Local business listing hijacking is a real situation that can and will have an impact upon a business brand name. If the business is reliant on the local consumer for revenue, local business listings have evolved into a good local marketing tool. In order to tap into this business marketing tool you have to claim, update and manage your local listing at multiple local listing websites. No, you probably do not need to “get listed” at the tier 1 local listing websites and search engines.
Local business listings are in five major categories of websites. They include search engines, social communities, 411 websites, GPS websites and business directories. They have existed for a number of years and the primary data source starts with the phone companies. The next data source comes from local listing websites sharing data amongst themselves. This has caused duplicate listings for the same company and address.
The evolution and maturity of the data about a business has changed to now include consumer reviews and the ability of adding the business marketing information like videos, photos, coupons and links to the business website. The consumer reviews have become very important as they provide a testimonial about a business to other local consumers. These consumer reviews became an important aspect of Google’s recent and failed attempt to acquire Yelp for $500 million. Not only do these consumer reviews give feedback to other consumers, but search engines, like Google, can utilize this as an additional data point in their algorithm to decide a business’ website ranking position in search results.
Over the next three years the technologies that will be implemented to enhance local business listings as a marketing tool for the business are staggering. This is not about local business listings showing up on the first page of a search result or in the hands of consumer’s mobile devices with mobile searches. The convergence of search, mobile, social media and local listings are giving way to new mobile applications; QR codes; citations; mobile marketing; mobile advertising. This will be a very significant segment of advertising dollars and consumer consumption.
If we focus our attention on consumer reviews from within local listings and website ranking position, you can see why a competitor may want to secure a local listing that does not belong to them. The most popular criminal case is in New Zealand in which a florist has been sentenced to seven years in prison for using the Google local listing dishonestly, causing harm to other florist and without right of claim. If you search on “local listing hijackings”, I’m sure you will find other cases that are in progress.
Security with local listing websites leaves much to be desired at a variety of levels. Examples include post cards that are easily identified with pin codes; creating new accounts easily without verification; duplicate listings causing security confusion and the list goes on. Considering these security problems exist with tier 1 websites, you can only imagine how easily someone can fraudulently impersonate another business with tier 2 websites. Tier 2 websites that later feed into the Internet system incorrectly.
If you are a business and believe that you will passively wait for “the system” to fix the problems, then I think you are going to be waiting a longer time than you would like. The best example we have for brand security concerns lies with Twitter-jacking that had been going on before celebrities went to court. Brand name protection and brand security are a very real problem with local listing websites. These websites that are not prepared to adequately provide the security necessary to avoid fraudulent criminal behavior by your competitors or from another country. Local listing websites by the very nature of their service do not have security as a primary capability.
Are the local listing websites working on security? Yes, I would say that based on news coverage and other writings, this area is being addressed, however, still not at a level that can avoid hijackings. Business directory websites certainly are not showing any level of security to “get listed”. These directories are much too easy to be hijacked with an existing listing or a new account.
Passively waiting for appropriate levels of security is not going to help with brand name protection and brand security. The answer to this problem is to claim, update and manage your business local listing at multiple local listing websites as soon as possible. You will be able to use this as a positive business marketing tool to the local consumers in web searches and mobile searches. You will also be able to manage your reviews, engage in new technologies like QR Codes and evolve with this business marketing tool over the next three years.
Certainly your time resources are limited and Local Business Listing Management Services are provided by SmartFinds Internet Marketing. You will find this 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 and prevent brand security issues from occurring.