Whether you’re a Veteran who owns a business with a web presence, or a business owner in general. OwnedbyVets.com points out that if you have not claimed your free search engine “My Business” listing feature, you are missing out on a Key piece of your internet marketing strategy.
What is “My Business (My Places)”
Everyone has noticed those map listings of businesses on the right side of the page when searching for a certain product or service. Since the “dark ages” of the internet, when I began as an internet marketer, search engines like Google have realized that offering services like these make it more likely for a user to stay engaged on the search engine, more engagement from the user means more market share for the search engine.
Eventually the search engines leveraged this feature and now actually charge larger companies like delivery services etc. based on the large number of people using the maps feature to search for their business. Trust me, if your Veteran owned business is reaching these levels of users searching for your business in the maps feature that the search engines want to start billing you, you’re doing well.
When I say that being listed on the search engine maps is a key part of your internet marketing strategy, I mean that it is one of the indicators that the search engines use when grading (ranking) your website. If a search engine can associate a physical location with your business, it makes them feel better that you are not just a Spam website.
Why Every Veteran Owned Business Needs To Be On The Map
While you hear most people talk about Google My Business, you can claim your listing here, you don’t want to forget about Bing Places for Business, you can claim your listing here. While Google may be the dominant player in the search engine space, Bing and Yahoo (the merged a few years ago) are the second player in the market.
“My Business” (or “my places”, over the years the name has changed a few times) is a straightforward service from the search engines that helps a small business make themselves visible and searchable on the internet, by people from a particular geo-area that the business services. Even if you ship anywhere, having your physical location listed acts as a starting point for the search engines.
Claiming your search engine listings and having the information correct is also important because aggregators (a website or program that collects related items of content and displays them or links to them. Example: Yelp) pull their information from Google, Bing or Facebook so if your information isn’t correct in these places it will be duplicated incorrectly other places on the web. I will say that the search engines have gotten better at updating business information, in the past if your business information was incorrect it would take a Kidney (not quite) to get the information corrected.
Claiming Your “My Business (My Places)” Page Helps With SEO
“My Business” allows you to add a description of your business and some of your focus keywords to your profile as well as a link back to your website or main page. All these items will add checkmarks in the plus column when the search engine “bots” come crawling.
Setting up your “My Business” accounts is also a cost-effective way of marketing, it’s Free!! (You can’t get more cost-effective than that) especially when you might be on a tight budget.
What if You are Using a P.O. Box?
In the good old days I could sign up dozens of clients with my own Gmail account and they were pretty much good-to go, but as Spam increased and the “Black “Hat” SEO guys tried to “game” the search engines, the search engines got wise as they always do and now require dedicated emails addresses and physical locations to be provided along with a verification process. The search engines will not allow you to enter a P.O. Box either since this is not considered a ‘physical’ business location.
If you don’t have a physical store location because you deliver your products to a customer, or you provide a service at your customers’ location, you can verify your business using your home address. The search engines will just ask you to specify this during the sign-up process, just make sure to indicate that the customers do not come to your home.
Review and Verify Your My Business Page
As you can see, your My Business page determines how your information will show in the search engine results. Since you are in control of this information, you have to make sure that the details of your business are listed accurately. The search engines will try to determine your location and other relevant information, but there is no substitute to reviewing it yourself or using a trusted third-party.
Once you submit your listing, the search engines will send you a pin code verification to use to finish the process.
Take a Few Minutes to Make a Big Difference
The few minutes it will take you to set up your listings, whether you do it yourself or you hire a trusted third-party to set them up for you will be a big key to your internet marketing success. While it might not translate in huge traffic gains immediately, it will be a key piece in staying on good terms with the search engines, after all they are the gate-keepers of the internet and it will be much easier for traffic to find your business if you follow the search engine’s rules.
You can find more internet marketing tips and posts about Veteran owned businesses on our blog at www.ownedbyvets.com. A network devoted to supporting Veteran owned businesses and the “American Made” spirit. Like and Follow us on your favorite Social Media to see links to their profiles.