A few short years ago only 54 percent of small businesses had websites. Today the number has climbed to 82 percent and as more and more local businesses continue to expand their online presence it is increasingly harder to garner, and hold, the attention of consumers.*
Consider this: 97 percent of these consumers say they search for local businesses online, according to local media research firm BIA/Kelsey.
Obviously optimizing local business for search is vital for the financial success of any company.
Here are four ways to enhance a business’ online presence:
Add your site to a directory
Providing a listing of your business in a standardized directory or listing is one way to classify your business. This is extremely valuable for people looking for businesses within their own area. One great resource is Yext, which allows you to put your site across multiple directories. You can update business information such as photos, hours, features, and services through one central dashboard.
A prospective customer that is searching for your business through Yahoo will have the same information as someone searching through HopStop or Citysearch. This is important for clear and uniform messaging across multiple listings and directories. Consistent business listing information across several platforms will also help your Google Places ranking.
Listing your contact information on the title tag of your page can provide customers with an easy way of calling or emailing you. This simple addition can save customers the frustration of searching through your website for contact information when it is clearly listed in the title tag.
Potential customers don’t have to look far to get in touch with you and for a business that takes a lot of orders, this is extremely beneficial for your conversion rate.
The address for your company should be located on the footer of every site. On the New York Organ Donor Network website the address, telephone number and map of their location are all provided.
Providing a physical address builds trust with your customers and helps your website rank better. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer: Would you feel more confident about buying from someone if they provided an address? If you don’t have your address on the footer of every site, maybe you should contact us at 212-260-1978 or stop by 102 Madison Avenue.
Allowing customers to review your service is important to validate a company’s service. Hopefully you will receive more positive than negative reviews but if the situation comes up where you are forced to deal with a negative review, a quick and timely response is the best course of action.
If a customer voices their displeasure with your business, providing a solution can help turn a negative review into a positive one as well as improve your overall business process.
Based on recent data below, approximately 70 percent of customers use online reviews to evaluate local businesses. This stresses the importance of being attentive to customer reviews as it could have a major impact on your business potential.
Using Schema.org Markup
Schema.org can improve search results for your business and helps provide better results for your customers as they search for your business. Rich snippets can be shown on search engines giving customers detailed information including reviews, photos, and descriptions.
With the listing shown above, you can see the reviews and price range that Google is displaying from the Schema markup on Yelp.
These five simple ways of optimizing your business for search can make a major impact on your website and deliver a significant return on investment for your business.
* Ad-ology Research found that only 54% of businesses with 100 or fewer employees had a website. In its most recent report, Small Business Marketing Forecast 2012, it found that 82% of small businesses have a web presence.