Is your business on the map? Last year Google noted that nearly half of all searches from mobile devices have local intent. More people are searching for products and services close to their current location, and it’s no wonder Google is favoring local results in their search results. When your business is visible to this increasing online demand, customers can get directions to your store, customers are more willing to buy, and your reputation thrives.
As a business owner, you ought to ask yourself a few questions. Can my potential customers easily find my location online? Which maps source is most important to optimize? What is our plan of action to attract customers through local online results?
Are you on the map?
When you google your business name within your location, do you show up in the maps section? How do you expect people to get directions to your location? If you are nowhere in the list, then not only are you not on the map, you’re missing a big portion of your audience. If you have a local business, getting your correct information published shows that you are serious about meeting your customers’ needs. With a maps presence, you can manage your online reputation and win the business of your customers.
Which map is best?
There are many places to publish your business information on the web. Google Maps, now ‘Google+ Local’ is the obvious big player, so start there. It is free to optimize a listing and it gives you a way to manage your reputation by interacting with customers.
In addition to getting on Google, being accessible to Apple users is also important. Apple has introduced iOS 6, the mobile operating system available on all newer Apple devices. With this update, they introduced their maps product which aggregates information from Yelp.com. Since Apple software dominates the mobile device market share, it’s critical that you now have a presence on Yelp. The New York Times reports that Google won’t have a Google Maps App finished for at least a few months, so creating a Yelp listing is a really good idea.
All things considered, you should create business listings everywhere you can, in order to increase your online presence:
- Google+ Local
- Yahoo! Local
- Bing Local
- Better Business Bureau
Plan of Action
Put as much information about the business as possible in the listing. Ensure that all your information is exact and consistent across all sources. Fully categorize your listing, include niche details, and include witty selling points. You can designate people in your company that will manage the online presence by positively responding to poor reviews and open an avenue for your customers’ feedback. Positive reviews are a big selling point that attract new customers.
After you utilize all the major search engine maps, start optimizing listings in your market niche e.g. contractors should have an AngiesList profile, etc. Plan to add at least one directory citation or business listing per week. You can hire a company like OrangeSoda to optimize your major listings and create valuable citations in the best locations. With consistent information in all the right places, your business will start showing in search results.
When customers start leaving great reviews online about your excellent service, you know you’re well on your way to ‘being on the map’ as the best business in your area.