Moving into paid search territory can be daunting for many businesses. It’s an added expense, and creating an effective campaign takes time.
Despite the challenges, PPC (pay-per-click, paid search) can be a great way for businesses to target their market, gain visibility and drive leads in a cost-effective manner. (And despite the insider jargon and cryptic acronyms, pay-per-click advertising isn’t as complicated or difficult as you might think.)
When you create a new listing in Google’s Local Business Center (LBC), you may be prompted if there are existing listings for your business. For those unfamiliar with the LBC, it’s where you create a business profile that shows up in Google Maps, as well as the natural search listings. Here’s an example:
Why would there already be a listing for your business? Because Google sometimes creates listings for businesses that have not yet created their own, and it does this by pulling information from sources across the web, including human-powered directories. It’s common that these Google-gathered listings have errors—for example, you may have changed your phone number or relocated since Google gathered its information.
There is often much confusion on what the proper steps are when you discover more than one existing local listing for your business in the search engines. The thing to do is claim and edit the existing listing.
It’s important to remember: For each physical location of your business, you should have only one listing. Having more than one can negatively impact the position of all of your listings, decreasing your visibility among local prospects (bad).
What if there are multiple listings? Google has recommended some steps to take to properly handle multiple listings for their Local Business Center:
- Choose the listing that you’d prefer to keep in your account. Make sure that you have all your enhanced content (photos, business hours, description) attached to this listing and this listing only.
- For duplicates of this listing in your account (the ones you want to remove), remove all enhanced information. Keep only required information, like the business title, address, and one phone number.
- Submit these changes and verify as necessary.
- Now, sit tight for a couple of weeks – just for good measure.
- Delete the duplicates from your account, choosing Remove this listing from my Local Business Center account.
The key point to remember is that it’s crucial to have one optimized listing for your business. This entry should have all of the additional information and be as close to 100 percent complete as possible. Local search has a ton of potential for small business and creating this optimized listing can dramatically increase your visibility among your target market and create a steady stream of free inbound leads.
Summary: Email is a powerful advertising medium, but it won’t do a thing for your small business unless your messages actually get delivered. The key to avoiding the spam folder? Follow federal CAN SPAM regulations and obtain permission from your recipients.
Do you ever get PPC mixed up with the BBC? Or thought that hosting a web site meant that you had to prepare appetizers?
My first forays into online marketing left me asking a lot of questions. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience. Luckily, for people like us, there is a wealth of resources and expert knowledge available on the Internet to help even the greenest of online marketers get started.
My first step was to get a working definition of SEO. I quickly learned that SEO stands for search engine optimization, the process of optimizing your web site so it is easier for the search engines to find it, thus driving more visitors to your site. More visitor traffic means more chances to communicate, and more communication can provide opportunities to produce more sales.
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