Getting found online is no longer a luxury; it’s critical to your success as a business owner or entrepreneur.
There are billions of online searches taking place every day which will either help you or hurt you. Simply put, you will either be seen by people or get lost in all of the traffic.
Let’s face it…creating an online presence can be a daunting task – you have to build a website, create online listings, advertisements, social media, email marketing and keeping up can seem impossible.
Truth be told……you don’t have to do it all in order to have great visibility by a large on-line audience. However, you do need to ensure what you are doing is correct and consistent. Many listings are aggregated across the web so if you make a mistake creating one listing, it could cascade to others that you may need to fix at a later date. A few things to consider when working on your online presence:
1. Creating consistent citations on the web.
Wrong information can lead your business into an online death trap. Your online citations consist of your NAP (name, address, phone number) website, as well as the description of your business and services you provide.
If you’ve started using local directories to advertise your business, such as YellowPages, Manta, and CitySearch you will soon realize there a lot to keep up with. They are also a huge factor for SEO and can boost your search ranking immensely.
To verify your online listings, you can simply do a Google search for your business name. If it seems you have many listings with incorrect information you may want to use a service like Yext or Moz to correct your listings. I’m not an affiliate of either of these programs, I just know they both do a great job of correcting your info across the web. The service we use on a regular basis for our customers is Moz Local. It’s recommended you have a Google My Business Setup prior to searching your business as this tool uses the same info to crawl the web to check on your business citations.
Many listing services automatically update your listings to match whatever they can find on Google. This leads to many incorrect listings across the internet and causes confusion between businesses and their potential customers.
When you use Yelp or Moz, you can update all of your listings across the internet at once; almost instantly. You just give these services your correct information and the service makes sure all listings have your business correctly listed.
2. Google My Business is a necessity
Speaking of listings, Google My Business is a necessity when it comes to creating your listings. If you’re a Google user, which is likely according to statistics, you may have noticed when you Google a business or type of business in a certain area you get a sidebar with a business name, contact information, hours, website link and map.
These are not paid advertisements and are all a part of Google trying to make its search engine a better experience for its millions of users and businesses.
When you sign up for Google My Business, which is completely free, you open the door to be featured on Google when someone is searching for your business or a type of business in your location. For example, if someone searches for “landscaping” in your local area and you provide that service, you will show up on the map and on the top of the search engine without paid advertisement. This is free organic search your business can capitalize on right away.
3. Your website is your home base
No matter what listings or social media you use, your website is your home base. All conversion happens here. Every listing and profile you have should link back to your website. This goes for online and offline – It should even be on print materials such as decals and business cards.
Your goal is to find means of getting traffic to your website. If your website is disorganized, slow, outdated or not user-friendly, people will find another website to get information from and most likely work with another business.
If you’re going to invest money anywhere online, it needs to be for your website. People can easily spot a business that didn’t invest any money or time on making a good impression. People see many websites every day and they can easily spot a business that didn’t invest any money or time on making a good impression.
4. Spend your social media time wisely
Social media, like the internet as a whole, can easily be a time waster or a business saver.
Take time to get to know the platforms you are considering spending your time on. Try to focus on the platform that best serves your target market. If your demographic is a younger demographic, Instagram may be your best bet. If you primarily work with professionals and business owners, then Linkedin is the place for you. Many businesses spend hours every week or hundreds of dollars every month, on platforms that don’t work well for their business or that they use incorrectly.
The best thing you can do when it comes to online marketing is research. Take a look at how similar businesses are using different platforms and what types of results they are getting across each platform.
By doing this, you can see which platforms are producing results for your industry and what people are doing to get results within each platform.
5. Utilize forums around your niche
Forums are very niched down places on the Internet where people are asking questions and looking for support. Try to create value and help others out in forums. Searching for questions and using the searches within the platform to narrow down posts in the last month or week, can give you places to go where you can provide knowledge to others.
Once you find forums with frequent traffic from your ideal audience, checking in every so often to provide content and answers is a great way to increase visibility and contacts. I recently did business with someone just because that person was the expert in a forum.
When you use these online visibility resources, you can quickly grow your business by increasing visibility.
Which of these recommendations will you utilize this week? Remember to Take Action every day and you will see results over time!
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