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Get to the Top! Tips for Making your Business Web Site More Prominent in an Online Search

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Get to the Top! Tips for Making your Business Web Site More Prominent in an Online Search

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: August 10, 2010 Updated: July 14, 2011

The last few years has largely seen the demise of the published edition of the Yellow Pages (mine goes straight into the recycling bin), and the growth of Internet-based search tools.

This is good news for small business owners -- if you can make your business listing stand out from the crowd.

But, before you rush out to hire a search engine optimization consultant, consider these tips for making sure your small business is prominent in an online search.

Add your Business to Local Listings

 

Most popular online business listings now allow you to create a free profile or listing that will help promote your business on the Web. These include Google Places*, YP.com*, Yelp.com*, Yahoo Local*, SuperPages.com*, and so on. Location-based social networks applications are also hugely popular and worth listing under- Yelp.com is in this space as is FourSquare*, Gowalla* and LivingSocial*.

When you create your listing, be sure to include basic information about your business including your address, phone number, URL, hours of operation, and a brief description that clearly defines what your business does. Use keywords that describe your business in a consistent manner across your marketing efforts including your business listings. And remember that key phrases are just as important as key words; people often search by phrases.

 

To ensure the geographical accuracy of your listing, you can often drag and drop the tracker icon to pin your business to the correct point on the map. If your customers are diverse, you should also consider adding a separate listing in another language.

Make Your Listing Pop!

Make your listing stand out by adding graphics, videos and coupons. Sites such as Google Places offer this for free, so get your logo up there and keep revisiting your profile to keep offers and other specials up to date.

Encourage Customer Reviews

The power of a good review is critical to the success of small business. Reviews also keep your listing active and push it up the rankings. Ask customers and business partners to submit reviews -- it's usually as simple as clicking on the listing and clicking 'Submit a Review'.

Be sure to monitor reviews. While you can't delete reviews, try to respond to negative reviews whenever possible -- you usually have to respond publicly (although Yelp.com permits private responses). Yelp.com offers some useful advice on responding to reviews*.

If you think a review is highly inappropriate you can typically flag it as such. If the host site agrees that it is a violation of their policies, they are obliged to remove it.

Check and Claim Other Business Listings

If you've never searched for your business online, do it now and do it frequently.

 

Even if you are listed on certain directories, new ones are always emerging so it's a good idea to claim your listing before someone else does.

You can do this by searching map-based engines such as Google Maps, Yahoo Maps, Bing Maps, Yelp.com, Local.com, and so on. Search for key words and phrases that describe your business and its location (zip and city). If you find your name appearing in listings that you weren't aware of you can usually find a 'Are you the business owner'? or 'Claim your business' listing button which will allow you to edit your company's information.

Track and Measure Results

Keep an eye on how you rank in listings. Use unique coupon codes to gauge the effectiveness of your listing-based promotions, and always ask customers how they found you (particularly easy if your first point of contact with your customers is over the phone).

You can also monitor the performance of your listing. Google Places and Yelp.com for example both offer basic analytics that let you track how many users see your business listing as a local search result (impressions) and how many times your listing was clicked on.

For more detailed results, use Web analytics tools to measure how many people are coming to your Web site as a result of your online listings. The referral report will tell you the source of your traffic.

Additional Resources

Check out these useful Google / SBA Tools for Online Success quick videos, for insight directly from small business owners on how they've used the Internet, including free listings and social media, to grow their business.

Related Articles

 

*Note: Hyperlink directs reader to non-government Web site.

About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

Great information tips for Tips for Making your Business Web Site More Prominent in an Online Search.Thanks for sharing these tips.I am doing business listing for my website.Hereafter i should consider these tips also.
Very informative post. Absolutely, key phrases are to be considered more important as keywords as mostly people search by the phrases. I've submitted the businesses to some good business listing websites such as manta.com, livingsocial.com. citi360.com and found the positive response.
I recently found much useful information in your website especially this blog page.
great read and helpful. thanks teri
I have found that as my reviews increase that my ranking has increased. Thanks for this info and feedback - very helpful
Hi there, now that there are new rules, new algorithms, things have become quite tough to take your business to the level you want, it's nearly becoming unpredictable to decide whats best and whats not!
As a small business owner, I found the SEOMOZ website to be a very good source of free information. The downside is that many of the blog participants are search engine optimization gurus, so the discussions can sometimes become too advanced for local business. But it remains a worthwhile website.
We have been in the process of growing our local presence over the last few months. It is a lot of work but we are starting to see the dividends from all the work. We are getting clients that are finding us in different places and not just on Google, Bing, or Yahoo. We are currently in a review campaign to get clients to leave us reviews on the work we have provided. We hope this will take off and take us to the next level with our local presence.
Once you've started and established your business website, one of your first priorities is to learn not just how to attract visitors to your site but importantly how to keep them long on the site so as to try to develop a relationship. So this means things like motivating them to explore many of your pages and getting them to understand what your business is all about. electric heaters
You could also consider Google Places, which is a free online advertising many said will very soon replace most paper directory listing, which can be expensive. Once you learned how to optimize Google Places listing correctly your business listing usually appears on the top page of Google. It also allows you to offer discounts and coupons to promote your website and business even further thereby letting more customers get to know you and your business.Hip Replacement Surgery

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