What you should do for your Internet Marketing efforts during this festive period.
The Christmas/New Year holidays are an important time to look at how your business identity is performing on the internet.
In the spirit of the Christmas season, let's take a look at the 12 days of managing your internet business listings so that customers can find you this holiday shopping season, as well as in the coming 2011! :)
1. Make Sure Your Business Listing Can be Found
Check online sources like search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing), Internet Yellow Pages (IYP), and vertical directories (specialised web portals) from a customer perspective to find out where your company listings are appearing.
2. Verify and/Or Create Your Listing
Every month, internet users perform over 3 billion local searches for nearby products and services. It is very vital to certify, enhance, and manage local business listings to improve visibility, increase security, and connect with your customers.
3. Keep Your Anchor Name, Address, Phone Number (We call it NAP) Consistent Online
If not, your customers might find multiple identities for your business or might not find your business at all if search engines question the accuracy of your listing. If you've recently moved, or changed your contact details, do get it updated across all online platforms, including those you didn't know that have included your company as part of their portal.
4. Look At Long Tail Search
You shouldn't forget about the hundreds of long-tail directories and emerging social and mobile applications that provide added exposure to customers and serve as a reference-source for major local search platforms to verify and link business information using your consistent NAP.
5. Enhanced Your Content Online
After taking control of your listing, enhance your business listings with details like operating hours, methods of payment (VISA, MASTER, Cash, etc), products & services offered, and special promotions or incentives. Some platforms require some forms of monetary payment before you're allowed to change or enhance your appearance. Choose wisely.
6. List Your Business in Mobile/Location Based Apps
Customers are using geolocation apps more frequently to find nearby businesses. If you haven't yet, sign up for and check if your listing is on Foursquare, Facebook Places, ShowNearby, and other LBS apps. If you're not there, get in there! Now!
7. Manage Your Listings
It is very important to take control and proactively manage your listings and make updates when a location moves, closes, or opens. Re-verify listings periodically, even if nothing has changed, so that local search platforms have a higher level of confidence that listings are accurate and secure.
8. Organic Local Search is Different from Paid Search Advertising
Paid search campaigns don't take the place of local search listings. Even if a business has a banner ad or paid search campaign, they need to incorporate business listings identity into their management strategy. Be smart about it. ;)
9. Increase Your Presence on Social Media Sites Like Facebook and Twitter
Pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube can boost your local SEO. Add multimedia content like photos and videos for maximum exposure. Don't forget your PDF files as well.
10. Internal Advocate For Your Business' Online identity
Internet marketing specialists are ideal to maintain listings. Make sure to designate a manager within your company. Ideally the person who is also in charge of your communications.
11. Avoid Call Tracking Numbers Within Business Listings
Don't include tracking lines in your business listings. Instead, use them for advertising forums like paid search.
12. Don't Change Your Business Listing Name for SEO
Local businesses shouldn't add marketing language, category keywords or branding into their company name for their business listings. This creates confusion of a business' anchor NAP identity.