What you publish online is controlled by you – and hopefully it’s accurate. However what others publish about you in online directories might not be accurate.
Yelp, Google Places, Merchant Circle and others, all have online directories that have business information. These databases are often populated from public and private sources such as Dun and Bradstreet.
CMIT Grand Solutions tech guru Evan Stein writes about it in his latest newsletter, which I’ve provided here, with his permission:
Here’s a quick, easy way to enhance your business’s profile online: make sure people have access to the right contact information.
Out-of-date or just plain incorrect information can keep customers from finding you. And often, all it takes is one phone call to a wrong number, or one drive by a vacated office, for a prospective customer to sour on your business for good. If they found you online, chances are that’s because they do a lot of their research online – and people who are used to finding businesses on the Web expect information to be accurate and up-to-date. An out-of-date Web page or phone number is a big hint to those people that your business either isn’t operating or doesn’t care how it comes across online. Either way, they probably won’t be very interested in becoming a customer. (One recent survey found that “One third of searchers give up on a business when they can’t quickly find the information they’re looking for.”)
To make sure your information is up-to-date, type your business name into a few popular search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Make sure your Place Page is correct on Google Local Business Center. (To find out how to register for an account so that you can correct that information if it’s wrong, go here.) Check your contact information on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp. And while you’re at it, look for reviews for your business on Yelp and a few other user-generated review sites. If somebody’s complaining, address their concerns. If they’re saying something nice, thank them. Reviewers like to know they’re being heard.
And what about those places on the Internet where you’re mentioned and it’s not particularly easy to fix the information by yourself? Find the “contact us” section for the site you need to correct and try writing to them directly.
The more certain you can be that your business is represented consistently and accurately on the Web, the more professional you’re going to look. And that’s always good for business!