It's not always easy to find time in our busy lives to stop and take a look at our digital presence, but it's crucial if we rely on the Internet for business leads. Here are some things you can do right now on your own. And, of course, we are always here to help if you need it.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
Google My Business is a separate listing mechanism in Google search results created specifically for local businesses. It allows business owners to control how their business appears on Google maps and also in organic search results (the "box" that appears on the right side of the page). This can be a hugely powerful tool for optimizing your search engine presence so it's worth taking the time to take control of it. PLEASE NOTE, however, that Google is currently experiencing delays in updating customers' Google My Business listing info. You can still log in and make changes, but all changes are subject to review. Normally, they are reviewed within a couple of days. Currently, everything is on hold. You should still use this time to update your listing so that it's ready once Google catches up. Click here for Google My Business instructions.
OTHER ENGINES & DIRECTORIES
Even though Google is indeed king, there are other engines and directories that you should consider adding yourself too. There are also A LOT that you shouldn't waste your time with. This is also industry-specific. If you see your competitors in a particular directory that comes up a lot in searches for your industry, consider adding yourself there. Angie's List is the perfect example for contractors. Here are a few of the more important ones.
Bing - Similar to Google My Business, you should set up a Bing account through their Bing Places for Business section. Even though they pale in comparison to Google's usage, they are still the default browser for Internet Explorer and Edge.
Yelp - If you are a local business, you should be on Yelp, one of the top review sites. They offer simple step-by-step instructions for setting up your listing.
Yellow Pages - Yep, they still exist and not in the big yellow book format. Their directory is actually quite relevant to search engines. They offer a free listing with a paid option that will push you to the top of their list in your category. Our opinion is that a paid listing is not worth it with YP. It would make more sense to put that money into ways to get your own website listing higher in the engines, versus in YP. A WORD OF CAUTION - once you sign up for a free listing, YP sales reps WILL harass you about upgrading to their paid listing. Hey - their trying to stay in business just like the rest of us...
When is the last time you updated the copy on your website? This is the perfect time to sit down and audit your content. Make sure your copy is clear, concise and free of grammatical or spelling errors. Make sure your most important information is at the top, since users are always in a hurry and won't necessarily read through the whole page. Make sure you are using relevant keywords throughout your copy to encourage good organic search engine ranking. Do you show testimonials on your website? If so, make sure you have your latest ones there as well.
Here's something some of us BARELY have time for when we're in our usual routine. If you have some extra time, use the opportunity to establish or update your social media accounts. At this time of crisis for us all, don't be posting sales-pitchy messages. This is a time of sensitivity. Post thoughtful sentiments and positive thoughts for your viewers.
Do you ask your customers for reviews? If not, this is a great time to do so since a lot of them are stuck at home and are spending most of their time online. Click here to learn how to manage reviews.