The Top Ten List
Free Listings for Establishing Your Presence in the Digital World
It is a popular and widely accepted benchmark that small businesses should spend between five to ten percent of their sales revenue in promoting and advertising their business each year. For their advertising dollars, owners aim at a mix of the highest quality leads and the most leads possible. However, with limited budgets, small business owners are also looking for good opportunities to promote their business for free.
Are you an SMB owner or manager looking for free advertising or an inexpensive way to establish your presence on the Internet? The following list contains the top ten companies (in my opinion) that will provide you with a free business listing in the digital space. These listings will appear on the Internet, whether people are searching on PCs, smartphones, or tablets. All for a favorite price – free!
It is easy to get started, and does not take much time to complete. Each site will take about 10 to 20 minutes to upload your data, if you have all of your personal contact information available (including your business email and business phone number).
In addition to this top ten list, there are four important things to know about free listings:
- Accurate Data: If you have a business phone, your business (most likely) already has some sort of data on these sites. You should “claim your listing” to ensure that your listing (or business profile page) has accurate, up-to-date data.
- Your Reputation: Your free listing or business profile page may contain ratings and reviews of your products or services from your customers. You should monitor the ratings and reviews that appear on these sites so that you can engage with your customers. These ratings and reviews might be visible only on these websites and not available on the search engines, such as Google. Again, not all ratings and reviews are visible through search engines, but your potential customers may see them. These sites provide you, as the business owner, an opportunity to respond to both the positive and negative feedback.
- Consistency: This list of Top Ten sites will help you ensure the consistency of your company’s data across the Internet. Data aggregators and search engines may gather, pass and display erroneous information if customers or consumer users provide incorrect data for your business. By claiming your free listings on these Top Ten sites, you ensure that your data is accurate and consistent on other sites and other digital platforms as well.
- Getting More: Some argue that a business listing is not properly defined as an “advertisement,” since it simply contains basic company data. However, at many of these top ten sites, you can add more than just your basic listing for free. For no cost, you can add photos of your business, additional text describing your company, and blog posts. Regardless of whether you call this information a listing or an advertisement, you should get more from these top ten sites by adding as much information as possible about your company.
And finally, search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing have historically aggregated data from these top ten sites, including ratings and reviews. More recently, search engines are allowing SMBs to enter the data directly. Consequently, I recommend that small businesses add their business listing to at least these three top search engines.
I hope that you find this information helpful, and would welcome and appreciate your feedback. In addition, please feel free to use the comments to recommend any additional sites that I may have overlooked.
While we’re on the subject of FREE…
Check out these FREE tools to spy on your competition!
Originally posted on December 29, 2012.
Updated on May 29, 2015.