SIMPLE SECRETS TO BETTER BUSINESS LISTINGS
In this Q&A, our VP of Strategic Services Amy Yaeger and Digital Marketing Coordinator Kelly Krebsbach team up to give you the lowdown on two online business directories where your organization needs to be listed: Google Business and Yelp.
Online business directories are critical to your online marketing plan because they help users search for local services – and being listed helps your search engine optimization (SEO) because having a listing makes it easier to find your organization, while creating a link directly back to your organization’s website (i.e., a backlink).
What is a Google business listing?
KK: A Google business listing, known officially as Google Business Profile or Business Profile, is a free online business listing that appears when someone googles your business; if someone is searching on a mobile device, it appears at the top of the results page, whereas on a desktop, a Google Business Profile appears on the right side.
Your Business Profile is a snapshot of your website: You provide basic information about your organization, including name, address, website, business hours, phone number, photos and a brief bio about your organization.
To get started, go to google.com/business; you can also edit your listing directly on the search result (remember that you have to be signed into your Google account that is connected to your Business Profile).
Google Business Profile also allows users to utilize reviews and make suggestions, including changes to items such as your business hours or upload their own photos. There’s even a Questions and Answers section on your profile where consumers can ask questions – and you should respond because it contributes to improving your overall social engagement.
The Google reviews section of your Business Profile is one of the most important aspects of having a profile because having more reviews – and especially more positive ones! – helps your ranking, which means that your listing appears higher in Google’s search results and it’s more likely that people will visit your website. You can find out more about how this works in this article How to Improve Your Local Ranking on Google (Hint: Google Business Profile Help provides a lot of articles like this one to help you figure out how it all works!).
There are quite a few tools in Google Business Profile that allow you to “upgrade” your listing: for instance, you can link out to your social media profiles and also create updates or announcements with the Posts feature.
Chances are you’ve used this directory many times, but now that you have some background on how it works, give it a try: Search for one of your favorite local restaurants to see what other businesses have done. Or better yet: When was the last time you put your organization’s name into Google? Search for your facility and check out what others are seeing. What you find (or don’t) might surprise you.
What’s a Yelp listing?
AY: It’s a lot like a Google Business Listing; a listing on Yelp is also free and shows your business information, reviews and photos. But a Yelp listing may already be in place for your organization, even though it is unclaimed by your organization; you definitely want to see if that’s the case, claim it and make sure that the information that appears there is accurate.
As Kelly pointed out, Google offers a lot of educational materials to help you get the most out of your listings; here are a couple of other helpful resources to look into:
- Yext Listings
- 25 Free Local Business Directories for Small Businesses
- The Ultimate List: 50 Online Local Business Directories
It sounds like Google Business and Yelp are basically the same thing – does my healthcare organization need to be on both?
AY: They both provide an overview of your organization and allow for user-generated content such as photos, reviews and Q&As, but we recommend both because neither is the clear winner in the review space and they both help to manage your organization’s reputation. Plus, the device someone is using affects the default listing they see: Yelp is the default in Apple Maps for iPhone users, while a Google Business listing will show up by default in the search app on an Android device.
Are there differences between the two directories?
KK: For one, Yelp is its own platform, whereas your Google Business Profile is integrated into a Google search, which means you don’t have to scroll and click on an outside website.
AY: On the other hand, Yelp is used by more 90 million people a month to find restaurants, services and more – and it’s the most common place consumers go for reviews.
Why is it important for my healthcare organization to be listed on either of these online business directories?
KK: Your healthcare organization should be using Google Business Profile because it provides people with the basic information they need (hours, location, phone number, directions/mapping, etc.) by simply searching the organization’s name, which is a quick and convenient way to get information in a hurry.
It also gives people a view of what others are saying about your organization and potentially answers to questions that they might have; when you include photos in your listing, it also tells people what your organization looks like inside and out, which people find really helpful, especially if they’re unfamiliar with your organization.
AY: You want to be informed about how your organization is perceived by the public; being aware of what the public is putting out about your organization on social media is a great way to gauge this perception. When you have ownership of your business listings – in other words, when you claim your listings – it’s easier to gather the voice of the customer and then to meet your customers where they are at by responding to their reviews, whether they are positive or negative. And remember that sharing these reviews – the public’s perception of your organization – within your organization helps make your organization stronger and better able to serve your patients, visitors and community.
How do I set up a Google Business listing?
KK: First, make sure you are signed into your Google account.
If your business is not already on Google Maps, go to Google Maps and type in your business’s address and right click anywhere on the map; then click “Add business.”
Follow the steps to sign in to your Business Profile. If your business is already on Google Maps, you can type the business address into the search bar and hit “Claim this business” then “Manage now.”
You’ll then have to verify your business: Google will give you the option of different methods to do this; choose which one to go with. After your Business Profile is verified, you can start adding information to it such as your address (which may have already been added for verification), hours, phone number, services provided, bio, pictures, etc. After that, you’re good to go!
Tip: Once you’ve established your Google Business Profile, there is a section where you can add particular services for a specific location. In addition, multiple people can manage your Business Profile so that one person doesn’t have to be the only one running it. Finally, you can view your Business Profile insights, which tells you how many people saw your listing through Google search or Google Maps, as well as see how many people click on the links to your website, phone number or directions, as well as how many people viewed your photos.
How do I set up a Yelp listing?
AY: Go to yelp.com and claim your business through their free step-by-step instructions. One thing about Yelp that’s a little different: Claiming your business requires receiving a postcard that is mailed to your organization (instead of the electronic authentication processes that Google offers), so keep an eye out for that postcard.
Once I’ve got my listings complete, am I done – or do I need to regularly monitor/update them?
KK: You definitely need to monitor and update your listings! Whenever you update your website with info, take a look at your listings to see if those need to be updated with that same information as well. Another thing to make time for is replying to reviews, questions and comments. To make it easier on yourself when responding to reviews, have templates prepared to use as a basis when replying (that way you’re not starting from scratch each time).
AY: Set up alerts to your organization so that you are immediately notified when someone comments on your listing – that way you can respond to them in a timely manner.
What’s the biggest mistake people make concerning these listings?
KK: The biggest mistake people make with listings like these is not managing them. They’ll set everything up and then just leave it – don’t forget about managing your listings! Sometimes people look only at your Google Business Profile when searching for your organization because it’s the first thing they see, so if a phone number is wrong or the hours are not accurate, that doesn’t look good for your organization. Too many organizations also forget to regularly check their Google Profile’s reviews and Q&A sections: There may be an issue or question people have and if it’s not addressed, they can have a negative impression of your organization (which they might be more than happy to share with others!).
AY: Another big one is not including photography in your listing – don’t let the platform place the photography for your organization (the image that is placed by the platform may not even be your facility – it could be the gas station next door).
There’s a lot of good, free information available online, but if your organization is stretched thin on time or resources, we’re here to help: Give Legato’s President Mike Milligan a call today at 920.544.8102 ext.101.