Posted on October 30, 2020 by Kyle Greenwood From selling widgets to producing doo-dads, almost any company is in the business of giving potential customers what they want and trying to turn a profit in the process. For those businesses that have been around for six or seven decades, the customer base is already in place (although they could always use a few more). If you’re just starting out, building that customer base will take some time. But you’re a custom woodworker or costume designer or authentic Austrian bakery – not a marketer. And you certainly aren’t a web designer. But as print advertising and other traditional forms of marketing continue to dip, building an online presence ASAP is job number one. Byte by Byte In fact, the internet may already have your NAP information: Name, Address, and Phone Number. Drawing from several online sources (such as governmental licensing websites) as well as manually entered information, these directories get your information to bolster their listings. Google, Bing, and Yahoo are the obvious ones, but there are several others as well. That listing information is very important. An incorrect address or phone number will propagate throughout the web, leading potential customers to incorrect addresses or frustrating phone calls. During those first consultations with you, Webfor will always clarify and verify your NAP information. It’s one of the very first, and most important, steps to building your presence. Think how annoying it is when you search for an address of a local business only to find yourself looking at an empty storefront when you arrive. When it comes to local search results, you only get one chance to make a first impression. In all honesty, you don’t need to hire an awesome digital market agency like Webfor to verify your listing. Search for your business name, go through the different directories, and double-check the information about your business. It may take some time, especially if there are errors to correct. Build Your Base These efforts are the foundation of any online presence. Why? When a potential customer searches Google for a product or service, one of Google’s algorithms depends on information that is consistent. If a small business owner has two or three different addresses spread out over 20 different directories, the search engine will simply pass on by. Sure, you may show up on page 40 or 50, but how often do people even get to page four or five of search results? Or even the fourth or fifth listing on the first page? Think about it: Just how far do you go when looking for something you need? Are your potential customers going to act any differently? There is a LOT that has to happen in order to rank higher in search results. Without an easy to navigate website, search engine optimization, killer content, and other marketing steps, you probably won’t rank very high for generic searches. But when people are looking for you specifically, make sure they’re getting the right information. GMB? You Know Me! While making sure your NAP information is correct everywhere is obviously important, let’s not kid ourselves: Google is where it’s at! They handle more than 90 percent of the world’s searches. They’re a verb for goodness sakes! Bing and Yahoo ring in at numbers two and three, and it’s wise to cater to those sites as well. But first things first. It’s Google’s game, so make sure to play with their ball. Just like any other business, they want to keep growing their customer base. Even if it means offering a wide range of free products for anyone who wants them. They are behemoth, but a benevolent behemoth. And that’s great news for you and other small businesses. By building a robust Google My Business Listing, you have the ability to present yourself online professionally without knowing a snippet of code. Pictures, hours of operations, services or products, reviews, and more are available. Mobile phone searches overtook desktop searches years ago, so the Google My Business (GMB) profile has been optimized for smartphone use. You may even be using your phone to read this very blog right now. Open a new browser window, search for “Webfor,” and take a look at what a Google My Business Profile can look like. Complete with NAP information, one-touch phone dialing, directions, maps, hours, questions, reviews, photos, and just a whole mess of other information. GMB profiles can be highly valuable — even if you don’t have a website yet. Until you have a website of your own, a completed GMB Listing is the next best thing. When You’re Ready For more than a decade, Webfor has been helping small local business owners, regional companies, and nationwide organizations build – and build on – their online presence. And creating a GMB account or improving a GMB page is one of the first steps we take for each and every client. But we’re also a heckuva web design firm. If you want to learn more about what we offer, or how we can help your online presence beyond digital listings, let us know.