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Optimize And Publicize Your Business Listing.
Here’s How It’s Done.
Step 1: Analyze your Business Listing and Check for Errors
Over 40% of business listings on the Internet are inaccurate and 98% of them are not optimized to generate leads. Discrepancies in your listing on any website will hinder the search engines from promoting your business on their site. It’s very important to have an accurate listing of your business name, address and telephone number on every site on the Internet … including your own site.
You can easily do an Internet wide search of your business listing and scan it of inaccuracies. Go to Yahoo.com and searching for “your Business name + your business address.” If you find discrepancies, you’ll know that you’re operating at a reduced signal strength.
Step 2: Optimize Your Business Listing
Anyone can fill out a business listing. The secret is to optimize it for the search sites so they will promote your business to your potential customers. In order to do this correctly, you must know the exact words and phrases prospects use to find the services you offer, and use that information to your advantage.
Then, you want to use that information along with geographic modifiers in your business description, category selection and in the services offered section. You can also take further advantage of these keywords in your alt text with you logo, photo and videos if you chose to use them.
Our favorite keyword research tool is from Market Samurai. You can download a copy of the software and use their keyword tool for free. It’s the best on the net.
Step 3: Optimize Website Page (optional)
This is very easy to do, and you do not need a website to have your business listing place high on the search results page … but it helps. Problem is, most local business websites are not optimized for the search engines, and because of that, they’re not attracting customers like they could.
You want to make sure that your business name and address appear on every page of your website. You can accomplish this by putting it in the footer or in the navigation bar. You also need to include your local telephone number, hours of operation, payment methods, and a map with written directions using local landmarks.
Step 4: Claim Your Business on Google, Yahoo! and Bing
This is one of the most important steps in Local Search Marketing. When you claim your business listing, you provide the local search sites with a high level of confidence that you’re business actually exists. More importantly, you’re helping these sites gather accurate information about your business which allows them to promote you with a high level of trust.
List of Business Listing Sites
Make sure to follow the rules for each site when you claim your listing with them. If you break or try to bend the rules there’s a good chance Google and the rest of the search engines will ban your business from their directory. We see this happen on a regular basis and it can devastate a business for a long, long time.
Step 5: Submit Your Business Listing to the most frequently Searched Sites
There are dozens of places (other than search engines) where people go to look for the products and services you offer. They look in local and vertical directories, on Internet Yellow Page sites, on 411 directories with their smart phones and on GPS devices in their car.
You can submit your business listing to each site individually (which would take months to accomplish) or you could use the same service we use to publicize business listings on the Internet. This service is provided by Universal Business Listing and they charge a one time fee of $30. As far as I’m concerned it’s the best value on the Internet.
Search Engines / Directories / Internet Yellow Page Sites
* MSN / Live.com
* Quebecor/canoe inc.
* infoUSA Express Update
* Insider Pages
* Yellow Book
* Yellow Page City
* Merchant Circle
* Yellow Bot
* Menu Networks
* Mobio Networks
* Search Bug
* Deep Data
* Search Initiatives
* Electronic Directories (Yellow Pages, Inc)
GPS Navigation / Mapping Sites
Step 6: Gather Business Citations for your Business
A business citation is where your business name and address shows up on a relevant website on the Internet. This is one of the methods that search engines use to determine if your business listing is accurate. The more citations you have from trustworthy sites, the more visible your business listing will be on the Internet.
The secret to getting powerful citations is knowing where to find them. I would love to provide you with a list of these sites, but they’re different for every industry and every community. You can learn more about citations from our post entitled: Business Citations.
Step 7: Get 5 Star Reviews for Your Business
Customer reviews are one of the best ways for search engines to determine the quality of the service you offer. Good reviews translate into good service. At the same time, the search engines seem to rank business listings higher based on the quantity of reviews rather than the quality of the reviews.
That being said, you can see the importance of accumulating as many positive reviews from your customers as possible and encourage them to post those reviews on one of the many review sites on the Internet.
Where people review your business depends on your business and your location. Some of the more popular sites include: Trip Adviser, Yelp, Merchant Circle, Kudzu, Angies List, Google, Yahoo!, Bing and others. See where you’re competitors are being reviewed and send your customers to those same sites.
You can learn more about customer reviews from my post entitled: 5 Star Business Reviews – How To Get Them.
Step 8: Rinse and Repeat
Local Search Marketing is not a one time event. There are certain things you’ll want to do on a regular basis which include adding citations, generating positive reviews and keeping your listing up to date. If you don’t do these things, your competition will eventually overtake your position on the first page. You do not want this to happen.
There is good news however. The really cool thing about local search on Google, Bing and Yahoo! is that you can see exactly what your competitors are doing. If you have an optimized listing with 147 reviews and 87 citations and and your closest competitor only has 5 reviews and 14 citations, you’re set. It will be very, very difficult for them to knock you off the front page. The key to top placement and unlimited local leads is to do the work today and benefit from your efforts for a long time to com.
You can do this yourself
… and there are great benefits to doing so. But, if you need help or just want someone to do it for you, give us a call here in Hawaii at 1-808-891-0449 and we’ll point you in the right direction.