Search Engines certainly are not able to make things too easy for the local business. I don’t blame them entirely, because spammers can get advantage of search engines very quickly and easily. Spammers and other fraudulent websites tend to be the terrorist of the Internet. Needless to say, the actions of a few tend to make it difficult for everyone else.
You would think that all you need to do is claim, update and manage your local listing with the search engine and other local listing websites. That certainly would be the easy thing to do, however, whether your local business listing will be ranked on search results or within other local business listing search results is dependent upon a few other factors.
The good news is that it is not as complicated as search engine optimization (SEO) and understanding the technical and non-technical intricacies of getting your website ranked organically within the top ten search results. There are five items on the to do list.
1. Claim your local business listing at the various local listing websites.
2. Update your local business listing with information about your business, product and services. Include photos, videos, coupons, discounts, offers, promotions.
3. Maintain and manage your local business listing regularly with changes within your business, products and services (If anyone thinks that this is not an issue today, they may be right, but you can bet this will be added soon enough).
4. Get customers to post reviews about your business, products and services on your local business listing. You can suggest they post their review at one or multiple local listing websites, however, the local consumer will ultimately be the one to decide which and how many of the local listing websites they are will to submit their reviews.
5. Get citations about your business around the web, outside of your local business listing.
The first four items I’m sure are easy enough to understand, however, the last one introduces a new terminology to “optimizing” your local business listing.
If you are familiar with the concept of link popularity and inbound links, then you will understand citations. The only difference is that there isn’t an actual link coming back to your local listing. Citations (may also be called “web references”) are publicly available “mentions” of your business name and address on other websites. This information helps search engines validate your business.
For example, Google will seek out a citation about your business on InfoUSA, Localeze, and Yelp to mention a few. You local chamber of commerce directory that they make available on their website with your business information would also count.
Citations help validate your business is part of a local community. It’s difficult to fake membership in a chamber of commerce, or a business index, or be written about in a local online newspaper or popular blog. Citations help your local business listing become ranked among other local listings in a search result.
Part of this process is to be sure your business name and address information is consistent from one website to another. After all we are talking about computers and computers need data to be exactly alike in order to identify the information to be the same. The consistency would need to include your business description, name, address, phone number, website, and email address. Get into the habit of keeping this information handy so that you can copy and paste easily enough from one website to another or from one directory to another.
If you feel that maintaining your local business listing is time consuming or outside of your expertise to manage at all the various local listing websites, there is help out there. As with most local and small businesses, your time resources are limited and your expertise does not lie in the management of Internet marketing of your business. For this reason low cost local listing management services are provided by SmartFinds Internet Marketing through their SmartFinds Local Listing service is your choice. You will find this to be of great benefit and the low cost will help you potentially eliminate your yellow page ad costs. Let the experts of 15 years Internet marketing experience help you.
Free Calculator Projects Revenue Growth Opportunities From Optimized Site Performance, Enables Organizations to Improve Customer Experience
DETROIT–January 11, 2010–Today, Gomez, the Web performance division of Compuware Corporation (NASDAQ: CPWR) announced the availability of the first tool that calculates the financial impact of web page load times. Designed for line of business and e-commerce professionals, the new Compuware Financial Analysis Support Tool (F.A.S.T. Calculator) helps companies calculate how much revenue is at risk from slow web page load times. Launched today at the National Retail Federation Big Show in New York City, the free calculator is available at www.compuware.com/fastcalc.
The Compuware F.A.S.T. Calculator is built from real users’ Web experience data that correlates Web page load times with page abandonment rates. Simply by entering some basic data about a company’s online operations–such as conversion rates, monthly visitor tally, average transaction value size and Web page load time–the tool generates a custom report that includes a twelve month projection of how much additional revenue a site could potentially capture with performance improvements. At launch, the tool has built-in economic models for retail, travel and tourism, and media and publishing Web sites, plus a general model for other industries.
“Consumers expect immediate response regardless of where in the world they might be accessing a site from, what sort of device they are using and whose network(s) they might be on,” said Bob Paul, President and COO, Compuware Corporation. “Competitors are a second away, so organizations can’t give customers any excuse to click away, as this tool clearly illustrates.”
The underlying data supporting this tool was calculated using page abandonment rate data aggregated across more than 150 Web sites, 34,000 Web pages and over 150 million page views captured between November 10 and December 10, 2009. The data was collected and analyzed using the Gomez Actual Experience real-user monitoring solution. Response time and abandonment rates are based on tags installed on live web sites across a variety of industries including retail, travel, financial services and more. The data calculates the relationship between abandonment rates and response time in one-second intervals between one and 20 seconds. The abandonment rate is defined as the number of abandonments out of the number of pages loaded for each one second time band.
Gomez, the Web Performance Division of Compuware, provides the industry’s leading solutions for optimizing the performance, availability, and quality of web and mobile applications. The on-demand Gomez platform integrates solutions for web load testing, web performance management, web cross-browser testing, and web performance business analysis that tests and measures web and mobile applications from the “outside-in,” or across all users, browsers, devices, and geographies, using a global network of over 100,000 locations. When combined with Compuware Vantage, Gomez offers the industry’s only solution for optimizing application performance across the Enterprise and the Internet. Over 2,500 customers worldwide, ranging from small companies to large enterprises—including 12 of the top 20 most visited US web sites—use Gomez solutions to increase revenue, build brand loyalty and decrease costs.
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Founded in 1973, Compuware provides software, experts and best practices to ensure applications work well and deliver business value. Compuware solutions optimize application performance across the Enterprise and the Internet for leading businesses around the world, including 46 of the top 50 Fortune 500 companies and 12 of the top 20 most visited U.S. web sites. Learn more at: www.compuware.com.
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Samantha McGarry, Gomez Division, Compuware Corporation, 781-778-2783, email@example.com
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Compuware Corporation, One Campus Martius, Detroit, MI 48226, 800-521-9353, http://www.compuware.com
“I have tried several times to edit my business local listing and it tells me Status Pending Review.”
“I’ve been trying to get my current address, phone number and website address updated in my local listing for months.”
“Recently, I have submitted my local business and had been waiting for my verification PIN. After 20 days I have received that PIN number, but my listing has been already verified by someone else.”
The above quotes are excerpts from postings at search engine local listing forums. Business owners are having difficulty updating their local business listings on their own. These are only a few examples of the problems business owners run into. Reviewing the forums of the major search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing, you will find many more questions and frustrations.
Certainly the search engines have tried very hard to make this process as easy as possible, however, the individual tasks can appear to raise more questions to someone who is not familiar with the information or the process.
The issue tends to go beyond the obvious request to answer questions on the computer screen. Each question may raise further questions in the mind of the business owner. These silent questions begin to focus on the business brand, the message, the marketing strategy. Question like “Am I entering the right information?”, “Am I entering the information correctly?” are only a couple of the higher level questions that come to mind when someone starts to ask you questions about your local business.
The local business owner wants to maximize the limited time resources they have. If they spend time to work on this information, they will want to be sure it benefits them and they probably don’t want to come back to do this again. The anxiety of insuring the information they enter helps their business far outweighs the questions being asked by the search engine local listing.
An additional burden comes from having to perform this task on all the major search engines along with many non-search engine websites like Local.com and Yelp. By the time you look through the process you will find at least six major locations to update and maintain. We have identified 60 websites for which business will want to have their local listing managed. As you can see, the local business with limited time resources will not be able to keep up.
If you’re wondering why you want to have your local listing updated with six or more websites you’re not alone. The answer lies with iPhone, Blackberry and Palm. The mobile application developers for these phones will be the ones to decide which database of local listing they will use. Since any of these databases can be used, it only makes sense to have the local business listing information updated in as many locations as possible.
The strategy of how the information is entered is certainly an additional challenge. Knowing the keywords to use and how they should be entered is only the beginning. If you add coupons, offers, discounts, videos, photos, products and services, it will be necessary to know how to title, describe and tag the individual items. After all, you want your listing to show up at the top of the list of local listings for various search terms related to your business and also on mobile devices.
As part of the local search marketing strategy you will want to maintain your listings and manage them regularly. Our recommendation is once a week. Local listings that are not maintained will not be of any benefit to the local consumer and therefore they have no reason to click on your listing. You may have a new menu or products, an event at your business or store, or other news worthy items that will require the listing to be updated at all locations.
Lastly, we have to be concerned about customer reviews. Consumers have the ability to write their positive thoughts and negative emotions. This raises the notion that we want to encourage customers to write their positive thoughts and also insure we have a process in place to handle customers that are not satisfied to avoid having them post their negative emotions. Of course this is also a second reason why so many local listing websites need to be maintain. Ultimately, the consumer will be the one to decide where they post their positive or negative reviews.
Utilizing a professional service to manage your local listings is no different than retaining a professional service to manage the search engine optimization of your website. Because the process is simpler than website search engine optimization, the fee structure is significantly lower.
Let us close out with two questions:
1. Do you know about your local listing?
2. Have you considered updating your local listing?
Contact SmartFinds Internet Marketing’s Local Business Listing Management Service and let our team help you with your local search marketing.
If you do a search on “local business listing hijacking” you will find information related to situations in which a competitor hijacked another businesses local listing to their benefit. As of December 7, 2009, Smart Company wrote an article about hijacking prevention. In New Zealand a florist is facing 7 years for hijacking local listings of competitors.
This is a real situation that can and does have an impact upon a business that is not paying attention to their local business listings. If your business relies on the local consumer market for its primary revenue and you are not clear about local business listings, then you need to get caught up real quick.
For one thing local business listings are the demise of the traditional yellow pages. If the traditional yellow pages have not already seen their coffin and at minimum a door stop, then free local business listings are the nails in the coffin. Certainly you will find that you can save money in this space.
Local business listings give a local business the ability to not only have their general information available, but photos, videos, coupons, offers, discounts, promotions to name a few items. Additionally these can be updated 24x7x365. Certainly none of these are features of the traditional yellow pages.
The process gets even better. Not only do these listings show up on the first page of Google for a search result in which a local listing is appropriate, but they show up on mobile devices while local consumers are driving around town. Studies have shown that there is an increase in local search and local search via mobile applications on mobile devices. We won’t get into all that detail here, but you can certainly read one of our previous articles about the statistics.
As you can imagine local listings have been evolving in the past few years and so have mobile devices and mobile applications. Starting in 2010 the two industries are merging even closer.
Just in case you’re still not convinced that you need to pay attention to your local business listing, think about the consumers walking through your store and writing reviews about their experience, products or services. If they don’t like something they can twitter or write a review in any local listing website before they even make it back to the car.
These consumer reviews are very important because in part they determine your ranking amongst other local listing websites for a web search (vs. mobile search). They also have a tremendous value to the search engines, which is one of the reasons Google wanted to acquire Yelp recently.
So, let’s get back to the issue of local business listing hijackings. To prevent this process the first action is to claim your business listing at multiple local listing websites. Certainly Google Local Business Listing will be your first stop, followed by Yahoo, Bing, Local.com, Ask.com and Yelp. You will find that there are many more locations, this is only a start.
Aside from getting involved in local business listings around the web here are a couple of other items to consider. Always be sure to have consistent and as much detailed information about your business as possible, particularly your address. Be sure your information is consistent amongst all locations on the web including your website.
Claiming, updating and managing the ongoing updates and reviews to your local business listing can become a time consuming process. It may at some point require more time than your website. Certainly the local business listings can become your website too.
Because there are multiple locations that have to be updated you may need to consider a service that will help you maintain and manage your local listing at multiple local listing websites. When it comes to the web, Google may be the 800lb gorilla, but in the mobile marketing space, the mobile application developer will ultimately decide what database they will use. Furthermore, the local consumer will be the one to decide which local listing they will use to write their reviews. Therefore, for both of these reasons, you will want to manage your local listing at multiple local listing websites.
Waiting to consider your local business listing is not really an option. You will want to be an early adopter as quickly as possible.
SmartFinds Internet Marketing provides Local Business Listing Management Services and can not only help you claim your local business listing, but also, manage the ongoing maintenance at multiple local listing websites. Not only to help you update the listings with your information, but also with promotions, coupons, QR-Codes, offers, videos and photos.
Global small businesses can use local business listings on the Internet as a yellow page alternative and to be more easily located by mobile local consumers.
BIRMINGHAM, MI – January 4, 2010 (SMARTFINDS INTERNET MARKETING) – An affordable local business listing package, offered by SmartFinds Internet Marketing, is allowing small businesses to reduce the cost of yellow page ads. Internet based Local business listings are free through the major search engines and display in search results, as well as on mobile devices. The additional benefits include adding coupons, offers, discounts, photos, videos while changing them anytime. – something you cannot do with your yellow page ad.
SmartFinds Internet Marketing launched the SmartFinds Local Listing website as an additional service offering which can be found at www.smartfindslocallisting.com
SmartFinds Internet Marketing CEO, Melih Oztalay, stated “this has been a long time coming to finally eliminate the yellow pages that we use as a door stop now-a-days. The benefits to small business are incredible to be available to their local customers when the customer is looking for them while being around town with their mobile device. The fact that the business can also update their offers anytime gives the local business the possibility to adapt to market changes.”
SmartFinds Internet Marketing offers a low priced one-time fee of $395 to update your local business listing with their 15 year Internet expertise. This includes the six primary websites that include Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, Local.com and Yelp. Additional local listing locations can be added with their optional low $12.95/month fee. SmartFinds will help navigate the landscape and make it easy for you to update your local listing at all these local listing websites.
Oztalay, indicated that in 2010 the mobile device industry will grow exponentially. “We will have not only the iPhone, but also Blackberry and Palm are coming to market with new products and mobile applications. The wireless carriers, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint are upgrading the cell tower to allow for 4G capabilities thereby increasing the bandwidth to the mobile devices. Since all of these platforms will not all use Google Maps, it will be necessary to have your local business listing updated in all possible locations”.
CEO Melih Oztalay has fifteen years experience with Internet and digital services in developing strategies that utilize all facets of the World Wide Web. As a digital marketing agency, SmartFinds Internet Marketing’s major focus is to develop multi-directional marketing campaigns to drive traffic to client web sites from more than just search engines.
SmartFinds Internet Marketing provides businesses with Internet marketing services and solutions that include all or a combination of the following to meet the business growth and revenue objectives: Research, Strategy and Planning; Creative and Technical Development; Website Development; Search Engine Optimization services; Content Marketing; Social Media Marketing; Internet advertising solutions; Local Business Listing Management Services; Management, Measurement and Analysis.
About SmartFinds Internet Marketing
The most critical element of SmartFinds Internet Marketing services is the creativity and imagination to apply the technological aspects of the digital marketplace to the marketing objectives of a particular business. Initial research provides SmartFinds the ability to develop a digital strategy that can be measured every step of the way to insure business growth and revenue generation. Some of SmartFinds’ clients have included Compuware, Delphi, Flagstar Bank, Guardian Industries, Soave Enterprises, Detroit Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, McCann Erickson, Wendy’s and others. You can learn more about SmartFinds at www.smartfindsmarketing.com.
Contact: Esther Lastacy, 330 E. Maple Road, Suite 503, Birmingham MI 48009, 866.501.5758, firstname.lastname@example.org