Running a business of any size can be a challenge, and one of the most common problems that I see is how people are doing their online marketing . This one simple mistake could be the deciding factor if your local business will excel in today’s economy, and in this post I’m going to show how you can fix it for your small business.

The Number One Mistake That Small Businesses Make

Well, there’s actually two parts to this as they go hand in hand with each other.

The first mistake that I see most small business owners make is not claiming your local listing and filling out the proper information  about your business on the three major search engines.

Just in case you’ve been living in the dark ages the past decade, the three search engines I’m talking about are Google, Yahoo and Bing. Here are the links to claim your listing at each of them:

If you’re not utilizing these free listings, you are missing out on potential customers or clients!

These are completely free to set up, the only thing it will cost you is some time – But, don’t just start clicking on the links and claiming your listing just yet because I’m gonna reveal the second part of the simple mistake  small businesses make.

When you claim these listings, make sure you fill out all of the information possible about your business.

Yahoo won’t let you upload a logo or other images of your business without upgrading to a premium listing, but Google and Bing allow you to upload up to 10 pictures to be featured on your listing – UTILIZE IT!

Along with the pictures of your business, try including an image with a call to action such as “Call Us Today” or even a picture of a current coupon that you offer in a local newspaper. This will help your listing stand out from your competition that doesn’t know about these simple techniques. Another great feature in your Google Places dashboard is the “Offers” tab which allows you to promote a coupon on your page, and another feature that allows you to post live updates to your page to promote special offers and such.

Is That All It Takes To Dominate On Google?

No, what I explained above are just basic steps that every local business should be utilizing to help increase brand awareness and overall exposure.

With thousands of free and paid listings on the web (I’m personally not a fan of the paid listings, but in certain cases they can be useful), you should utilize all of the free directories related to your business because it will help you gradually see an increase in rankings and traffic to your website.

Every time you list your business information on these directories, it gives you a backlink to your website from theirs and it’s making a citation of your business information on the web. This gives your business a sense of credibility in the search engines eye’s because of all these other sites pointing to yours.

There are other things that also factor in to get top rankings, such as:

  • A well structured website for the search engines and your visitors
  • An overall positive rating from different user reviews across the web
  • A good social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, G+ and others similar social media sites)
  • A good product or service offered to your customers

I think the last one in that list is the first and foremost important aspect because if you don’t provide value to your customers they will not return. But, in order to get your business found by new customers, it’s important that you at least cover the basics that I listed here so that you can be “in the running” with your competition.

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