With so many people searching for local businesses online these days, establishing a strong online presence is crucial if you want to grow your business. And just having a website doesn’t cut it anymore – you also need to make sure customers find your business when they search.
Enter SEO. Search engine optimization is a valuable subset of inbound marketing that makes it easier for search engines to find your website. While SEO is critical to getting found online, it also takes lots of effort and skill to execute.
The good news? There are a few small steps every business owner can take to boost their online presence.
Two Easy Ways to Enhance Your Online Presence
Step 1: Claim and Update Your Local Listings
Online, there are numerous free listing opportunities for businesses (platforms such as Facebook, Google, and Yelp) and they aren’t always user-created. Sometimes, these listings are auto-generated which can lead to duplicate pages.
Websites with listings typically have a higher search ranking, so when you claim and manage your local listings, it's a major win. As a best practice, you should check every online listing website relevant to your business and:
- Claim any current pages or create your own pages;
- Delete duplicate listings;
- Update all profile information; and
- Include links to your business website and social media profiles.
Another bonus for local listings is business reviews, as most online listings include a review section. Encourage customers to leave reviews of your business, product, or service, and you just might start to see your website ranking climb. On certain platforms, you can even respond to reviews directly and increase your customer engagement.
Step 2: Be Active on Social Media
Unless it makes sense for your business, you don’t need to go overboard and create an account for every popular social channel. Consider instead what social media networks your customers and buyer personas might use. You'll also want to keep in mind what you can realistically manage each day.
Remember: it’s better to be effective on one social channel than ineffective across multiple channels. If you aren’t sure where to start, we recommend either Facebook or LinkedIn to begin your business’s social media efforts.
Whether you’re creating a profile for the first time or are simply managing the different channels you are already active on, here are a few methods to consider:
- Profile Completion – From the “About” section to your website URL, make sure your profile is completely filled out.
- URL Customization – Some social platforms allow you to customize your page URL. Take advantage of this to help users and search engines easily identify your page!
- Visual Elements – Be sure to add relevant pictures of your business, products and/or services. To build brand awareness, always use your logo as your profile picture across all networks.
Establishing an active, consistent presence on social and in business listings is an essential first step to business growth. Increasing your online presence can take time, but it’s well worth the effort.
Editor's Note: This post was initially published in November 2016 and has been updated for clarity and accuracy.