How to Get Your Business Online

“Why is this guy showing up ahead of me in the search results? His business isn’t even located in the same state!”

“We’ve been in this business for 20 years and this gal starts up shop next door and now we don’t even show up till the bottom of the first page!”

“Facebook? What is Facebook?”

These are all quotes from clients I have worked with in the last couple years. As a Digital Marketer, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some talented and unique small business owners. If any of those quotes sounded like you, or even if you’re a seasoned pro, I’ve compiled together a list of simple things you can do, or a company you hire can do to get your online presence ahead of your competition.

The Difference Between LSO and SEO

The biggest difference between local search engine optimization (LSO) and regular search engine optimization (SEO) is the scope of the audience you’re targeting. As the name alludes to, LSO focuses mainly on providing a consistent name, address, and phone number commonly referred to as your “NAP” information. The LSO specialist’s goal is to make your NAP information consistent across all of the main listing pages such as Google, Bing, Yelp, and the Yellow Pages, as well as the main data aggregators: Infogroup, Acxiom, Localeze, and Factual. By making your information consistent throughout the local-search-eco-system, Google sees that you are a real business that is active on its platform, and rewards you with higher rankings in their local results.

With SEO, your website is optimized so Google’s “crawlers” can more easily read your site so your site shows up higher in Google’s search results. SEOs accomplish this by strategically implementing keywords throughout your website’s text, collecting backlinks (links to your site from another website), and optimizing your website’s code structure and metatags to be more easily “crawled” by Google. The philosophy behind quality SEO is to provide a better experience for your user.  By doing this, we prove to Google that our site is reputable and useful to people. Since Google is in the business of connecting people with useful information, they will reward your site with higher rankings in their organic search results.

The Importance of Facebook 

With all the obsession among LSO and SEO providers to get their clients to the top of the Google Search results, there is an unsung hero that is regularly overlooked. That sleeping giant is Facebook. LSO and SEO aside, the pragmatic purpose of having a Facebook account goes without saying. Facebook is the most popularly used social media platform in the world. It offers businesses, both large and small, a free way to keep in touch with their customers. However, when you think about Facebook through the lens of LSO, this listing becomes even more valuable. A verified Facebook account is a listing customers trust, it holds your NAP information, and it boasts a heavily used and respected review section. All of these attributes, when managed properly, can do great things for your LSO and SEO.

Google Is Still King

Whether you like it or not, Google is the go-to site for customers and businesses alike, and it’s not going anywhere fast. It’s the most highly used site in the world, with Bing coming in at a distant second. Claiming your Google My Business listing is an easy process that will greatly help your LSO efforts. Though Google is without question the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, it’s still worth claiming your Bing Places For Business, as well as other listings that are more specific towards your industry or locality.

Review Aggregation sites 

Review aggregation sites such as Yelp For Business Owners and Yellow Pages are worth claiming and keeping current. However, they aren’t nearly as important as your Google or Bing listing. Yelp and Yellow Pages come with a big downside. They’re constantly trying to sell you advertising that you don’t want or need. We recommend you politely decline their advances.

Do Reviews Affect LSO or SEO?

Reviews are crucial and can give your LSO and SEO a nice shot in the arm. By responding to your reviews consistently and in a timely manner, it becomes clear to Google that you are a real business that is worth showing in their results. Know that there is an art to responding to reviews.  When you respond to positive reviews, be sure to use the name of your business in your response as it gives your business another positive mention for Google to pick up. When responding to a negative review, refrain from mentioning your business name directly. That can also show up as well! The more effort you put into responding to your reviews, the more value you’ll get from them.

What Do I Do, Lord?!

If you’re a small business owner, I understand this is a lot of information to keep track of and maintain. The good news is, you don’t have to do this alone! If you would like some help improving your online presence, or are simply curious where you stand, I’d be happy to talk. Feel free to contact me here.

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