A recent article on The Guardian posed the question “is the internet ‘full’ and going to shut down?” Irrespective of the answer (don’t worry – it’s not), the very fact that it was asked gives an indication of just how much information is contained on the World Wide Web. The labyrinthine nature of the net makes negotiating it difficult and, with at least 3.32 billion pages on the indexed web, finding a specific website is not so much looking for a needle in a haystack as it is looking for a specific needle in a pile of needles.
GET TO THE TOP OF THE PILE
We’ve written before of the importance of getting your business’ website high up the list on search engines; the increased visibility means more people will see your website which more often than not leads to an increase in custom. Techniques on how to achieve this fall under the bracket of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and include using specific keywords, having more pages on your website, effective social networking and several others. However, Google are constantly updating the algorithms of their searches which requires a process of constant refinement to stay ahead of the game. With this in mind we want to bring to your attention a new development from Google HQ, namely their update of Google Local Search (what Search Engine Land have named Pigeon because, in their words, “this is a local search update and pigeons tend to fly back home.”).
ARE YOU LOCAL?
The fact is that it’s no good boosting your company’s visibility in New York if, say, you’re business is in Rotherham. The proximity of an individual to your business is essential if your aim is to drive people to your store. Therefore, a working knowledge of how to take advantage of Google’s update is essential to maximise the potential of it. The key here is to start using Google Business pages to assist in marketing your company correctly and optimising search engine results. The first step is to create a Google+ account for your business. Once you’ve done that you must use it regularly; if you set one up and then do nothing with it there will be no benefits. These updates can come in the form of informing the public about your products and services, or even if you have a special offer running. The truth is it doesn’t matter all that much what you say, just as long as you say it (although relevant content is always beneficial).
It’s in your interests to encourage (satisfied) customers to write reviews of the products and/or services your business provides. Not only will these testimonies support the quality of your company, they’ll also significantly improve your local search engine position. While there’s no way for you to actively manage who reviews your business, encouraging those customers who have expressed satisfaction to pen a few words together on your Google+ page can potentially work wonders. The importance of repeatedly receiving positive reviews cannot be overstated; in achieving this you’ll boost your profile on reputable business directories such as Yell or FreeIndex which will dramatically enhance the visibility of your brand.
So, if you haven’t already done so, create a Google+ Business page and start populating it as soon as possible. If you have already done so then encourage customer reviews otherwise, as the proverb says, your pigeons chickens might just come home to roost.