By: Kelly Burns, Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch
When it comes to marketing your business, you have control over the content on your website. But SEO is more than just what you say about yourself on your own website. Directory and listing sites also factor in. Do you know what else the internet is saying about you?
Google your Business
A good way to start is just to Google your business. On the right hand side of your search results is your Google My Business listing. And guess what? YOU have control over it. Many businesses don’t even claim their Google My Business listing! When you claim your listing, you are able to ensure the information your guests find out about you is accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date. You are also able to draw customers in by adding photos and videos to tell a visual story about your business.
Who else is mentioning your business?
After claiming and updating your Google My Business listing, look through the search results that come up when you Google the name of your business. Take note of what websites are mentioning your business and what information they are listing. The most important thing you want to look for is consistency. Not only will your customers lose trust in you if your listings are inconsistent, but Google will also. Google prides itself on providing accurate search results to users. If your name, address, and phone number are inconsistent across your listings, Google won’t rank your website as highly. This consistency comes down to small details such as capitalization (Main St vs main st), phone number formatting (123.456.7890 vs (123) 456-7890) and website (website.com vs www.website.com).
When you are going through your Google search results, make sure that you claim your listings (whenever possible). By claiming your listing, this verifies that you’re the owner and your business is actually a valid place of business. Keep in mind though that your listing should only appear on websites that are relevant to you and your industry. More importantly, you should be listed in places where your customers are actually going to be. Don’t spend your time claiming and listing your business in every place; spend your time listing it in the RIGHT place.
Use Your Associations
Many of us who own and operate outdoor recreation companies are members of organizations that help with the marketing for their members. It could be an industry association (like America Outdoors and the Dude Ranchers Association) or a destination marketing organization (like one that represents your city or state). Being a member of these organizations typically includes an online listing on their website. Ensure that your listing on these sites is correct, claimed, and up-to-date. If you don’t have a login to edit these listings yourself, reach out to the webmaster to provide updated information to them. However, keep in mind that being a member of these organizations is a two-way street. You should also have a link on your own website to the organizations you are a member of. Including these lends credibility to your business.
Do your research
One more thing to keep in mind when you are Googling your business is competitive research. Look up a few of your top competitors and see where they are appearing. If you don’t have a presence on a site where your competitors are listed, that may be a sign that you are missing out on customers.
Ready, Set, Repeat!
As you find, claim, and optimize your listings it is important to remember that listing on these websites is not a one and done task. At a minimum, you should be reviewing these listings once a year to ensure it is accurate and up to date. Another part of your annual review should be to look at Google Analytics to see what traffic you are getting. If you aren’t getting traffic and/or conversions, then it may be time to assess if that listing is a good fit for your business.
Finding, claiming, and optimizing your listing across the web allows both search engines and your customers to make informed decisions about you. When it comes to your business, stake your claim!
About the Author:
Kelly Burns is the Marketing Manager for Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch in New Mexico.