Imagine this scenario: you have spent two agonizing weeks working on a 2,000 piece puzzle. You are so close to the end that you can nearly taste it. Just as you are fitting the last few pieces in, you realize you are missing one, and with that, the puzzle is forever incomplete.
The frustration of not being able to complete a puzzle because of one missing piece is exactly how business owners feel when they are not being found online after supposedly doing everything right. I’m here to give you the most common local search marketing mistakes and solutions to help you fill in that missing puzzle piece.
Inconsistent NAP (name, address & phone).
Your business's name, addresses and phone number cannot have any inconsistencies in your local listing directories. Why it’s a problem: Google will scan a variety of websites to confirm that your business has the correct name, address, phone number, hours, etc. A mismatch in any of these sources could lead to a lack of credibility for the business.
In this situation, "close" is not good enough. Details do make a difference. Remember, you're looking for all the small advantages you can get.
For example, let's say your business is located at 123. E. Main Street. However, when publishing information to online directories, you may be using variations of your address: 123 East Main St., 123 E. Main Street, 123 East Main Street, etc. Although online directories like Google, Bing and Yelp have duplicate suppression measures and can usually recognize abbreviations, it's in your best interest to publish the exact same data to every directory. Not sure which version to use? We recommend checking with USPS to see how your address is officially listed.
How to fix it: Comb through every online listing your business is in to make sure the information is consistent and accurate. If this sounds like too much work you can hire an outside to company to do it for you (hint hint). You can read more about the importance of consistent information here.
Allowing listings to become a ghost town.
You can't create listing pages for your business and expect it to be sufficient. Why it’s a problem: Getting your pages claimed and verified with consistent information is the first step to helping your business be found online, but it’s not a one-and-done process. Adding your NAP information to your pages will help in the short run, but a successful page will have a true presence.
How to fix it: Be active on your pages! Sign in to the pages at least once a month to update any information about your business that may have changed and when possible get customer interaction on the page. If it’s Google+, make a post or respond to some reviews! You can also add new phones and update store hours if you have any seasonal changes.
Lack of social media presence.
Social media engagement is one of the ways that search engines evaluate consumer interest. Why it’s a problem: Some businesses don’t think that social media will benefit them, and while it’s true that different businesses would get more value from various social media sites, it’s important to be active on at least a few platforms. Social media activity is one of the many signals that Google uses to rank businesses.
How to fix it: Stay active on your pages! Whether that means posting four times a week or four times a month, make sure you are giving your audience interesting, relevant content. Better yet, cross-promote your blogs or web pages through your social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
No (or not enough) customer reviews.
Online reviews are one of the best indicators of overall customer satisfaction. Why it’s a problem: Google, Yelp and other search engines love hearing from real customers about their experience with your business. You can have your information correct on as many platforms as possible but without positive reviews, it will be hard to outrank your competitors. Not only do search engines trust reviews, but 79 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
This is why reputation management is so important for small businesses. For help managing your business's reputation and winning back unhappy customers, download our free, comprehensive review marketing guide.
How to fix it: Simply ask your customers to leave you a review about their experience. Trust me, I know how daunting this process can be — it can be like pulling teeth to get customers to leave a positive review. That’s why we created our very own review generating platform to give our clients extra help getting reviews.
There you have it, the missing puzzle piece for your business. If you can master these four items you will be giving your business the best online advantage possible. If this all seems like too much to do, we are here to help. At RevLocal we offer many different services to help with each of these areas. Just imagine how satisfying it’s going to feel when you finally complete the puzzle of getting your business noticed online. So stop puzzling over this and get to work, or better yet, put us to work!