Local Search Tips To Promote Your Business -  Vistage Executive Street Blog

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Local Search Tips To Promote Your Business

Many businesses struggle to find ways to promote their services and location online. Everyone wants to increase their link placement on other sites, improve ranking in search engines, and drive more traffic to their websites. Most businesses also have limited marketing budgets for online objectives, making this task even more difficult. For businesses that are looking for free and inexpensive solutions, I have put together this list to help your business increase online traffic and gain public awareness.

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“What are the top tips you would recommend to promote your business online for local search?” I get this question a lot. My response changes month to month, but this is what I have put together for 2011, and now I am finally going to share the secrets of getting your site promoted very quickly online using numerous free and low-cost methods.

For customers to find you online in today’s world, the below list is essential, not just optional. Once these items are completed, you need to follow up on each one. Check your ratings and make sure you update your specials to get the greatest ROI for your investment of time.

Google Places
This is by far one of the most important places to register your business. Google Places powers Google MapsGoogle SearchGoogle Hotpot and soon Google Promotions (Groupon competitor). I cannot stress how important this is. Google represents 66.6% of market share (comScore December 2010).

Facebook Places
Want to have your own business show up within Facebook Places? For companies that have a physical location, it makes sense to be included in Facebook Places in order to track the people who are stopping by your store, office or venue. It’s a quick process and allows you to promote your site via Facebook. This is essential as you will be able to reach out to 500 million users. Using Facebook Places will also allow you to promote your business to local users as they check-in.

Express Update USA
Ensure your business listing is accurate and complete with all those GPS devices, and on Yahoo, Bing, AOL, Ask and Google. Express Update is a service of Infogroup, the primary data provider to top search engines. According to their website, the data supplied to this service accounts for 97% of all search queries, 90% of in-car navigation systems and 90% of mobile devices. There is no better method for business owners to reach out to so many distribution networks than Infogroup. With 25% of online businesses listed inaccurately, this system will not only help you provide correct information about your business, it will attract customers to your location and, more importantly, bring them in. Another option would be to use Universal Business Listing. The cost are minimal but will worth the results.

Quora
This new tool is a continually-improving collection of questions and answers created, edited and organized by everyone using it. Quora has the power to connect to Tumblr, WordPress, Twitter and Facebook, and will create a great digital footprint for your business. If you’re looking at ways to become a subject-matter expert, and build traffic and leads, Quora just might be what you are looking for.

Backlinks
The number of backlinks to a site is an indication of the popularity or importance of the particular website to which it is linking. Backlinks are extremely important for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because search engines use them as one of many methods to decide whether a website is worthy of first-page results, or as I say, placement on “The Golden Page.” When finding backlinks, you should only use sources that have a high Google Page Rank and get high traffic. Having a few links from good quality sites versus thousands from low quality sites makes all the difference. Go for quality, not quantity.

Yahoo Local (USA)
This local system works much like Google Local. However, Yahoo Local offers a free basic listing system and enhanced listings. The free listing system will get you listed in Yahoo, but will not allow you to upload company logos, photos or gather reporting statistics. Yahoo Local tightly integrates with the Yahoo search engine and is highly recommend for all businesses. If your business is located in the UK or Ireland, you can use Infoserve.

Bing Local
As Bing grows with market share, it is important for your business to have a presence where your customers are located. Microsoft has created a free system called Bing Local. When you register with Bing Local you will be able to put in your address, phone, website, email address, hours, payment methods, up to 10 photos, and additional information about your business. With Windows and Internet Explorer (IE) being the dominant Operating System (OS) and browser, respectively, and with Windows Mobile 7 on the verge of deployment, Bing Local needs to be on your to-do list.

Email Signatures
Websites are using more and more social networking integrated tools, so it is extremely important to use an email signature whenever you post a response to a topic within your realm of expertise. Not only will this help build backlinks, but it will allow users to have easy access to your contact information wherever you leave a digital footprint. This also goes along with adding a great email signature on the bottom of every email. You can also add a call to action in your signature—just don’t overdo it.

Yelp
Yelp is a way to build exposure, monitor public opinion of your brand, and research what your local community wants from a business in your industry. Yelp is free to use, making it one of the most popular review sites on the web. There are currently 9 million local reviews in Yelp and 85% of them have a rating of 3 stars or more. Yelp is a great way for businesses to share information and build credibility in the local area.

LinkedIn
We all have heard of LinkedIn and, chances are, if you are reading this blog, I can almost guarantee you are part of LinkedIn. LinkedIn has well over 10 million users and, of those, half are comprised of unique business users. Chances are if you Google your name or company name, LinkedIn will show on the first page of the search results. Take the time to update your personal profile along with your business profile. If you are a Twitter user, connect Twitter to LinkedIn to help syndicate your news.

Press Releases
Is your company doing something that is newsworthy? More importantly, when you send out this newsworthy information online, are you using SEO keywords that may drive traffic to your site? Businesses should always submit press releases to companies like PRWeb.com and PRLeap.com. Be sure to use great headlines and teasers to help drive traffic and readership. Also, make sure you put a link to your site and your local address to help with localizing your content.

YellowPages.com
YellowPages.com
(AT&T Advertising Solutions) has a strong brand name and recognition in the United States. Many people still use YellowPages.com as a primary source to filter service-based companies and read reviews. They offer a few levels of listings for free, but you may want to read about their paid options as well. Many of our clients use this service to generate local traffic and it usually is one of the top 5 referrer sites.

When you’re finished, don’t stop!
Using the site promotion resources above is an ongoing process. Once you have made your initial submissions, check back monthly. You may find that some of your edits did not take or that you may have new information to add about your company. You may have to resubmit your site data to some of the items above. Most importantly, always be on the lookout for new sites that offer promotional opportunities. As I wrote this article, I was introduced to the new Google Hotpot. You never know what the future has in store for online promotions!

47 Responses

  1. Tom

    This is a great check list!

    I found it very helpful.

    I have never heard of some of these sites. I guess you don’t know what you don’t know.

    • Tom – with your landscaping business you should really go through this list. I guarantee you will get new leads by simply following the tips above. Focus on user reviews as research shows users buy based on local user reviews.

      Best of luck!

      • Pankaj Mathur

        Tom,

        Your position is understandable as there are many services out there that are offering so called placements and similar services with really no real performance.
        Infogroup’s Express Update (www.expressupdateusa.com) is free for small merchants like yourself. We cannot cover the whole ecosystem but we cover the top five search engines and major mobile and navigation applications with just one listing submissions.

        Pankaj Mathur
        Infogroup

  2. Tom

    This is a great check list!

    I found it very helpful.

    I have never heard of some of these sites. I guess you don’t know what you don’t know.

    • Tom – with your landscaping business you should really go through this list. I guarantee you will get new leads by simply following the tips above. Focus on user reviews as research shows users buy based on local user reviews.

      Best of luck!

      • Pankaj Mathur

        Tom,

        Your position is understandable as there are many services out there that are offering so called placements and similar services with really no real performance.
        Infogroup’s Express Update (www.expressupdateusa.com) is free for small merchants like yourself. We cannot cover the whole ecosystem but we cover the top five search engines and major mobile and navigation applications with just one listing submissions.

        Pankaj Mathur
        Infogroup

  3. Thanks for the mention!

    • No problem – you guys got a great product that has helped many of our clients. Keep up the great work!

  4. Thanks for the mention!

    • No problem – you guys got a great product that has helped many of our clients. Keep up the great work!

  5. I think the suggestion regarding Quora is especially good and typically over looked. Thanks!

    • The future of Quora is looking bright. I believe they are a big contender in for the future for SEO. Its also a great way to drive traffic to your site if you use great signatures.

  6. I think the suggestion regarding Quora is especially good and typically over looked. Thanks!

    • The future of Quora is looking bright. I believe they are a big contender in for the future for SEO. Its also a great way to drive traffic to your site if you use great signatures.

  7. This is an excellent article, and thanks for the mention of our http://www.UBL.org. The complexity here for most users is that to be fully covered they really need to be listed across all the major search engines, online yellow pages – now mobile apps, mapping sites, social networks and even 411 which is often overlooked. For example you need to add superpages.com (supermedia) and Yellowbook to this list – this is why UBL’s main method is to hit all the underlying databases so it gets to over 350 sites in one push. Users then need to be thinking about blog profiles and pushing video to YouTube and the other top video search platforms. But you certainly hit the main points here…

  8. This is an excellent article, and thanks for the mention of our http://www.UBL.org. The complexity here for most users is that to be fully covered they really need to be listed across all the major search engines, online yellow pages – now mobile apps, mapping sites, social networks and even 411 which is often overlooked. For example you need to add superpages.com (supermedia) and Yellowbook to this list – this is why UBL’s main method is to hit all the underlying databases so it gets to over 350 sites in one push. Users then need to be thinking about blog profiles and pushing video to YouTube and the other top video search platforms. But you certainly hit the main points here…

  9. There a lot of solutions on how to make your business enhance and attracts customers. One of these is promoting your business online. Through this marketing, you can have the customers and be able to facilitate on all the things regardless with your business. Social media can also be a plus factor that will help your business flourished.

  10. There a lot of solutions on how to make your business enhance and attracts customers. One of these is promoting your business online. Through this marketing, you can have the customers and be able to facilitate on all the things regardless with your business. Social media can also be a plus factor that will help your business flourished.

  11. Online businesses are very vast today. It is now easy to conduct and update your business’ status through the use of social networking sites. I even intend to use it for my upcoming business.

  12. Online businesses are very vast today. It is now easy to conduct and update your business’ status through the use of social networking sites. I even intend to use it for my upcoming business.

  13. Lori

    It should be pointed out that while setting up profiles in these directories using strong long tail keyword phrases goes a long way. Especially when Google has been know to take a description for a page from another source other than the meta description written. Another important directory not mentioned is DMOZ. This holds a lot of clout.

  14. Lori

    It should be pointed out that while setting up profiles in these directories using strong long tail keyword phrases goes a long way. Especially when Google has been know to take a description for a page from another source other than the meta description written. Another important directory not mentioned is DMOZ. This holds a lot of clout.

  15. Ted

    Also check out http://www.gorango.com as a great place to list your business. Their traffic is climbing rapidly.

  16. Ted

    Also check out http://www.gorango.com as a great place to list your business. Their traffic is climbing rapidly.

  17. Quora linked to this.
  18. We recently quoted a reply to a question on Quora.com on our finance blogfeed http://SinCityFinancier.posterous.com

  19. Steve Yeich

    The best practices described in the article are spot
    on.  In addition, Google Places listings need to be continually optimized with fresh content.  This is even more critical with the changes
    Google made this week to its Local search results page, which now shows the
    detailed information about the business in the right rail, including pictures, videos,
    reviews, etc.  To get first page ranking,
    and to get consumers’ attention, a business needs to fully utilize—and optimize—all
    their content in Google Places.  For
    businesses that want to outsource this continual optimization process, there
    are companies like Local Splash (Relevant Ads, Inc) that will do the ongoing
    optimization for a flat fee. 
    These companies will also handle the massive data management challenge
    that national brands/chains face—image a company with 1,000 locations that has
    to continually update, verify and optimize
    data for 1,000 locations on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Merchant Circle, Yelp, YouTube,
    SuperPages…you get the picture.

  20. Great article!