Can buyers easily find your local business online?

in Search Engine Marketing

Do you operate a local business with a physical location? If so, try this quick check to see whether people are finding your business online – go to your favorite search engine (e.g. Google) and enter the category and location of your business (e.g. optician concord CA) and check whether your business appears in the local business results like this:
Google local business results

The reason these businesses appear on the Google map with a listing alongside, is that someone in each of those businesses added their information to the Google Local Business Center listing service. Clicking on a listing shows additional information about that business: Pacific North Optical local business listing

There is no cost to list your business with Google and several other local listing and search services – just register and provide the required information.

Did you find your business? This is how the majority of people look for local businesses, services and products online. If you’re not listed, you won’t be found and you’re missing a significant opportunity to market your businesses and reach prospective buyers. It takes less than 30 minutes to register and submit a local listing – go ahead and do it. If your business is listed, is the information complete and accurate?

According to the TMPDM/comScore – Local Search Study, the most important information search users look for are Phone Number, Address, Hours of Operation, Website link, Driving directions, Maps, Email address, Distance to the business, and Methods of payment accepted. Additional information users look for mentioned in the survey are Promos/online discounts, Consumer ratings/reviews, Profile, Fax number, and Printable coupons.

Provide complete information in a succinct manner for easy reading and understanding by Internet users who want to find answers and best options quickly. Use the correct or best fit category to list your business – don’t try to list your business in other categories, you’ll diminish the effectiveness of your listing. Make sure that the map location provided by the listing or search engine service is correct – if not; make the corrections for your listing.

The following are some popular local search and listing services to consider:

All the above local search and listing services offer no cost listings and some offer additional services for a fee.

How to use this information to benefit your business

  • If you operate a local business with a physical location you should list your business in local search and listing services.
  • Start with the 9 services listed above.  There are hundreds of listing and directory services available.  Some have specialty focus such as an industry or country.  You can find these listing and directory services via search.
  • This is no cost Internet marketing for your business – all it costs is a bit of time. Once you have one listing, it’s easy to replicate for other listings.
  • Start with the no cost listings and track effectiveness of each listing. Ask customers who come into your store where they found the information about your business.
  • Each listing / search engine service has its own requirements but most are similar. Make sure you follow the requirements for each service.
  • Provide consistent information across all listing / search engine services so buyers get the same information regardless of which service they used to find your business.
  • Check your listings regularly for comments, ratings and reviews. Review the Managing your online reputation article for guidelines on how to handle negative comments.
  • Update and Maintain your listings on a regular basis – at least every 3 months. Ensure that the information is current and accurate.
  • Several of the listing / search engine services have capabilities to offer online coupons. Consider using coupons as a means to attract customers if it’s appropriate for your business.
  • You don’t need a website to list your business with some of these local search and listing services.  Each listing is like a micro-website for your business.

Copyright © 2009 Ingistics LLC and Marketance™

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