In today’s ultra-cyber landscape, it’s more important than ever to make sure your business and content rank high on web results and show up consistently. Nowadays, 92% of customers search online for information about products and services. When they Google for your industry, does your business show up? The web is the new Yellow Pages and marketing hub of the world and your business should be presented in the best possible way. When it’s done right, more customers will find you and will get the right information about you.
How Business Listings Affect Your Web Ranking?
Business listings show the vital pieces of information about your company – your company name, your phone number, your location, your hours, and possibly even photos and a description of your business history. Internet directories automatically create business listings for your company from the pieces of information they find online. This results in mismatched business listings that confuse customers or missing information that generates needless phone calls to your business with mundane questions about hours and address details.
Business listings also increase your company’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). Every legitimate mention of your business pushes your rankings higher. Google rewards consistent business listings. Because of this, you want to make sure your NAP (name, address, and phone number) are uniform. If your business listings show different addresses, Google may decide that each address represents a different company, which will keep you further down on the search results.
Why You Should Fix Your Business Listings?
You may be familiar with big-name internet directories, such as Google Places, Bing Places, Yahoo, Yelp, and YellowPages.com, but did you know that there are hundreds of other directories as well? When someone searches for your business on Facebook, do they land on a business page that’s owned by you or is it populated by random references from customers? The web is a complicated labyrinth of information and it takes a strategic approach to get your business listed correctly.
Each time your business information changes, you want the correct information to land in the hands of online directories as soon as possible. You can’t afford to lose customers because the internet said you were closed when you were open or because your customers showed up at the address advertised online and found a shuttered building. It pays to get your business listings up to par and keep them there.
How to Fix Your Business Listings?
You can begin establishing a cohesive and effective internet presence by tackling the most well-known online directories, particularly the ones mentioned above. That will make an indent in the task of maintaining a positive online image. However, to be really effective, you need to update more than just the main five. To do this, you will need to search for and update each directory. Experts recommend selecting at least 20 that are the most pertinent to your business. You’ll need to sift through directories that claim big things, but actually produce few, or even detrimental, results.
If the tedious task of finding, claiming, and correcting your business listings is too much for you, you will benefit from getting a business listing management service to handle the task for you. A service like this will stay on top of your business listings and keep hundreds of directories on task with the right information. When you’ve got a business to run, you don’t want to be stuck updating your business name, address, and phone number on 253 different directories! This is where a business listing management service becomes a wise investment. At Optimize Worldwide, we’ve chosen to partner with Yext to offer expert assistance with business listing management. Local RankWatch is another tool which provides business listing management. It can also find your business listings on a blog forum or a niche specific website for any business.
If you’re curious how your business is listed on the web, utilize this free listing optimization scan.
How Indexing Your Content Affects Your Web Ranking?
Soon after the internet arrived on the scene, content marketing started becoming an international buzzword. Content of all forms began hitting the web – articles, photos, videos, white papers, infographics, and more. With content, companies were able to draw consumers to their business, hence the term content marketing. With the massive influx of content came the need to rank on the first page of search results. After all, as I like to say, “The best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google.”
Enter Google Search Console, formerly known as, Webmaster Tools. This set of tools is invaluable when it comes to promoting your website and content. A few quick clicks will push your content to the SERPs within one day or less. Many webmasters and bloggers neglect to take advantage of Fetch as Google tool and wonder why it takes weeks and sometimes even months for their content to show in search results. This delays ROI – by the time consumers even see the content, it’s already outdated.
How to Index Your Content?
Our SEO team, especially, uses the Fetch as Google and Sitemap submission tools from the Google Search Console toolkit. Bing has similar tools. When you use these tools, they exponentially decrease the time it takes to show in search engines.
On the Crawl menu for both Google and Bing there is a nifty tool, called “Fetch as Google” (and Fetch as Bingbot). Our SEO team uses these on a regular basis. When new content is created, it’s submitted to the search engines via Fetch. While Google says it can take up to 24 hours for them to crawl your content and show it on results, we’ve often seen it show up within a few minutes.
Case in point: A marketer once asked me how long it took for Google search results to show a new page. He had created a new page on his website about two months before, but it was still not showing on search results, regardless of what search terms he used. The webmaster told him that he just had to wait–it could take weeks. While we were on the phone, I submitted his new web page to Google via the Fetch as Google tool. Before we ended the conversation, his page was already showing on the search results. He was duly impressed, and I scored a few brownie points.
Since Google holds 90% of the search engine market share, it pays to cash in on their toolkit. Here’s how you use the Fetch as Google option.
I wrote a piece on Search Engine Watch titled Index Your Content Faster With the Fetch as Google Tool that walks through the Fetch as Google tool in depth with screenshots. Below is a summary of those steps for quick reference.
Step 1: Get set up with Google Webmaster Tools. It’s completely free. This guide, Google Webmaster Tools: An Overview, takes you through the setup process step-by-step.
Step 2: Select the domain name, click on the Crawl option in the left bar to expand the menu, and then click on Fetch as Google.
Step 3: Enter the URL in the field, but leave off your domain name since that’s already there. Click Fetch.
Step 4: Wait until the Fetch Status shows Success, then click Submit to Index.
Step 5: From here, you can select either just the URL (limit of 500 per month) or the URL and all linked pages (limit of 10 per month). It’s best to submit the URL and linked pages if your website has changed substantially. Keep in mind that the URL you submit when using this option will be used as the starting point when Google indexes your web pages. Note: Google does not guarantee that it will always index every URL that is submitted.
How Indexing Helps You Maintain Ownership of Your Content?
Crawling your website on a regular basis lets Google know that you are the originator of your content. Here’s why: If another website pulls your content via an RSS feed and gets their website crawled sooner, they could rank higher on search results. This is called scraping your content. Googlebot rewards websites with a higher domain authority and a more frequent crawl rate. When you use the Fetch as Google tool, it increases your crawl rate, establishes that your website is the originator of the content, and increases your ranking on search results – hopefully higher than the website that tried to steal your content.
The key here is to use the Fetch tool right away when you publish new pages or content. Fetching tells Google that there’s new content on your website. Since Google determines how often your site gets crawled, fetching may increase the frequency that Google will crawl and index your site.
In short: Fetch -> Crawl -> Index -> Visibility on search engine results
It’s not enough to put up a website or write a blog and expect search engines to magically showcase your business with the right information. Curating your business listings and indexing your content are key strategies in today’s competitive global environment.
When it comes to your business, you want to make sure you put your best foot forward online. You’ve spent valuable resources, expertise, and time to produce your products and services. Don’t let that go to waste when your next customers are just a few clicks away. You want your business to show up on the first page of web results and show up with the right info every time.