In the previous post, we discussed why it’s important for local companies doing business with local customers to have a local search profile. In this post, we’ll examine the how of putting together an effective profile.
While the process and the profile itself are fairly straightforward, it’s important to consider a number of underlying factors that can affect your placement within the local search results:
- Consider your business name. (This suggestion applies to many things you do online.) If your business name doesn’t already include it, can you append ‘what you do’ to the name? Marlannah Group, for instance, is relatively meaningless (except to my daughters) without Internet Marketing attached. The benefit is that including ‘Internet Marketing’ gives another opportunity for us to use important keywords.
- Your address is vital in local search. If your business doesn’t have a physical address (some contractors, for example, operate largely out of their trucks) or if your address isn’t particularly close to your primary customer base, you might consider renting a mailbox that would place your business squarely in your ‘territory’.
- Directories all have their own individual structures, but in general most allow you to describe your business and its products/services in some way. It’s tempting here to give a general description, but consider that the content of your business profile is much like that of your website—it’s an opportunity for you to match the keywords searchers use so the search engines understand that you’re relevant to that search. It is, in essence, search engine optimization for local search. Your profile can be optimized in much the same way websites are; by utilizing the keywords that prospective customers might use when searching for your products or services online, you can improve the likelihood that you’ll appear near the top of the local search results. Researching what keywords your competitors rank well for and what keywords generate online search activity can help guide your decisions on this front.
- If your company offers specific brand names, include those, as some consumers may use brands in their searches.
- Images can help attract attention to your listing, but if you’re going to use them, be sure they’re high quality and fit the directory’s specifications. It’s fairly pointless to have just a portion of your logo showing.
- Other, fairly straightforward elements include hours of operation, accepted payment forms, phone numbers, email addresses,