everything for you. That’s nice and convenient because you just pay them and they’ll take care of all the local management of your business for you, for a price.

With Loclmark, you can manage two of the most important aspects of growing your local presence online. Add on an affordable website, and you’ll really knock it out of the park. We even put together an affordable marketing strategy for local small businesses that combines the three most important local marketing tools.

Business listing management is easiest with a tool like Loclmark. It’s not quite as cheap as doing it yourself but gives you the ability to do many things you simply can’t do yourself and will save you massive time. It’s also easy enough to use where you can manage it yourself from a single dashboard. Simple.

If you want to see how your business listings are doing online, then you can get a free business listing scan. With that information, then you can make a better decision on what to do next.

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