These local listings are – in fact – free online advertising for your business and the fastest, easiest way for you to find new customers for your business.
However, according to one source, it’s estimated that less than 10% of all local businesses have claimed their local listings.
What is a local business search listing? It’s a page one website provided for your by the friendly folks at Google, Bing, Yahoo plus a growing number of entrepreneurs who see a future where the internet has replaced the old fashioned yellow page directories and replace them with their own online advertising directory.
While hundreds of thousands of brick and mortar merchants are unaware that their business even HAS a free online local business listing there are a few tech savvy business owners who are taking full advantage of this powerful online marketing tool.
Amongst those tech savvy business owners are a few who are more than lacking in the morals department. A few have decided that claiming their own local business listing isn’t enough – they’re instead hijacking the local listings of other business owners who haven’t claimed their listings as well.
A New Zealand florist has been convicted of claiming the local listings of other florists on Google Maps. Patrick Stafford of Smart Company writes :
However, many SEO experts have pointed out information can be accessed and edited by virtually anyone, leaving companies liable to hijacking attempts. Many businesses are allegedly changing contact information and address details of competitors to lead back to their own websites.
Last year Adam Lyttle, founder of marketing firm SiteClick, told SmartCompany he had noticed a rise in the number of Google hijacking cases being reported by other businesses.
As a business owner, it’s imperative that you claim your local business search listings immediately. Start with our list of recommended places to claim your listing.