As a business owner, you may think your business information that appears in an online business directory is something you own and therefore control. After all it is your business name. You pay for the phone number, your business address and make the important decisions. The truth is, when your business information appears in any number of the online business directories, you have very little control on how that information appears when you submit a free business listing through a business directory website. Why you might say?

Submitting business information to an online business directory

The business directories online obtain information about your company from many different sources both online and offline. The most common sources are business listings like Google My Business, Yelp, Angie’s List, Bing Local and Yahoo Local. Other sources would be online press releases, social media posts and news articles. The sources that many business owners are most surprised to hear contribute to an online business directory listing are IRS filings, bank loans, EIN updates, patent registrations, trademark applications, phone records and other data aggregators.

There are thousands of contributing sources that feed into each directory’s algorithm to determine what a directory will display for your business. Each of these sources compete by contributing their aggregated data during each individual online search, with the goal to have a publisher use their information as the deciding factor in how your online business listing will be displayed. Think of it as a March Madness bracket and each source is one of the 64 teams competing to be number one. The difference is there are thousands of brackets and a tournament is taking place every time someone creates a search on a listing’s website. Once you can wrap your head around that idea, you can understand why controlling your business information on a business listing website can be very challenging.

At the end of the day, the goal of publishers for each directory is to make money. They do this by driving traffic to websites and directing searchers to the most relevant results, ultimately increasing the directory’s revenue. For this reason, publishers can’t just rely on the business owner or any one source to create a listing. They need to verify that all the information provided is accurate. This is why directories pull information from many sources to create the most precise possible listing.

Controlling your company information on a online business directory

Imagine that you could submit your company’s business information to over 60 of the top online business directories at one time and within 48-72 hours that data was listed exactly the way you entered it throughout 95% of those listings. Then imagine that instead of creating 60 user names and passwords for each of those websites, you could create one user name and password for all of your accounts.

Fortunately there is a platform called YEXT that helps to create, manage and update all of your listings in real time, from one content management system. As a certified partner, we know that they have created partnerships with each of these top directories to guarantee that listings delivered through the platform, are required to appear in the exact format they were submitted. How can they guarantee this you might ask? It’s simple; they pay them to do it. Now the software they provide isn’t free, but it is very affordable. When you think about the time and money you save dealing with each online business directory (one on one) you will be amazed. If that wasn’t enough, you also have the ability to enhance your listings to help your company standout. For example, updating your businesses operating hours for holidays or creating a featured message weekly promoting a sale can be done quickly and easily.

So if you are a business that is struggling with online listing submissions or simply don’t have time to dedicate to this essential local SEO strategy, then you may want to consider this solution. To find out what your company’s grade is for online business listings, you can use this free business listing tool checker.  If you would like more information about controlling your online business listings, call us at (202) 683-6881 or send us an email.

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