Thanks to the internet, it’s no longer necessary to open a store front to reach customers. It’s the first place 4 out of 5 consumers turn to when looking for a business or product information. So how do you ensure your web based business is easily found on the web? Here are the first steps to getting it listed.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
It’s no secret, day after day, year after year Google is the dominant player in the search engine arena. In 2016 there were an average of 8 billion searches per day on Google alone, making Google the first place you should list your business. Even without a physical address, you can reap the SEO benefits gained by having a Google My Business listing.
Google My Business is a completely free tool that allows you to manage how your business appears in Google searches. You can update your business name, hours, and place your business in the correct category. You can respond to reviews and offer coupons and promotions.
Here are the 4 easy steps to getting your home-based business on Google.
- Sign into your Google profile and click “manage location.”
- Go to “info” at the top of the page, and click the address section.
- In the address window, check yes on “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their locations.”
- You’ll then be prompted to enter your service area, and your street address will be hidden from the public.
One note: Do NOT select the “I serve customers at my business address” option if you want to keep your address private. (Manta)
Your listing can be key to boosting your SEO and getting found online. Here are a few ideas that can help you rank higher in the search results through your Google My Business listing:
- Add pictures – Photos can make a huge difference, in fact up to 35% more clicks according to Google. People are visual learners and are drawn to images. You can simply add pictures of yourself – the CEO – and/or some of your products, happy customers or other related images.
- Introduce Yourself/Business – Google My Business has an option for you to describe your business. Take your time and really connect to your audience with your intro. You can even include links and we recommend using the keywords you’ve used when setting up your website.
- Get Reviews – 91% of consumers online read reviews for businesses, and 84% trust them just as much as a personal recommendation (Local Consumer Review Survey) Ask your customers to review your products/services & be sure to respond. A quick thank you for a positive review can go a long way, and responding to negative reviews can become an opportunity to improve your business and have a positive outcome with new visitors.
After Google, list your business on the second and third most popular search engines:
- Bing – The default search engine to all Microsoft desktop & mobile devices. Your listing on Bing will be free, allows for photos, videos and links as well. You will be asked for your address for verification purposes, but you will have the option to hide it from public view.
- Yahoo (outsourced to Yext). There are several paid plan options that will be presented to you, but by choosing the “claim your business” option, you will be able to complete a free business listing. Again an address will be required, but hidden from the public.
Remember to keep all your business information identical when posting across sites to create fluidity for your online presence. While both these search engines will require a valid address for validation purposes, you will have the option to hide the address from the public. There will be paid plan options available (and promoted to you), but don’t worry you can always choose the free option with both search engines to get listed.
THIRD PARTY SITE LISTINGS
Now that you’ve gotten the search engines out of the way, the next angle to attack is third party sites. The more sites you are listed on, and therefore the more content that is out there on world wide web, will continue to tremendously help in increasing your SEO on Google.
- Yelp – With over 140 million active users each month (and growing) it’s worth paying attention to Yelp. In addition to being the number one source of consumer influential reviews, Yelp also gives you the ability to interact with customers via direct or public messages. As Yelp continues to be a dominant… it’s continues to have a huge influence on local search engine results.
- Merchant Circle – Merchant Circle is a social networking site for businesses and consumers, and another great place to get listed for free. With the ability to place (paid for) ads, share your blog and interact with customers you will create another layer of visibility to your customers.
- Yellow Pages – Just like the big yellow phone book back in the day, this site offers free a free listing for your business information, just like you’d see in the phone book.
- Manta – One of our personal favorite sites that is dedicated to small businesses, Manta will verify your business information is listed on sites correctly. There are many options for paid services as well, but you can start with getting listed.
- CitySearch – You might be surprised to find your online business show up on CitySearch, and it may even have your address listed. If so, you can email them and request your address be removed. Otherwise, this free site partners with sites like Expedia and MerchantCircle to optimize their listings with photos and other media.