How effective is your online footprint? To find out, try searching your own business name online. Unless you’ve put a lot of effort and attention into building your online footprint, you’ll likely find a somewhat disjointed and misleading representation of your business in the search results. No, Google isn’t lying to you, but the results are likely not as good as you think.
The good news is that most businesses (including your competitors) don’t understand how to properly build their online footprint. The better news is that after reading this blog post you’ll be able to benefit from the power of the internet and be found more frequently by local customers looking for your services and products.
Put into action a plan that uses the four C’s that are the reality of getting found in local search.
Most businesses have an online footprint consisting of:
- A small business website;
- A few social media accounts (e.g., Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc.); and
- A handful of listings on other sites (e.g., YellowPages.ca, Canada411, etc.) sites where information at one time was created based on data from incumbent telephone providers).
- A well-designed and comprehensive online footprint for your business should include detailed and up-to-date information about your business on a much larger number of leading reputable sites.
We’ve identified 25 high-value websites where most Canadian businesses should be listed. It’s the inability to invest a large amount of time needed to develop and execute a strategy that holds most businesses back from making the most of these high-value sites.
Simply having your business on many different directories is not enough. Information such as your address, telephone number and written descriptions must be consistent across all platforms. This includes carefully chosen keywords that represent your services and products. Remember, potential customers likely won’t be typing your business name into search engines.
Search engines crawl the internet continuously in order to piece together clues about your business. If this information is disjointed across the internet, chances are, search engines will become confused (or worseÃ¢â‚¬Å —Ã¢â‚¬Å suspicious) and your business may be buried in search results.
Care should also be taken to remove duplicate listings of your business on the same website(s). Duplicate listings can be the bane of your online existence. It’s a signal to both users and search engines that a business is not being careful about their communication. Duplicate listings can crop up due to a variety of reasons and can be time-consuming to fix.
A well-designed online footprint has all of its components working together. That is, its elements are properly linked to maximize effectiveness. Consistent information about your business that is available on a large number of reputable sites creates a trail that leads internet users and search engines to you.
A well-designed online footprint lays out clear paths allowing users and search engines to easily understand your business.
Managing your online footprint is not a one-time effort. Once upon a time, just putting up a good-looking website was enough to win online. Search engines have become much “smarter” in recent years. Not only will they judge a business by its size, consistency and accuracy on the internet, they will also evaluate a business’ relevance by checking how recently business information was updated or refreshed. Businesses that tend to actively update their online information tend to remain at the top of the search.
Many online directories strive to maintain up-to-date information by allowing anyone to edit information about any business. While this does keep its content “fresh”, over time, it can also cause errors to occur.
Help Google learn the truth about the business you’ve worked so hard to build
Creating and managing an online footprint that is comprehensive, consistent, connected and current is a time-consuming endeavour. By carefully implementing these 4 C’s, you’ll benefit from the power of the internet and be found more frequently by local customers looking for your services and products.