If you thought your "virtual" business doesn't need a local Google, Yahoo!, or Bing listing, I have news for you! Having a high Google / Yahoo! / Bing map listing (which is free) makes it much easier to get found by your ideal customers, no matter where they are located.
Here are 3 surprising facts I learned just from a brief conversation with Shannon Evans:
1) Most business miss out on FREE traffic by not claiming their local listings. The really savvy businesses are doing this, and leaving their local competitors in the dust! To claim your listing Google, for example, you need to create an account on Google's Local Business Center. Even if your business is virtual, having a local listing will increase your ranking - which means more visitors and more customers, at NO COST!
I just did this for one of my private coaching clients; it took about 5 minutes to get the basic information in, and his business now shows up as the #1 organic (read: free) map result for acupuncture in Lake Forest, CA!
2) Another opportunity that most entrepreneurs miss is to enhance their listing with pictures or videos. Google as well as the other search engines make this very easy and have step-by-step tutorials to walk you through this process.
Why add pictures or videos? Put yourself in your customer's shoes for a minute. Imagine "Googling" "Chicago personal trainer" and seeing a bunch of dots on the map of Chicago. Each dot represents a business. But one listing is more than a dot - you can actually see a picture of the trainer, or even a video they have on YouTube! Now, which listing is more engaging? As an business owner, don't miss this free chance to stand out from your competition.
3) Yelp, Citysearch, and other websites where your clients can leave feedback about you do matter! These are additional free opportunities for you to get found by clients who are actively looking for help with their health, finances, fitness, shopping, relationships, marriages.. Again, no cost to you! I think you see the trend here. I used to think Yelp was just for restaurants, but Shannon explained that any site where your clients can leave feedback and testimonials must be considered as part of your overall local search strategy. Those testimonials and reviews add up and actually affect your Google ranking as well! Which, once again, means more visitors, at no cost.
Imagine how many more ideal clients you can attract when you get found on a Google map, or at the top of the local results on Yahoo! or Bing.
So if you are a coach, a personal trainer, a chiropractor, a wellness consultant, an attorney, a personal chef, a caterer, a matchmaker, a designer, a stylist, a healer, a massage therapist, a retailer.. ok to cut this short if you run a business, you need to come to my webinar with Shannon Evans TODAY, Dec. 16, at Noon Pacific.
See you there!
In the meantime, share your thoughts and experiences with Google Local in the comments below!