Credit: Thomas Chiatalas

With all the things you have to do in a 10-hour day that usually turns into a 14-hour day, who has time to be an Internet expert?

Probably not you.

But think about this: To stay relevant in a digital world, you have to maintain your company’s online presence. Whether you have one person or 10 in your office doesn’t change the need to remain current.

What Are They Saying About Me?

Whether you want to be or not, your company is already part of the online conversation. Type your company’s name into Google and see. Surprised at all the search engines where your company is listed? There’s a lot of information out there. Profile after profile.

What you’ll also notice is how much of that information about your company is incomplete or inaccurate.

Here’s where the work begins. Someone at your company needs to “claim” these profiles. That is, to edit them with the proper information and links. Most of these are free listings. You can add your website, hours of operation, pictures, and company profile. Enhanced online visibility will drive traffic to your website, which should lead to more sales.

Places, Places

Once you’ve done this search, verify your Google Places account. This account is the one that identifies you in local search. You’re probably familiar with the map that shows on the right side of the page with push pins. More than 80% of online searchers end up at a Local Results website. So be sure the information there is complete and accurate.

For companies that have had multiple online addresses over the years, this may be frustrating. Search engines will find and list them all. There are tools on most of these sites that allow you to merge accounts into a correct one, or to delete incorrect accounts. Do that and you’ll freshen up your online presence and increase your visibility. It may take some time at first, but after that initial round, you should only have to spend a couple hours every few months keeping it up to date. Dennis Schaefer, a remodeling and home improvement speaker and writer, sold his Michigan deck and outdoor living business to his employees several years ago. Reach him at