So, you have a new business and you just need some customers. Once you’ve opened the doors you need to make it easy for customers to find you and learn about your products and services. Naturally, you turn to the web. In order to succeed these days customers need to be able to locate you in Search and if a particular segment or local audience is important then you have to turn up in local search, most important, on maps and map services and via mobile search.
But where to start?
There really is no one single solution (although many might argue that Google is THE one place where you have to be positioned well). The following ore some of the TOP local search and map search tools and directories where you should make sure you are listed, these include Google maps, Yahoo!, foursquare, Yahoo!, Yelp, Mapquest and others.
Get your business listed on Google – when it comes to being found on the web you really do have to start with the biggest search engine there is… Google. For business owners, Google has a dedicated starting point where you can claim and/or register your business, Google myBusiness. Having a clean, accurate, up to date business listing on Google is crucial for anyone. Claiming your business will give you the ability to maintain and manage your listing and ensure that it appears on relevant, local search, within maps, and across all the Google services, including Google+. this is the first place to start
List your business on foursquare – When it comes to local business listings, local sear h, reviews, and customer enagagement one of the firts places to look at is Foursquare. Now granted, you may not be a foursquare fan or user, however, your business really does need to be listed so that potential customers can find you. Claiming your business is fast and simple and will allow you to alter the description and contact information, add photos, add helpful links and even include rewards for visitors and those who check-in to your venue.
Add your place to HERE maps – HERE maps (think Nokia maps) is HUGE even if you don’t use it… although you should really give it a try! HERE is huge, in particular, Nokia device users and people outside North America are avid fans and die-hard users. Make sure these people can find your business by getting listed in the HERE database.
Apple Maps Connect – You can’t dispute that there is a massive amount of iPhone and iOS users around the World. Keep in mind that all of these people also use Apple maps. So be sure that your business is listed ith them! Do you own or manage a small business? Add or correct your business information to help your customers find you in Apple Maps.
Business listings on Mapquest – Mapquest (think AOL) is still alive and well, although I honestly haven’t used it in ages! With that in mind though, be sure that they know about your business and that you show up in Mapquest POI database and search.
Create or claim your local listing on Yahoo! Maps – Yahoo! is important when it comes to local serch and like all the others, they maintain a local business listing, even though, much like everything else they’ve created, its pretty confusing! Seems they use a third party to build out their business directly and I get the feeling that there’s going to be a strong sales pitch… regardless, check it out. Oh, a listing will cost you $29.99 per month!
Find and claim your business on yelp – Yelp is a huge local search resource and it isn’t just for restaurants and brs… if you have a brick and mortar biz then you need to own your listing. Doing so will enable you to take control of your listing and contact information and also enable you to engage with those that leave feedback and reviews about your business. See also this support article https://biz.yelp.com/support/claiming
Free listing on YP – The yellowpages are still alive and well and many consider them the undisputed champ of local business listings. Good news for small business owners, they also have a free listing option although there is premium options as well. see http://adsolutions.yp.com/free-listing-benefits and https://businesscentre.yp.ca/free-business-listing (Canada)
Trip Advisor for business – free listing is available for anyone who is in the travel related industry. This is a crucial resource if you have a business that caters to an audience of potential customers that are tourists or visitors to your area.
Create a new business location on Facebook – With hundreds of millions of users there’s no discounting facebook and keep in mind that many avid FB users will search facebook for your business name if they are seeking you out. When you create a business Page you also categorize it according to business type so this is an important resource for you. If anything, grab a listing, park it, and leave some contact information, photos and a general description. See more help info HERE
Twitter – Much like Facebook, you really can’t discount Twitter as a place where people will seek you out. Create a Twitter account for your business, provide a nice photo, some contact information and helpul info for would-be customers. You should also considr one or two simple hashtags to always use and associate with your business and your industry, this will help you turn up in search via search.twitter.com – You may view Twitter as a social media platform, however, to many of us it is also a valuable, real time search service!
GISuser Directory – Finally, are you a provider of GIS, mapping or geospatial related products or services? If so then be sure to get listed in our GISuser industry directory. This is a free resource for the community and another place for you to get some important added SEO. Seek out other niche industry directories as well and get listed there. I suggest looking at industry organizations and user groups as a good starting point.
Author: Glenn Letham (@gletham)