Up to Date Online Business Listings Bring In Sales
A local business listing is one of the most important online marketing tools for your business. It’s arguably more important even than your company’s web design or your social media accounts because it has the potential to deliver customers directly to your doorstep at the moment that they’re prepared to buy.
Local listings are easy to build and maintain, and they’re free, making them an unbeatable marketing value. You may not realize that there are more local listing opportunities than Google Maps, Yelp and Bing. Consider Angie’s List, and 50+ additional local search directories. With just a few vital pieces of information in hand, you can have your listing up and running in no time, and your business will begin to show up in search results for nearby customers looking for a business like yours.
The Vital Statistics: Keep It Local
As you’re building your local business listing, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the listing needs to make your business easy to find. The profile information you use in the listing must correspond with the actual geographic location where you do business. If it doesn’t, the listing index won’t be able to verify that your business is legitimate, and customers won’t be able to find you when they’re looking for you.
Before you can qualify for a local business listing, you’ll need to have a proper legal business name or a DBA name. You’ll also have to have an actual street address, not a post office box or shared address, and your phone number should be located in the place where you do business, not an 800 number or a number from another locale.
The listing index will use all these pieces of information to verify your business, and it will also use these details to accurately serve up your profile in geographically specific search results.
Add the Important Details
After those crucial bits of information, you’ll want to add information to your profile that will be the most useful to potential customers. Add contact information, hours of operation, links to your website and social media accounts, and anything else you can think of that a potential customer might be looking for in an internet search.
Focus on those things that make your business stand out from your competitors. If you run a restaurant, include photos of your menu items and decor. If you’re a lawyer, include information about your specialties. If you’re a hair salon, collect reviews from your satisfied customers.
Take Advantage of Categories
A listing index will ask you for a list of business categories to associate with your profile when you create it. The importance of choosing these categories correctly can’t be overstated, since they are essential for search engine optimization. They will determine when and how you achieve top listings. When you provide a business category for your listing, a search engine will deliver your listing when a user searches for keywords that the search engine has linked to that category.
Provide the wrong categories for your business and your listing will be ignored in searches that could otherwise lead customers to you. SEO consultants can help you to choose those categories that will make your business show up on page one of the most advantageous Google searches.
Build a Web of Citations
Search engines like Google and Bing also use citations for your business—that is, mentions of your business elsewhere on the internet—to determine whether or not to include your listing in search results. The search engines crawl the web looking for citations in local directories, blogs, organizations, review sites and elsewhere to figure out how relevant and potentially useful your business is to its users. If your goal is getting on page one of Google, actively building a web of these citations is key.
Making sure that your business is positioned correctly to take full advantage of local business listings takes time and knowledge of the intricacies of search engines. An online marketing consultant can provide the expertise to do the job correctly while freeing up your time to run the business.
For more information on leveraging your business’ local listing, contact Vortex today.
About the author: Tom Weinkle is a founder and partner of Vortex Communications, a graphic and website design firm who offers brand agency services, graphic and WordPress web design, build, troubleshooting and training services along with search optimization, social media and inbound marketing services. Based in Miami, Florida, Tom has over 25 years of experience in branding and visual communications for the healthcare, medical, law, accounting, software, financial services and banking industries.