Get Your Website Listed
How To Promote Your Local Business, Part 2
In the last post, we went over the importance of defining your audience, finding where they are online, and how to approach your target audience with quality, helpful content. While engaging your audience is important, making sure your business can be found online is equally so.
By listing your website through different channels online not only do you provide opportunities for your audience find you, you also alert search engines about your business which allows them to index and rank your pages. This is one of the main ways your pages will get better rankings in search engines. This combination of direct traffic from being listed online and the benefits it provides from search engines means more visitors and sales from your digital marketing efforts.
There are many different resources available online to list your website, but here are a few of the essentials:
These days, keeping your web site listed is much easier - so there's little excuse.
Use Listing Services
Listing services like Google Places are very important for your business for a few reasons. Being listed on listing services allows you to appear on services such as Google Maps, and higher up in the Google search engine rankings which is a quick way to generate new traffic. Just as important is the fact that listing services allow you to control the message of your business. The major search engines also give these sites a lot of authority. This means that they place more trust and importance in links that can be found here, it's one way to verify that your business is genuine.
Your business is probably already listed online, but all of the information may not be accurate - keeping an accurate and up-to-date Name, Address and Phone Number across all services is very important. Google and other major search engines can penalise you for having incomplete or inconsistent information. Make sure you list your Name, Address and Phone Number in the same format in all of the listings. If you use "Jack Webster Web Design" in one listing, don't use "JW Web Design Stafford" in another. Same goes for the phone number; if it is 01785 123456 in one place - make sure it is never listed as 0178 512 3456.
Some of the most important listing services to check you have up-to-date include:
- Google Places – Google Places is the most important local listing service available. Tied directly to Google’s search engine, being listed in Google Places allows you to quickly and easily appear on local search results as well as Google Maps.
- Yahoo! Local – Very similar to Google Places but used for Yahoo and Yahoo maps.
Yell.com – Yell.com is one of the most popular websites for local business listings and reviews. Being on sites like this allows you to find out what customers are saying about you, and have your business listed on a site that receives millions of page views every day.
There will be other important listing sites depending on your industry and location.
Take Advantage Of Social Media
We live in a world where users are connect more than ever and word of mouth spreads in a way we have never seen before. Being on social media allows you to directly place yourself in the conversation with your customers. Not only does social media allow you to open a direct line of communication with your target audience, it gives you the chance to distribute your content to the people who want to see it and gives them a chance to share it with others. There is evidence to suggest that customers are often more open to approaching a business through social media than directly through their website - and as some of the conversations can be public, it gives you a chance to show off your great customer service.
Some of the social media platforms you need to take advantage of include:
- Facebook – Facebook is possibly the most popular and powerful social media platform for a small business. With over 800 million active users on the website every day, Facebook is the perfect place to find new users, promote your content, and generate new views to your website.
- Twitter – Twitter is a platform that is often underutilised by local businesses but can provide a tremendous boost to sales and reputation if used correctly. Twitter is a great way for transparent communication with current and prospective customers, works as a great tool for customer service, and gives you the ability to determine trends in your market instantly.
- YouTube – Video content continues to be consumed at a faster rate every year, especially on mobile phones and tablets. YouTube is a service offered by Google which means having videos is a great way to increase your ranking in search engines, but quality and helpful videos are also a great addition to any type of content marketing strategy.
- Find Your Audience – As we discussed in the previous post, determining where your audience is will help you create the perfect marketing strategy. Finding lesser known social media sites that suit your business is important. If you own a clothing company, for example, Instagram is a great platform for sharing images of your clothes. Pinterest is a great platform for designers and hobbyists and works perfectly for sharing DIY guides.
Don't spread yourself too thin. It is good to cover as much social media as possible - but only if you have time to do it well. If not, focus on the most relevant sites.
Get Submitted To Search Engines
It is one thing to have great content, a great product, or the best service in your industry, but if no one knows about it, your business may struggle. Taking a proactive approach to getting your website and content placed in search engines can help you rank faster which means a higher chance of being seen online.
Each major search engine has it's own tools to do this. For Google, I recommend using Google Webmaster Tools (Search Console) where you can submit an XML sitemap of your site. This is a file that contains an index of every page on your site, and is a good way to get Google to index your site quickly.
Remember, though, that even though Google holds the largest share of online searches (and as such should receive the lion's share of your optimisation efforts), other search engines should not be ignored. You want to make sure you are submitting your website and content to Bing, Yahoo, and others as well.
Directories Are Still Important
Internet directories were very popular in the early 2000's, but began to lose steam as marketers began to focus on social media and other aspects of digital marketing. That doesn’t mean web directories are no longer important or do not provide value. In fact, web directories are a great way to get your website seen and generate direct traffic, especially as a small business owner.
When finding online directories to submit your business to, the key is relevance. If you own a pub in Stafford, you are probably wasting your time trying to list your business in a directory designed for pet services in Edinburgh. Make sure the directories you are listing your business in are in a related niche and are as close to your locale are as possible. I won't include any of these directories here, as there are literally thousands - some free, some paid. I will say that I have yet to encounter anyone who has had much success with paid directories of this type - but please do get in touch if you have!
There are also paid services that will submit you to some of the more important contemporary directories, such as Moz Local or Whitespark. These are often USA-Based (and can be fairly expensive), so often using a Stafford SEO Company can be more effective, and better value for money.
Want assistance getting your business online? I can help.
Between finding directories, submitting links to various search engines, setting up and maintaining social media accounts, and everything else required to maintain an online presence, it can be very time consuming - and you have to ensure that your web presence is kept up-to-date and current across all the sites. If you simply don’t have the time or need help with your digital marketing efforts, then please, get in touch with me by clicking here or give me a call on 0845 467 5659.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you would like to know when I write more articles like this, then enter your e-mail address below, and I will let you know whenever there is a new article available.
More in this series
- Part 5 - Monitor Your Marketing
- Part 6 - Have A Great Website
- Part 4 - Create Valuable Content
- Part 3 - Use Social Media
- Part 2 - Get Your Website Listed
- Part 1 - Learn Your Audience