Here at Holyoke Marketing Company we understand the importance of keeping your business in the limelight of the internet. As more and more people turn away from the yellow pages and newspapers to find a local business that meets their needs the more they reach for their smart phones and computers and explore search engines. It used to just be essential to get your business listed in the local directory now you have to be listed online too. Instead of wasting your time and money with traditional marketing techniques—start claiming your space in the highest ranking search engine sites: Google Places, Bing, Facebook, and Yelp. Keeping your business active and engaged in the online community will make it easier for your customers to find your business when they need it.
Google is the number one search engine. So it’s perhaps most important to make sure you’re listed correctly here. To claim your business’s spot here, simply Google “Google Places” and it will lead you down the steps to filling out the form and claiming your space. It’s really important when you start with Google to have your NAP or NAPW in order. (Name, Address, Phone number and sometimes your Website). What you post for Google Places will be where your business is listed on Google Maps. It should be accurate and the same across all your media pages. Otherwise, how else are they going to find you? Like with Yelp, it’s important to have reviews. The algorithms Google uses will favor websites with more reviews and put them higher up in the rankings, which means more views and traffic for you. Encourage your customers to leave you reviews, ask when they check out or in follow up emails. It doesn’t take long for them to leave a review, all it takes is a friendly smile and for you to ask.
Because it’s not Google you’ll have to do your Bing listing separately, but not any less accurately. Bing accounts for nearly a third of online searches, so it’s a fair competitor to Google. In fact, Bing Places has a listing process that seems to be even more user friendly than Google’s. Claiming your listing on both formats should be a top priority. There is absolutely no reason to neglect a good portion of your potential customers just because they prefer Bing to Google. Bing differs from Google in a variety of ways in regards to its policies on SEO. Bing is so notoriously pro SEO it has its own web-tools to help guide you to the most organic web visits possible. Head over to Bing and their business pages and discover the depth of resources and encouragement they offer.
Yahoo! used to be the top player in search engines, now it’s fallen to the 3rd top site behind Google and Bing. Even though it hasn’t gone the way of “Ask Jeeves” just yet we’re not going to discuss how to rank with Yahoo. That’s mostly because since 2010 Yahoo! has been powered by Bing, so the things you do on Bing will equally affect your rankings on Yahoo.
Facebook is one of the best ways to keep your customer base engaged with your business. Setting up your business profile is simple, but crucial. It’s a great way to substitute a full scale business website if you’re not tech savvy enough to design your own just yet. Your Facebook page should have a relevant profile picture and cover photo, as well as having your NAP and hours of operation. Facebook’s business pages are set up to optimize the exposure of these elements, and updating it regularly with details of what your business is doing will help reassure your customers that the information is accurate. With Facebook it’s also important to make sure there’s a balance in your content to keep your follower’s engaged. Bounce back and forth between posts about your business and your services to interesting and engaging sidebars that are maybe only tangent to your business but your customers would find interesting as well. For example, if you own a pet grooming business, your posts should bounce back and forth between information on your business and projects to cute pictures of puppies, and information related to pets in general.
Yelp is one of those unique websites that serves both as a search engine for businesses and helps boost your ranking in other engines. On your Google and Bing business pages people can review and rate your business the, but Yelp is still the dominate player with reviews. The dozens of business pages that go unclaimed do nothing to help their own business. Yelp is a great place for customers because of the reviews portion of the page. Keeping your Yelp relevant is as easy as keeping your Facebook relevant. Post pictures, respond to reviews, and make sure your NAP is prominently displayed so people can find you. In the case of Yelp, encourage your customers to get online and leave you a review, the more people talking about you the more important your pages are going to seem to the algorithms that govern the ranking system. And the more positive reviews the more likely customers are to follow up with your business over others. Also, don’t skimp out in the pictures section. Studies have shown that if your page has accurate pictures it’s going to attract more attention and traffic to your page and business.
This is a lot, especially when you’re just starting up and looking to build your online footprint for the first time. There is no need to do this alone. Let us help you–sign up for our email list to get more articles like this to help guide you through this process. Or take a step further and set up a meeting with us and let us “do it all” for you. When it comes to building your web footprint we know what to do. Share this article on your social media to encourage other businesses to follow these tips and grow their businesses, or leave a comment letting us know if we’ve helped you or what other information you’re looking to leverage into increased sales and traffic!
Jason graduated with an MBA from American International College located in Springfield, MA. Currently Jason lives in South Hadley, MA and also works as the Marketing Coordinator for Silver Screen Design.