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Business Listing Basics for SMEs

As a small to medium business owner you’ll be aware that running a business these days means competing for attention online.  We’ve already explained why you need a website for your business, even if you don’t sell your products or services online.  Then, last week we gave you some advice on how to Google your business.  Maximising the way you leverage your online presence is essential if you want to keep up with the big boys and stay in business nowadays – there are small companies all over the UK falling into debt and going out of business – we want to make sure yours isn’t one of them.  So, today we’re going to take a look at how you can harness the power of online directories to boost your search engine rankings and make sure your business appears on the first page of Google’s (and other search engines’) results.

A great way of making sure customers can find you is to use the “Near Me” search – according to GeoMarketing (the leading source for daily location and marketing news), searches carried out on mobile devices (which overtook desktop as the main method of accessing the internet last year).  Apparently, searches containing the phrase “near me” have increased by more than 140% year on year which demonstrates clearly that people are searching for local products and services online – if you don’t take advantage of this trend, you can be sure your competitors will.  So, let’s take a look at how you can turn this to your advantage and reach a wider customer base offline by leveraging your power online.

When somebody in your neighbourhood is looking for products or services like yours, you need to make sure that they know you’re there.  This means that you need to be listed in the business directories like Google Places, Yelp, Manta, etc. so that when search engines crawl the web they find your business and include it in local search results.

You’ll need to make sure you list your business correctly and keep the information provided up to date.  If you move, open in a new location, change your trading hours or make any other changes – you need to update the information so that people know exactly where you are and how to contact you.

Make sure your website has a responsive design and works just as well on mobile devices as it does on desktop PCs.  In fact, people looking for local goods and services tend to search on mobile devices, rather than desktop which means that a responsive design is essential for websites nowadays.

Add some local keywords to your website and to your business directory listings.  Think of the works customers use when using “near me” searches – such as the name of your town, city, region and your industry. 

 

You’re probably aware that most people who search the internet tend to click on one of the first few results in the search returns – you probably do the same thing yourself.  This is why you need to make sure that your business appears as near to the top of the search results as possible.  Using the tips outlined above will help you to rise in the ranks and put your business ahead of the competition when it comes to local search.