Over the past two years ALOA has fielded the following complaint from frustrated locksmiths with increasing frequency: “The scammers have hijacked my listing and are stealing my calls. My call volume has dropped and no one will help me!” This complaint can evolve from a number of...
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Three main Internet search engines enjoy the vast majority of the market share: Google®, Yahoo® and the Microsoft® engine Bing®. Of these three engines, Google® enjoys nearly 70 percent of the entire market share. So 7 out of 10 times when a person goes on the Internet to search for something…they go to www.google.com. This article will focus on Google®, but the tactics we will describe here are important for other search engines and vertical directories as well.
Before you get started on these steps sign up for a Google® local account, you will only need an email address and password to get started.
Warning: Before you get started on this process, if you find that you have a Google listing with NO PHYSICAL ADDRESS and you don't intend or don't have a physical address in Google local directory, then DON'T proceed with these steps until you read this complete article. Pay particular attention to Step 13.
Step 1. Go to Google®: Launch your internet browser and type in www.Google.com to the browser address bar at the top. (See Figure 1)
Steps 2 & 3. In the search engine search bar, type in the name of your city and the name of your business. (See Figure 2)
When you click search you will likely be presented with a display similar to the display in Figure 3.
Step 4. This area is commonly referred to as the 10 Pack. It is a result of MANY factors. What we are interested in is finding YOUR listing. If you are in the 10 Pack, congratulations it is a good place to be. However what we want to do next is click the top title section that says, “Local business results for _________ Locksmith near Austin, TX.”
Step 5. The next page will display the ‘Local Business Results.' (See Figure 4) Look through these until you find YOUR business listing. You may wonder, “How did my information get into this directory?” Google® gets its local business information from a wide range of sources including database uploads from utility yellow pages, other internet directories and other ‘information vendors.' The fact that many locksmiths are not aware that they have a ‘Google® Ad' is one of the reasons that the scammers have been able to ‘capture' these ads without anyone knowing it.
If you don't see your ad on the first page, then click the bottom area of the page (Figure 5) to advance to the next page. If you are searching for YOUR company name and city location, you should appear on the first page or two. If you don't find your listing, it is possible that your information is NOT in the Google® directory and will require some different actions further in the process.
Step 6. Once you click your ad, you should see a more detailed listing for your ad. (Figure 6)
Step 7. On this detail screen look, at the upper left side of the screen and you will see one of two messages. One will say “Edit.” Tthe other may say “Add or edit your business.” If you or someone else has already ‘Claimed' the ad, it will normally only say ‘Edit'. If you have not found a true ad for your business, you can do so now by clicking ‘Add or edit your business.'. Either way, click that link. (Figure 7)
Step 8. The next screen will depend if you have already signed up for a Google® business center account. If you have not done so, do so now (Sign in). (Figure 8)
Step 9. Click create account now. (Figure 9)
Step 10. Fill in the information needed on the screen. You simply have to put your email address and a password. You may want to uncheck “Enable Web History” and “Make Google® default home page”. (Figure 10)
Step 11. Once you are signed into your account and have clicked your account, you will see the following screen. Select Edit this information. (Figure 11) and click continue (Figure 12).
Step 12. The next screen will allow you to make corrections to your listing such as correcting the address, name, phone number etc. (Figure 13). Don't put a fake address. In the next steps Google® will offer us some options to VERIFY that this is your ad and in some cases will force a ‘post card validation' which will not work with a fake address.
Warning: Google® will display the address that you put in this block. If you DON'T WISH TO DISPLAY YOUR HOME ADDRESS, you will need to make arrangements to have a business address to provide Google®. We know this is an issue for many mobile locksmiths…you don't want people showing up at your house for service! The reality is that Google® and just about every other directory is going to require you to enter an address to ‘claim' your listing.
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