Directory Listing Scams
Proper SEO management will include directory listings, which is essentially listing your company on different sites throughout the Internet and making sure that the listing is correct. This can include Yelp, Google, Yext, Bing, and more; some of which you likely have never heard of before. They are important to maintain for both user experience and SEO purposes, which makes directory listings valuable. Because of this, it is easy for people to scam small business owners into paying for directory listings, even if they had not agreed to pay for this service in the first place. So how do you know what is a scam or not?
How To Spot the Scam
If you work with an SEO company, they should be spending some time each month looking at directory listings. At EM Search Consulting, your directory listings are updated and added to as the months go by in your program. It is something that we are always looking at, and it is never something we would charge you for outside of your normal SEO program. If you are working with a company that tells you that you need to pay an exorbitant fee for directory listings, this may be a scam.
The more common scam is directly through the mail or a phone call. Typically, small businesses will get a phone call or a piece of mail asking to confirm their contact information for a directory listing. This doesn’t raise any red flags right away, so it is confirmed. However, weeks or even months later, these businesses are getting invoices for hundreds of dollars for just one listing. Unfortunately, even when people disputed the invoice, the companies would show an altered version of the initial phone call or show fine print on the piece of mail you signed, etc., so that the company would just pay the invoice.
Protect Your Business
When you get a phone call or piece of mail regarding a directory listing, it is likely spam. Unless you had claimed a listing personally, or your SEO company did and they reached out to you about it, it is better to be safe than sorry. Always train your staff in regard to this, particularly whoever is answering the phone. Also, the scam mail typically has a “This is not a bill” message, but people often think that it is; realize that you do not need to pay! Finally, you can always check out any business on bbb.org for free, or you can even file a complaint with the FTC if you get a fake bill from a “local directory listing” business.
With any questions, please reach out to EM Search Consulting!