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What are local business listings?

Online marketing is an important key to growing your business, and there are a lot of options out there. Let's take a look at one of the easiest ways to reach and win more customers: local business listings. These types of listings are crucial for boosting your local search presence in search engines.

This video explains what local business listings are and how to use them to reach your customers.

If you have a brick-and-mortar business or a local service area, you'll want your business information on as many online directories, maps and review sites as possible. Google Business Profile, Google Maps, Yelp, Bing, Foursquare—these are just some of the many places you'll want your business to appear. And most are free!

Search engines pull information from these sites and display it under your web address for local search results. It's possible that, without any effort on your part, your business is already on some of them. But is it accurate? To know for sure, do a web search on your company's name and locale to see where it shows up.

Equally important is figuring out where you're not showing up. How? One quick way is to search for competitors in your area. You'll want to be sure you're on every site and app they are.

Wherever your business is listed, be sure to claim it. This process varies from site to site, but basically involves creating a business user account and then verifying you own the business. Claiming your business allows you to update and enhance your listing and respond to customer reviews. Some listing sites also provide you with valuable metrics, such as user views and customer leads.

Speaking of reviews, studies show the majority of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do word-of-mouth recommendations. Encourage your happy customers to share their experience on a review site. If you get negative reviews, use them as opportunities to reach out to dissatisfied customers and try to win back their business. Try to keep an open mind; if their point is valid, embrace it to make your business even better!

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