We’ve mentioned that word of mouth now happens online.
People are talking up their favorite businesses directly; they’re consuming and sharing content they find useful or entertaining from those businesses; and they’re asking connections for recommendations. Your business has an opportunity to be part of more of these conversations.
The more you can do to keep your business top of mind and make it easy for others to talk about you, the more you increase the chances of people recommending or seeking you out when they need what you offer. Beyond being part of the conversation, you must understand what people may find when they go looking for your business specifically by name, or by something your business offers.
And, of course, be aware that if people don’t find your business when they go looking online, it begs the question, “Does your business even exist?”
What do people find when they go looking online for your business? It’s no secret that people turn to search engines like Google to get more information about the businesses they’re investigating.
Let’s take a look at some of the things that may show up on a search engine results page, or SERP, when someone searches for a business by name:
• Paid ads
• Organic (non-paid) search results
• Google My Business listing
• Social Media accounts
• Info from other sites
What if people are looking for something your business offers? In the example on the previous page, we searched for a specific business by name. But, people don’t always search by name. Sometimes they know they want to buy a product or a service, but they don’t know who offers it. Then they type in a more generic search term, like “restaurants near me” or “tax preparers.”
If we apply these results to what may show up for your business, your customers may find:
• Your website
• Social media accounts
• Review sites
• Business listings
• Competitor listings
Here’s the reality: If you’re not online, prospects can’t find you. Whether people search for your business by name or something related to your business, your customers and prospects should be able to find you. Your job is to make sure your business can be found, the information is accurate, and that you’re answering the questions your potential customers may have. As people visit your website and click through from various search results, they’re starting to form opinions about your business. Ultimately, they’re asking themselves, “Is this the right business for me?” If your business is present, engaging and interacting, and providing resources, you’ll increase the chances of people finding your business and choosing you.
Some steps to take:Search for your business. What information shows up? Is it what you were expecting? Is there anything there that surprises you? Is there something missing?
Search for generic terms for your business. Is your business there in either an organic or paid perspective?