Editorâ€™s Note: This is the second of a seven-part series from Homes.com on how to manage your online reputation. Homes.com has put together a free playbook on the topic, which can be downloaded here. Watch for this series in RISMediaâ€™s Friday Weekly Business Builder e-newsletter.
Once youâ€™ve decided to invest in your online reputation, the first thing you need to do is to get your name out there by being listed in as many online business directories as possible. Itâ€™s not rocket science; the more places your business is listed, the more exposure you get, and the better your chances are of building a strong online reputation.
So, where do you start? Here is a list of online listing sites you should check out.
â€˘ Bing Local â€“ A top search engine, Bing is a free service that offers tools for businesses to manage their online presence through Bing Business Portal. This service provides maps, ratings, and reviews, and Bingâ€™s ties with Yahoo! yield for a huge market share. Bing Local also has a bulk upload program available to businesses with at least 25 listings.
â€˘ Yahoo! Local â€“ Another large online search engine, Yahoo! gives opportunities for businesses to provide details about their services. It offers a free basic listing service, which provides company information and placement in up to five relevant categories, and also a paid enhanced listing service that allows higher placement.
â€˘ Google+ Local â€“ This free, online search engine service integrates the social media platform Google+. Google+ Local offers unique, interactive engagement using photo sharing and links, as well as ratings and reviews. If you have at least 10 listings, you can use a bulk upload program. Be aware that you need to have a Gmail account to use this service.
â€˘ Citysearch â€“ This online city guide provides info, as well as â€śAt a Glanceâ€ť overviews about businesses. Consumers can also leave reviews. While there is a fee to use Citysearch, it comes with a mobile service as well.
â€˘ Judyâ€™s Book â€“ This site attracts one million unique visitors a month, which is why itâ€™s no surprise that there is a fee to join. Here, you can interact with those who review your website. You can claim your listing by searching for your companyâ€™s name and clicking â€śClaim Your Businessâ€ť on the left side of the page.
â€˘ Yelp â€“ Yelp, an online urban city guide, allows consumers to leave reviews of all kinds of businesses. Businesses can communicate both privately and publicly, track the number of visitors, provide details, offer deals, and recommend other businesses. While Yelp is a free service, there is a fee if youâ€™d like to enhance your businessâ€™s placement.
â€˘ MerchantCircle â€“ MerchantCircle.com offers ratings, reviews, social networking features, and deals.
Keep in mind that each site has a different way to go about listing. For example, Google+ Local requires a PIN to complete the authentication process.
Itâ€™s important to get listed on as many sites as possible to enhance your online visibility. This list is not comprehensive. There are many other online sites on which you can list your business. For an extended list of more sites on which you can get listed, as well as detailed instructions on how to get started, click here to download our free online reputation eBook.
Erica Campbell Byrum is the Director of Social Networking for Homes.com.