November 22, 2017
Expand Your Online Presence.
By Maureen McCabe
What’s the number one question business owners have asked me for over ten years: “What can I do to be #1 on Google or at least on page 1?”
The second one is, “What can I do myself as I can’t afford to pay a SEO, Digital Marketing Agency – they all want a one-year contract.”
My top two tips are:
- Create a Google Local Business Page.
The map feature is fantastic for local search. Google has just started rolling out a new feature that enables users to ask questions through the map listing. When a user asks a question, Google will notify the business owner; you can choose to answer it, share frequent queries and responses, or just respond to the user. Users will be notified when their question receives a response.
The 2017 American Customer Satisfaction Index report evaluated how users felt about internet social media companies. Based on Google’s enhancements to its local page made in 2017, I was not shocked that they scored the highest at 81 percent satisfaction vs. seventh place finisher, Facebook with 62 percent.
- Take Action by Starting with Local SEO.
Submit your company information to various free online directory websites. Sometimes it’s referred to as local link building by SEO gurus (of which we are not one; we are a boutique marketing agency that works exclusively with small business owners.)
At the end of this article are links to five blogs about online directories. For example, learn why you should create a Bing local business page and how it helps with your Google ranking!
Local Link Building for NAP (Name, Address, Phone number)
Make it easy for Google. The NAP must be consistent, for example:
- Suite 123 – 10 Main St, vs. 123-10 Main St. vs. 10 Main St, Suite 123 vs. 10 Main St, Unit 123.
Online Directories Often Ask for Similar Information
Five years ago, when I first started creating online directories to boost my own brand, I typed the information requested into every field for each directory listing. Then I had an ah-ha moment; I created a local SEO template which I update on a regular basis. The following is what I share with clients:
Office Role: Head Office or not applicable
Business Name: Include Inc/Ltd for increased credibility
Business Owner Name:
Business Owner Job Title:
Local Phone Number:
Toll-free Number: Most Canadians include the 1-800 whereas most Americans don’t; regardless, be consistent.
Additional Phone Number: Seldom an option
- TIP: Don’t use your personal one – a general one such as the one used on your website.
Fax: Unless you are a doctor, pharmacist or it’s critical to your business to receive faxes, leave this field blank.
Business Category: i.e., Business Services, Home Renovations
- You can list priority services/products.
- Many directories have a limited number of options to choose from such as Yelp, Facebook, Google Plus, etc.
- TIP: Use Google’s free keyword research tool.
Payment Methods: Cash, cheque/check, e-transfer, wire transfer, PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Discover
Short Description: 120 characters
Longer description: 300 characters
Hours of Operation:
- Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Usually the time zone is not an option.)
- Closed: Saturday-Sunday
- Evenings: – by appointment only.
Numbers of Workers: 1, 2-10, xx (If you have only one employee, it’s best to leave this blank.)
Special Offers: Options typically are: discount, promotion, none. A free consultation or ebook is an offer.
Revenue: I recommend leaving this field blank.
Year Established: 1981 (This can be the year you were founded versus the year that you were incorporated)
Awards/Recognition: Seldom an option
Media Interview: Seldom an option
Social Media Profiles:
- TIP: Include in your template, a hyperlink for each profile that you have set up. The most popular ones are: Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus/G+, and LinkedIn Company page.
- Few directories let you add links such as: Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat etc. Add these and other profiles to your template from the get-go – when they are an option, you have them.
Keep your images handy!
- All images must be either uploaded as a low-resolution jpeg or png. You can’t upload GIF, PDF or vector files.
- Business Logo: You should have it in multiple sizes.
- Other Images: you can upload your own photos, business photos (exterior, interior), types of products/equipment, logos of suppliers/partners, customers, etc. The options are endless.
Our final tips are:
- Maximize your time by copying the above into a Word document and then adding your business information. Click here to download the PDF.
- If you have more than one location, create a listing for each one. Duplicate your template and update only the fields that are different.
- For easy reference keep all of your images and template(s) in one folder.
- Track all social media profiles and directory listings that you create in an Excel sheet.
What is your strategy to attract more customers? Get an edge over the competition with a Marketing Action Roadmap™. Contact us to learn more.
For more information about business directory listings, check out these posts:
Why You Should Set Up a Bing Local Listing Page
How to Avoid Business Directory Scams & More Free Directory Listings
Tips for Submitting Your Listing to Online Business Directories
Toronto Business Directory Guide for Small Businesses
Free Canadian Business Directory Guide
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