LAST MONTH we looked at optimizing your website so that customers can find you in online searches. But there’s more to visibility than on-site Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This month we’ll look at
off-site digital presence management.
Perhaps the most important off-site SEO strategy—particularly for location-based businesses—is pushing out your business information to search engines and claiming listings on business directory sites. In addition to the big guns—Google, Yahoo, Bing, White Pages, Facebook, Foursquare, Yelp, MapQuest—there are hundreds of smaller search engines and listing sites that contribute to your visibility. Although they’re not as widely used for conducting searches, your presence there helps with rankings on the top search engines. Google and the others consider links to your site and citations—mention of your business on reputable websites—to determine whether and how high you appear in search results.
Consistency is key. In claiming your business listings, it’s critical to use the same information everywhere. That starts with your name. If you’re Susie’s Shoes in one place and Susie’s Sassy Shoes in another, the search engines see that as two separate businesses, and you lose out in rankings. The same goes for address and phone number. Most listings also include a business description, which should contain the same keywords you chose for on-site optimization.
Sounds hard? It can be time-consuming to claim listings manually, but it’s doable—at least for the major ones. Fortunately, there are also automated tools and services that can do the heavy lifting for you. We use a platform that automatically pushes our business information to 200+ sites. Through the listing distribution platform, we can include photos and special offers, manage social profiles and monitor online reviews. It automatically suppresses duplicate or incorrect listings to maintain that all-important consistency.
Whether you do it yourself or subscribe to a service, managing your online presence is a surefire way to drive traffic to your site.
Laura Tobin is the Vice President of Gallinghouse Marketing + Creative. She is a 25+ year veteran of the ad industry with regional and national experience in marketing. Gallinghouse is located at 409 W. 21st Ave., Covington. For more information call 985-893-7631 or visit gallinghouse.com