Wyoming Business Tips for July 23

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Sarah Hamlin, WSBDC Network regional director

“How can I improve my business’s online visibility?” Krista, Riverton

Google search trends show that 97 percent of consumers scan the internet to find local goods and services, but only 37 percent of business owners have a claimed local directory listing.

During this busy season, and with the Great American Eclipse just one month away, it is time to make sure your business information is displayed correctly online.

Google’s “Get Your Business Online” program offers free Google directory and Google map listings for your business. When returning search results, Google is looking at the following factors:

-- Relevance: How well does a business listing match the search query? If your listing is detailed and up to date, Google will have a better idea of what your business does.

-- Distance: How close is your business to the searcher or the area specified?

-- Prominence: It is gauged by how well known your business is based on the information that Google can find across the internet. This is where having consistent information about your business -- such as name, location and hours -- is important. Consistent business information helps Google evaluate that you are a real business.

All businesses with storefronts -- or owners who see customers in a local service area -- are eligible to have Google listings. Google offers a free diagnostic tool to help you evaluate, or get started, with your business directory listing.

Here are some tips to get started:

-- You will need a Google email address or have registered another email address with Google to start your listing. The listing does not take the place of your other online activity. It is meant to complement your website, social networks, etc.

-- Your business name should match the legal name. Nicknames and slogans should not be included.

-- You will need to include a physical street address. If you work in a home office and do not see clients at your place of business, click “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location.” This will allow you to hide your physical address and create a service area for your business. Remember, this is meant to help you optimize your local search ranking. You want to a pick a service radius that makes sense for your business.

-- P.O. boxes are not allowed, because Google is trying to direct people to your physical location.

-- Google will make you verify that you are the business owner. This will be done, most frequently, with a pin number that comes via postal mail.

-- Take the time to add photos, your hours and website to your listing. Completed listings are believed to be two times more reputable than other listings.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments are available at www.wyomingsbdc.org/blog1/.

For more information, call the WSBDC Network Procurement Technical Assistance Center at (307) 772-7372 or email amlewis@uwyo.edu.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email wsbdc@uwyo.edu, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.



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