When it comes to optimizing your local business for search, you know that directories play a significant role in building authority for a company. But we know you’re cooler than that. You want more from your local search optimization strategy. You want to get SOCIAL!!!
Why You Can’t Ignore Social Optimization
You can’t afford not to create a social media strategy for three reasons:
1. Reputation Management
As a rule, you should claim as many social media listings as you can now, so someone else can’t do it later. Even if you never make an update, controlling your business name on a social account will prevent someone posing as your brand.
Use Knowem or Namecheck to see what you might have available.
2. Search Engine Optimization
We’ve said this many times before, but Google and Bing both confirm that Twitter and Facebook influence SEO. So do Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and others.
When customers search for brand names, social profiles create more opportunities for clicks and traffic because they occupy valuable space on search engine results pages.
If you don’t create and optimize these profiles, you’re leaving referral traffic (and money) on the table.
3. Secondary Contact List
Social media fans are a valuable commodity. If you can make your brand interesting and create an active social media routine, you can foster an engaged audience that will willingly allow you to advertise to them FOR FREE.
Social Audience + Social Strategy = Referral Traffic/Assisted Conversions/More Money
Align Your Social Networks with Your Website Information
There’s a lot of information out there about optimizing each individual social network, but the main rule to follow is to never leave an information section blank. When filling out your profiles, you should focus on including the following information:
- Business name
Try to use your official business name as it would appear in the phonebook. Also, don’t include keywords or city names, unless it’s a part of the official name.
- Phone number
This should be a local phone number. If you don’t see a spot to include your phone number, add it into your business description as a call-to-action.
When you add a link to your website, make sure you include the “http://.” Most of the time, this will activate the link in a social network description.
Take any opportunity to include your complete address. Social networks like Facebook, Google+ and Foursquare provide map listings for business locations. If there isn’t enough room for your address, include your city, even if it’s in the profile description.
- Link to other social networks
When possible, link to your other social accounts. For instance, certain social networks will have a field where you can enter your Twitter handle. Always make sure these fields are filled in if they are presented.
Where to Start Your Local Social Optimization Strategy
If you’re just getting started, I took the liberty of highlighting the location information in each of the most popular social networks. I recommend the average business owner create the following business accounts:
Everyone has a Facebook personal account. Facebook Pages are different because they represent a company, organization or public figure. Most importantly, Facebook pages allow you to advertise your company on Facebook.
Google+ Business Pages
Just like Facebook, Google+ for Business is different than a Google+ personal profile. Google+ pages do not have advertising yet, but page listings do often appear as blended Google search results.
If you created a Google Places account, you now have a Google+ Local account. It might be the most important local/social account because Google+ Local pages display Zagat reviews, which pits them head-to-head against Yelp. Google is slowly integrating Google+ Local with Google+ Business pages, so keep a close eye on your business page over the next few months.
This is the current LinkedIn Company Page, but keep an eye out for changes that should be rolling out soon.
Twitter is a must for most businesses. At the very least, you can add your location and website to your bio.
For businesses, it’s simple to connect your Twitter account to your Pinterest profile. However, it currently isn’t possible to link a Pinterest account with a Facebook Page.
Here’s a look at the web-based version of Foursquare. This information will also show up in the mobile app.
You might have noticed we’ve been answering questions about local SEO this month. Do you have any questions about optimizing your social networks for local SEO? Post them in comments and we’ll answer them on October 2nd in our Local SEO Q&A blog post!
Google + Local: Right NAP Wrong W
Have you ever had to deal with Google showing a local business’s Google + local page with about 1000 reviews, the right NAP, but the wrong URL?
The business is locate in an area with multiple business at the same address.
We have contact Google (through the #@$& support channels they offer) at least 10x, and update the Places account.
The URL missmatch has been happening for about 5 months. I have seen 3 different URL’s show up in the places account. I noticed the issues arise around the Penguin update. The business uses branded URL 301 redirects to it’s main site (against my advise) from citations and in marketing material.
It sounds like you might have multiple listings for your local business in your Google Places account. Check out my post about optimizing your Google+ Local page and let me know if that answered any of your questions: http://www.portent.com/blog/social-media/optimize-google-local-business.htm.
Leverage is KEY! There are multiple ways to generate business citations from online sources but the main factors are accuracy, page rank and relevancy.
If the location changes, then update the existing citations and the local landing page of the website. This will solve the issue of 301 redirects. Link the places URL to the local landing page.
If that doesn’t not work, then use citation building services or data aggregators that update the information.
That’s spot on advice. Thanks for sharing.
In addition to connecting your social profiles to each other, you should customize each profile so that it better reflects the brand presence you have built on your website. Facebook Timeline and Google+ have allowed for larger banners, and Twitter just rolled out a more customizable profile page. The more consistent brand image you can project across your social media sites, the better brand awareness you can create.
That’s a really good point. Like I was saying in my post, it’s critical to reflect as much website information as possible on your social media assets. I think one of the reasons businesses overlook updating items like banners is due to limited resources and the constant changing landscape of social networks. You probably saw it, but we just profiled how to update your Twitter account with a new header image: http://www.portent.com/blog/social-media/new-twitter-headers.htm.