Learning how to get found online today isn’t hard. In fact if you know what you are doing it becomes a very simple process. Here’s the reality, getting found online and attracting new customers in our world today can’t be just a wishful thought, if you really want to grow your business and make more money, it needs to be a priority.


Fortunately there is a relatively simple solution;

If you follow the steps in this process it can help you to successfully increase your online visibility to make it easier for people to find you online. That’s great, but it’s only part of the story. The real objective is to get those people who find you online take some form of action after they find you.

Following the steps in this process can help you get found online. There aren’t any shortcuts to this process. To continuously help people find you online, you must do what is required to effectively improve your online visibility so that you show up on search results pages.


Don’t panic;

The process doesn’t require any technical knowledge or skill. Nor does it cost a lot of money or a take a lot of time to understand how it works. It only requires that you have a desire to succeed.


The best part is this;

Search engines tell us, in plain language, how and why they rank local businesses on search results pages. This knowledge is essential to creating a personalized marketing plan that is affordable and effectively helps you get found online and attract new customers.


This part is critically important;

Search engines keep the details of their ranking formulas closely guarded secrets, because they are proprietary. What they do provide us is simple, plain language guidelines for ranking locally on search results pages.

For example: Googles own page “ranking of local search results on Google” clearly states the three factors it uses to rank local businesses on search results pages:


  1. Relevance
  2. Distance
  3. Prominence


This is how Google defines these terms;

Relevance: Relevance is how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for. Adding complete and detailed business information can help us better understand your business and match you to relevant search results.”

The term “local listing” refers to local business directory listings and the “detailed business information” refers to all the information that can be attached to those local business listings today.


”Distance: Just like it sounds — how far is each potential search result from the location term used in a search? If you don’t specify a location in your search, we’ll calculate distance based on what we know about your location.”

In other words, your name, address and phone number are critically important to search results today. Business directory listings display your location and provide the search engines an important way to filter and rank results.


“Prominence: This describes how well-known or prominent a business can be. This is based on information we have about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories).”


Here’s what search engines don’t tell you;

Getting found online locally isn’t that difficult. That’s assuming of course that you’re willing to take the steps required to satisfy their requirements for displaying your information on those local search results pages.

Below are the 14 steps you need to take to ensure your business is both “relevant” and “prominent” in the eyes of search engines to ensure your business is displayed at or near the top of search results pages.


This is how you make yourself relevant online.


1. Define the problem you are going to solve for people.

People use the Internet to search for products and services they want and need. To conduct those searches people type keywords into the search box of the search engine they are using. That keyword or keyword phrase generally defines a problem, describes a desire or states a need of that individual. To be relevant to both those people and subsequently to search engines you need to be able to clearly define what it is you are selling and convey the value that has for people or business that might be purchasing your product or service.


Why does this matter?

To a large degree, the keywords you use to define the problem you solve for people will be used by search engines to determine how “relevant” your solution to their problem is.

The more clearly and definitively you can describe the value your products or services offer people and businesses online, the more “relevant” you become to those people and subsequently search engines.


2. You must clearly understand who your customers are.

If you can describe the problem you solve for people or businesses, then you should be able to clearly know who your customers are. When you know who your customers are, you can more easily imagine yourself in their shoes and then categorize the products or services you self from their perspective.


Understanding and using categories;

All local businesses that have a listing online are placed in “categories” by search engines. Search engines use these categories to help determine the relevance of local business listings on search results pages. As a result, if you want to get found online it is critically important that you identify your target market. Then make a list of categories that would most likely be used by people within that target market to define the products you sell and services you provide.


For example:

If you sell commercial health insurance the category list might look like this; insurance, commercial insurance, commercial health insurance, health insurance. If you sell pet products the category list might be: pet store, pet supplies, dog grooming, etc.


3. Create an online landing page.

You wouldn’t install a telephone in your store and then never answer it when it rang. Nor should you assume you’re going to get found online and effectively attract new customers if you don’t have an online “landing page.”

An online landing page is designed to entice a visitor to take a specific action. In this case you are trying to not only get found online, but attract new customers by enticing them to take action. For most people and businesses selling products and services locally the best use of a landing page is to use it to make some sort of offer and then invite visitors to take some action. The offer doesn’t have to be a monetary discount; it can be anything you want. It only has to have some form of value to the potential customer.


4. Make offers online

Value is one of the key elements of marketing. Make them online. Offers create instant value for your customers and potential customers.

That action can be in many forms as well. To connect with you on social media sites, to get a discount, receive promotions, subscribe to a newsletter, find more information, to be part of the group or to share referrals or write reviews.


That’s not all;

Search engines know what actions were taken by those people that conduct a keyword search using their search engine. They know the results of that search. They know how many people clicked on a link to your “landing page,” they know how many people clicked on directions to your location or clicked on your phone number. The more clicks you get, the more “relevant” you are.


5. Invite customers to write online reviews.

Online reviews can be placed on many different sites, some bigger and more powerful than others but all with the potential to have an impact on your business. Similarly to your online business listing, search engine crawlers and local business listing platforms collect, compare and share reviews about local companies. The result is improved overall online visibility.


This is how to make your business more prominent online.


6. Get your business listed everywhere.


There are literally hundreds of powerful websites that use local business listings to provide their visitors relevant and valuable information. Its logical and correct to assume that the more places you have your business information listed, the more likely you are to get found online. What makes this opportunity so good today is that most of these websites want more than just your name, address and phone number. They want pictures, videos, descriptions and all sorts of additional information that help make their visitors happy. You can learn more about why listing your business everywhere is so important by clicking here.


This is really important;

What the big search engines don’t explain very clearly is that “prominence” is a numbers game. In other words, the more places your business is listed the more “prominent” you are. Search engines use this information to rank local businesses. They call each separate listing a citation. Generally speaking, the more citations you have the higher your business will rank on search results pages.

It’s also important to understand that for these citations to help your search engine ranking, all the basic information that each citation contains needs to be exactly the same. Citations you post that are not exactly the same will be considered different businesses by search engine spiders and subsequently won’t count toward your “prominence” score.


Use a service;

To make listing your business easier, you can use a service to distribute your business name, address and phone number and additional information to local business directories, search engines and social networks. This not only will save you lots of time and energy, but it ensures your listings are uniformly consistent across the Internet.


Another point about your business listings online;

Many independent online business directories have become very powerful sites. Facebook and Yelp are just a couple of examples. These sites now incorporate their own internal search engines and have millions of visitors that use them regularly searching for local products and services. If your business isn’t listed or you’re not managing it, you’re not in the competition.


7. Create a YouTube channel.

The use and popularity of online videos is growing at an incredible rate and is project to continue to be a very popular way to disseminate information, communicate and entertain viewers. In addition, YouTube is not only owned by Google, but YouTube is now essentially the second largest search engine in the world behind Google.


8. Create social networking accounts on at least Google + and Facebook.

If you don’t already have an account on Google+ and Facebook, you need to create one. While there are other very powerful online social networking sites that may be very useful to you and your business, Google+ and Facebook are must haves.


Why does this matter?

Social media helps provide social proof that you are not only “relevant” to people, but you in fact offer some form of value to the people who are connected to you. That’s assuming that you are using social media to effectively communicate and interact with customers and potential customers. If you don’t think social media sites would work for you, check out these social media statistics from Hubspot  here.


More Information

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Author: Jim Merrick