Gaining widespread exposure online means using the right local listings, review sites, and online directories properly to generate publicity about the quality of your business. Review this list to make sure you are making an impact on the community.
The obvious number one, all businesses should focus on their Google listing since Google serves millions of people each day. Register for free, personalize your information, and then enjoy the results. Your business will appear on Google maps, and Google+ provides an area for both satisfied and disappointed customers to share their opinions to help improve your business.
Second only to Google, Bing continues to grow in the search engine world. Sign up for free and optimize your listing by detailing services, giving hours of operation, and other important facts about your business.
The last of the big three, Yahoo remains a heavily trafficked search engine worthy of your attention. Their basic services are free, although more detailed pages do require additional monthly payments. Nevertheless, make sure to use Yahoo to spawn more attention to your business.
One of the best resources for local businesses. Yelp offers free services to all members and provides an excellent space for customer reviews. To build a favorable impression on potential customers, take time to provide information in each different field on Yelp. More information creates a more positive image of your company. Also, be sure to login into your account frequently and respond to comments left by users.
- Angie’s List
Providing review rankings from A-F, Angie’s List is an excellent resource for business offering specific services. Users are usually more professional and provide thorough feedback concerning different businesses. Use Angie’s List to receive constructive criticism to help improve your business, and gain exposure to promising potential customers. You can also take advantage of running promotions through Angie’s List to attract more customers and build brand awareness.
Facebook business pages are increasingly popular for reaching a larger audience. With complex algorithms for sharing and advertising, having a detailed, professional business listing on Facebook helps gain attention. The reviews section is also a good resource for interaction with consumers and appealing to potential customers.
- Insider Pages
Despite drawing a slightly smaller crowd, Insider Pages keeps up with big brother Google by providing free service to users interested in giving local businesses feedback. The site also contributes to SERPs, which will help increase SEO ratings.
To be seen and compared to local competitors, LinkedIn is the perfect platform. The vast networking of professionals allows businesses to show off for consumers. The site also provides a space for recommendations, so your business can continue accumulating reviews to increase SEO standings. You also have the opportunity to build relationships with other local business owners.
Locals love Citysearch for analyzing and comparing local services. Users direct the flow of the website and enjoy rating, reviewing, and recommending local spots to fellow Citysearchers.
- Consumer Search
This platform drums a slightly different beat. Consumer Search consolidates reviews and articles on various businesses into one location so users can view a range of feedback about a certain establishment to make well-informed decisions. Make sure to take reviews seriously; websites like Consumer Search can provide an accurate reflection of your business.
Interact, publish fun content, and put a face on your business. Twitter yields impressive results when properly used. Without time or priority, Twitter is essentially useless. Therefore, businesses cultivating a fresh voice in their industry on their account can transform their company. Twitter is also a great tool for brand awareness.
- Better Business Bureau
Strive to meet their standards to gain a listing on BBB. They provide enormous credibility for any company appearing on their website. Building trust with your customers should be a number one priority and a BBB accreditation is a positive addition to any company website.
- The Business Journals
While they provide a useful free service, the real perks of The Business Journals exist in the bronze, silver, and gold packages, all of which are available for a monthly fee. To reach a more affluent circle of clients, this site is an excellent resource.
- Consumer Reports
Boasting a unique niche, Consumer Reports has a team that tests products and provides honest reviews about each product. For businesses confident they provide a truly superior product, let the people at Consumer Reports assess the quality and provide their nearly 7 million subscribers with positive feedback to boost sales.
- Your Website
Let your business speak for itself. Invest in web design, take time to create detailed content, make communication easy, and use basic SEO techniques to boost search engine rankings.
In order to “get ahead” of the local business game, you must have an SEO optimized web site, build trust with your customers, meet their needs and expose your business in as many online channels as possible. What is your experience with local listing sites? Can you recommend any not listed above?