You already know that your customers are searching for you online. But do you know that it’s important for your business to be listed and accurate on sites beyond your own website? Get this: The average consumer visits 2.5 different online sources before deciding on a business. They’re doing their due diligence on the Web before taking that next step to your site or store.
So where should your business be listed?
The first step to attracting new customers is to make sure your business shows up on search engines like Google®, Yahoo!®, and Bing®. These days, this is where people usually go first to find local businesses and services. A great place to get started is to make sure your business has a Google Places™ page.
The other search engines, such as Yahoo and Bing, also have their own local listing pages, so check out those sites to learn about how to add your business to their directory. Businesses with these custom pages are more likely to show up higher in these search engines’ results. And that’s the goal, right?
Search directory sites
Remember when (if you’re younger than 25, probably not) you would look for a business by thumbing through pages and pages of alphabetized listings in a huge phone book? These days, consumers use the Web in a similar way. Sites like YP.com® (aka YellowPages.com) allow people to search through lists of businesses for a particular service or local market and get immediate results.
You want your business information to be among those results. If it doesn’t come up in a directory search, you can bet at least one of your competitors’ info will.
When looking for a new business to patronize, most people rely on recommendations and advice from friends and family. In the Internet Age, review sites come in a close second. Sites like Yelp® and TripAdvisor® provide a way for consumers to review and rate products and businesses. They help prospective customers hear what others have to say — and in doing so, influence their purchasing decisions.
Having a website isn’t enough to convert business these days — consumers want to hear what others have to say about you first.
What’s more, Google and other search engines take into account the quantity of reviews you have on sites across the Web when ranking your business. So, the more reviews you have, the higher you could appear in search engine results.
People are social. That’s why websites like Facebook® and Twitter® have become so popular. Using social media sites like these will help you stay relevant and allow customers to easily find and promote your business. With the emergence of these sites as leaders in the social sphere, not having a business profile or presence on these sites actually could be losing you business.
Customers want to see that your business is real, so make sure you integrate your social sites on your website. Having a link to your business’s Facebook or YouTube® page on your website makes you just a little more legit in your potential customers’ eyes.
And guess what? In addition to helping your business attract new customers, the more online business listings your websites is listed on, the better the chance you have of appearing higher — and more often — in search engine results.
It can be overwhelming to figure out where your business should be listed, so start out listing yourself on sites you think would be relevant for the type of services you provide.
So, how can you get your business on these sites?
Some people choose to manually enter in their business information on each individual website — but this can be time-consuming and costly, as most of these sites charge for this service and updates can take months to appear. Luckily, there are solutions (like GoDaddy’s Get Found service) that will take all of your information and publish it on dozens of top websites for you in a snap.
Sounds like a win-win situation, right?