In planning for Web or Internet marketing, most small businesses focus on building a website. They feel that a website will work for them much like the Yellow Pages ads used to work for small businesses. They’re confident that with a website displaying their products and services, prospective customers will find them on the Internet and then buy online or by visiting the store. Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t work that way.
Most web designers working with small businesses specialize in graphic design and they have at best, a rudimentary knowledge of optimizing websites for high search engine rankings. So the websites they produce are often attractive, but they don’t rank well in search results for the keyword phrases that customers use when searching online for products and services. Since the websites are not search engine optimized, it’s very difficult for prospective customers to find these businesses on the Internet, and the customers will go to competitors with better search engine optimized websites.
There is one thing that just about every small business can do though to place itself ahead of the competition in Google and other search results. That marketing tactic is to claim ownership over Google Places and other free business listings on the Web. The major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing provide free online business listings and those listings, when working well, can put your business ahead of every one of your competitors’ websites. Here’s what a Google Places listing looks like in a search results listing.
|Google Search Results for “childcare webster tx”
That top spot in the rankings with 21 reviews is our client, Gimmie A Break, a preschool and childcare center in Webster, TX. Notice that this Google Places business listing is at the very top of the search results — ahead of all websites in the search results. This is where you want your business to be!
Gimmie A Break also has lots of great reviews from parent/clients for the wonderful care their kids receive. The high placement in Google search results and the large numbers of reviews from parents make it very likely that parents looking for childcare or preschool in the Webster, Clear Lake, and nearby Texas communities around Houston will visit Gimmie A Break. You need to get the same business listings working for your small business!
Whether you’ve already gotten a website or not, you should find and claim your small busienss listings on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The business listings allow you to add pictures and even video clips in some cases to make your business stand out from the competition. If you have a website, you can link your high-ranking Google Places business listing directly to your website, in effect improving the search engine ranking of your website.
As Gimmie A Break has done, you should also start asking your customers to provide great reviews and recommendations of your business online. When you have 21 reviews on Google Places like Gimmie A Break does at the time of this article, it’s powerful word-of-mouth evidence of your business reputation.
For more information on Reputation Management, visit our website at ReputationLeadership.com. For more information on building a Google Place business listing, please contact us at 979-531-8300.