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Local Business Listing Security and the Claiming Process

Local business listings have become a good local business marketing tool

Security about Local Business Listings is critical to avoid local listing hijackings

Microsoft Bing Local Listing CenterIf you keep a eye out on Microsoft Bing’s Local Listing Center you will find that occasionally their system is backlogged and they do not accept new local business listing claiming until their backlog and issues have been resolved.

When visiting the URL https://ssl.bing.com/listings/ListingCenter.aspx the following notice gets posted:

“Local Listing Center Backlog:
We have received a lot of feedback recently regarding issues with claiming and updating business listings using Bing Local Listing Center. We are actively working on fixing these issues and will closely monitor the progress of clearing out the backlog. We understand that this has been very frustrating for many of you and sincerely apologize for the long delays. Thank you for your patience!

Bing Local Listing Center Team”

These types of local business listing frustrations with the claiming process are only part of the problems business owners face. Feel free to take a look at the Bing Local Listing Center forums to see the types of frustrations that exist at http://www.bing.com/community/forums/12279.aspx

Local business listings have become a good local business marketing tool for the local business to reach the local consumer through web searches and mobile searches. Afterall, local business listings are showing up before organic results in a regular search at the major search engines.

Unfortunately, not all business owners have come to the realization that they do not have to passively let these interactive web pages exist. There are those business owners that have caught on quickly if they claim and update their local business listing, they can use this as a local marketing tool. To some extent some do not even have to bother with search engine optimization (seo) of their website, but rather put their energy into the local business listing.

In order to make these interactive yellow pages a beneficial local business marketing tool, the first step is to claim the local listing before you can update the listing with the business marketing material. This claiming process is partly to blame for the issues Microsoft Bing is encountering with their backlog. Depending upon the website there are four methods being employed to verify the authenticity of the claimant

1. E-Mail
2. Postcard in the mail with a Pin code
3. Phone call to your business phone number with a pin code
4. Manual verification

The Pin Code that is provided is to unlock the local business listing in order to update the information with text copy, keywords, business descriptions, products, services, photos, videos, coupons, and much more. Depending upon the local listing website, some allow you all of these options (e.g. Google) others begin charging a fee for enhanced listing in order to have all this information present to the local consumer through web searches or mobile searches.

Local Business Listing Hijacking CautionThe claiming process is very important because if the wrong person gets access to the local business listing for a business they can detract customers to a different location by phone or by website address. Additional damage that can be done includes incorrect information on photos, videos, coupons, and much more. Because consumers are using the local business listings to locate a business, product or service in their immediate area in person, by phone or website, the security around local business listings has to be high priority for any local listing website.

Local business listings started with a basic business directory on the Internet going back over a decade. The process has evolved and matured as social media and mobile devices allowed consumers to start using these interactive yellow pages to post their reviews as well as use them to locate a business, product or service in their local area. There are over 60 local business listing websites on the Internet in five different categories. They include the search engines, social communities, 411 websites (aka yellow page type websites), GPS websites and the age old business directory.

I have discussed Local Business Listing Hijackings and Local Business Listing Brand Security Concerns in previous articles. It is absolutely important to not passively wait for the local listing websites to put the appropriate security in place to claim your listing. The complexity of these local listing websites to put security in place ranges to include not only the obvious claiming process, but many of them allow data to be inserted from other databases on the Internet and I cannot say I am clear there is good security around this later process. If someone wanted to hijack a local business listing, they could just as easily insert the wrong information through a low level business directory that sells its data upstream or inserts its data directly into a higher level local listing website.

Depending whose data source you use, there is an estimated 30 million businesses in the U.S. While the top search engines like Bing, Google and Yahoo have “some” front end security to their process; their API’s make them vulnerable through the back door. Data is provided to their local listings from 3rd party sources including “get listed” services. Additionally, if someone cannot claim a listing easily, the process within these local listing websites allows for additional listings with the same address to be submitted by anyone. While none of these local listing websites have the capacity to take on the claiming process of 100% of all business all at the same time, the recommendation is to start the claiming process regardless of how long it may take and if they get back logged. This is not just a top tier search engine issue either. The claiming process has to be performed through lower tiered local listing websites, as well, in order to insure accurate information that is being passed around the Internet.

Certainly your time resources are limited and Local Business Listing Management Services are provided by SmartFinds Internet Marketing. You will find SmartFinds Internet Marketing to be of great benefit to your time resources and the low cost service may eliminate your yellow page ad costs. Let the experts of over 15 years Internet marketing experience help you use this local business marketing tool properly.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Melih Oztalay

I have over 20 years of experience in developing successful, efficient and strategic web marketing and advertising solutions for businesses. Working through an entrepreneurial framework, I have focused on business development, sales, execution, and management. Combining solid knowledge of marketing and advertising with information technology, I have been successful in being able to apply digital technologies to the needs of businesses. As an early adopter of new ideas and technology, my clients are able to benefit from imaginative and effective programs that keep them ahead of their competition.

The Company

Smartfinds is a digital marketing agency working with national and global corporate clients including domestic and off-shore franchise operations with their online marketing efforts. We offer a number of core competencies including web marketing research, analysis, strategies, and tactics; website development and SEO; organic search engine marketing with content marketing and social media marketing; Google AdWords advertising including pay-per-click; Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools interpretation; Local Store Marketing including customer ratings and reviews management; and more.

Our entrepreneurial business approach employs open-mind creativity and early-adopter assertiveness along with in-depth planning for business growth. Our goal is to be a strategic partner with our clients focused on increasing traffic to the website, business growth, generate leads, increase sales and revenues.

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