|Susan Solovic, The Small Business Expert is an award-winning entrepreneur, an attorney, a New York Times best-selling author, a media personality and a highly sought after keynote speaker.|
Free Tools To Optimize Your All-Important Local Listings
A funny thing is happening as Internet speeds get faster and faster – users are getting less and less patient.
I think this is even more dramatic in the mobile world, because when people are using their smartphones for information while they’re out in the community, they are often trying to get somewhere or accomplish something in real time. In other words, they aren’t sitting in front of their desktop computers the evening before, putting together plans for the following day.
Understanding and appreciating this fact is crucial for local small businesses. The modern adage, “You snooze, you lose,” definitely applies in mobile computing/marketing.
Having a mobile-friendly website is mandatory, but it takes more than that to be sure your business is fully “present” and quickly accessible in the mobile computing world. Another important element of your mobile marketing and mobile SEO (search engine optimization) is your accurate presence in the many sites specializing in local listings.
Several companies are competing for your business in the areas of listing your business, keeping it updated and accurate, and providing other related services. Some offer a few basic tools for free; then prices go up as you buy more bells and whistles. I’ll touch on these points and give you links in a moment, but first I wanted to introduce you to a very important free tool provided by SEO Bandwagon and Yext.
Enter your business name, address, and telephone number in this tool at SEO Bandwagon and you’ll quickly get a report that summarizes information about your business that is found on more than 60 sites that feature local listings. There’s a good chance you’ll discover than many include basic location and contact information errors. These can be disastrous for your small business. The report, however, does not cover other critical elements, such as the hours you are open for business.
I just did a quick search using the address and phone number for a small investment firm I know and there were several address and phone number errors. Further, a handful of the listing sites had no information for the business at all.
If you have the time, you can deal with getting your local listings done correctly yourself. You can take the campaign further with many levels of paid services. At the bottom of this, I have a short list of companies that specialize in this area. Some have basic services available at no cost.
However, if you haven’t already claimed your local listing on Google, this is a mandatory first step. Head over to this page on Google to input your up-to-date and correct information. You’ll have the opportunity to upload pictures and add more details, so be prepared with graphics and information that will help market your business.
With that out of the way, explore the following list of service providers that will help you get all the other non-Google local listings lined up properly for you:
When one of today’s increasingly impatient mobile searchers is out looking for a business in your niche in your neighborhood, if you’ve taken care of all the details I’ve outlined here, you’ll have a great chance at landing a new customer.