Maintaining an up-to-date business listing with Google is essential so that when people search for the products or services that your business sells, you can appear on the map. You want to have a correct address and phone number so that mobile searchers can easily find and/or call you. To check whether the ghost of an old business listing is already on Google, visit Google’s Find My Business page and search for your address or business name. If Google has a listing already, it will appear. If no listing is found, you will have the option to add your business. Google will walk you through the steps and once the listing has been approved, it will start appearing on Google’s maps.
Google + Page
A Google+ page works with your Google business listing but also sweetens the pot with additional information like business hours and an “about us” description. You can post updates that are relevant to your business and your audience to give your page more character. A Google+ page is critical when it comes to appearing in the search results because Google gives preference to their own pages over other social media business pages like Facebook. This SEO boost is the main reason why businesses elect to start and maintain Google+ pages, but it can also aid in efforts to build a social media following across various platforms.
Facebook Business Page
Facebook is as essential to a good local business strategy as candy corn is to Halloween. It’s the most popular social media platform, which means that if someone is going to look for your business on a social site, Facebook is most likely going to be where they start. Having a thriving Facebook page gives your business a voice, and also allows you maintain current business information. Aside from the typical business details, Facebook also lets you announce current promotions or sales, new arrivals, and other real-time business specifics. Facebook is also the perfect place to post changes to your typical routine (an early closing, a delayed opening, a special one-day offer, a low inventory warning, etc.) Searchers will be happy to be able to find these details on their own without having to call or come in to your location to find out about them.
Relevant Local Business Directories
Each industry has its own local directory that makes sense to join. Whether you are a service provider, restaurant, haunted house, or other local business, there are specialty directories for your type of business – both free and paid. Belonging to these is a great opportunity to get your business’s name in front of people who are looking for exactly what you have to offer. Do your research to determine which of these make the most sense to join. For paid directories, you’ll want to assess whether or not they’re worth the money to maintain your listing. Ask new customers where they heard about your business and keep track of which channels are driving the most traffic to your store and resulting in the most sales.
Now that you understand what makes up the bones of local SEO, put together a scary good strategy for this fall so that you can dominate the upcoming holiday season. All of the SEO work you do now will even pay off after the holidays are over – especially with mobile searching and shopping continually on the rise.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!