The online search for businesses is often clouded with information technologies of all types. Businesses are inundated with calls, emails, etc. from online search options and listing options that are often ineffective, expensive, and unnecessary. I was recently able to attend a PubCon conference on this topic and speak to several leaders in the field offering my suggestions. In this conference the topics included the ongoing integration of Google Places and Google Plus. Here is a bullet list of topics, solutions, and suggestions that came from those discussions:
- This may sound “retro”; however, having a good old fashion land line still offers the best indication of legitimacy in terms of business listings.
- Although reviews and fake review “scams” still exist—promoting reviews in Google places and on Google plus is still advantageous to your business listings.
- Focused efforts are vital. Finding which media forms (Mobile, etc.) work best and which keywords produce more results is where you should narrow your focus—like a laser beam.
- Using Yelp as a tool for reviews is a great option. Yelp has become a staunch competitor with Google and as shown to produce listing results that do in fact produce and are worthy of spending time developing.
- In your local listings data, use the same information you would use on a business card or on your sign outside your establishment (if you have a physical location). Keyword stuffing and other forms of information to simply generate hits is will ultimately hurt your rankings and cloud your brand name. Also, use your USPS address in these listings. It is also vital to correct and consolidate old listings and information about your business (search the web for all prior listings information and change it or update it).
- Using local numbers rather than toll free numbers is more trustworthy to local clients. Local businesses need help in this market like never before. If you are an SEO expert or online marketing/ social media professional the opportunities are ripe in the current economy.
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