Whether your Sacramento-area business serves consumers, businesses or both, claiming certain business listings and optimizing the listings that you’ve claimed makes good online marketing sense.
Even if your businesses sells its product or services outside of the Greater Sacramento area, business listing sites are worth paying attention to. The top listing site, Google My Business, recently added a new option that extends the services potential reach beyond just attracting a local audience.
In addition to providing greater visibility for your business, a claimed (or created) online business listing can drive more traffic to your website due to an hidden factor.
The factor is that each claimed business listing can mean an additional authoritative backlink for your business’s website. Quality backlinks are important to how search engines generally regard your business’s online authority.
Most listings encourage businesses to upload photos that provide a visual impression of your business to viewers. As such, the various services either explicitly or implicitly discourage stock photography.
No matter what business you are in, consider taking your own good quality pictures of the three P’s — People, product and premises — and posting these to your business listings. It’s always good practice to keyword the filenames of your photos. You may even want to consider adding metadata to your photos using an Exif editor.
Your business should have profiles in the three business listings below if:
- People visit your business, even if it’s only occasionally
- You or your staff visits customer sites, even if it’s only occasionally
If people never visit your business and your street address doesn’t even need to be publicized (or you don’t want it publicized), the following three business listing services all allow your physical address to be hidden from public view. Your city or town name plus “California” will still display.
Here’s our GMB profile in Google Search.
1. Google My Business (GMB)
Because it’s part of Google and the most visited business listing, Google My Business (GMB) may well be the most important listing for any business to claim and optimize.
Indications are that Google wants all types of businesses — from small local consumer businesses to large international B2B businesses — to have a GMB listing.
If Google did not automatically create a GMB listing for you, it’s a simple process to create your own.
GMB all but states, “add lots of photos and add them often”.
Here’s an example of a Rancho Cordova based business that took Google’s advice to heart. This GMB profile has more photos than any Sacramento-area business that we could find.
Photos are one of the key points of optimization of GMB.
Until June 2017, GMB did not allow for the addition of any free form text that could provide a more complete description of a business or its services. That capability is now somewhat available with the new Posts functionality. Posts allow for up to 1,500 words. However, Posts only have a shelf live of seven days.
2. Bing Places for Business
Bing is second to Google in visits. Because Bing is the default search engine for some versions of Windows, a Bing Places for Business listing should be claimed or created.
Bing Places for Business allows for adding:
- Basic Info – company name, website, physical address
- Category Information – multiple categories can be added
- Contact Details – phone number, email address, Twitter profile, Facebook Page
- Business Hours – includes special hours for specific dates
- Photos of Your Business – up to 10 photos
Bing Places for Business offers limited opportunities for optimization. Category Information and Photos of Your Business offer the most flexibility.
Manta is a large, searchable database of businesses. Here are the Sacramento area listings alone.
Manta offers significantly more editorial control of a business listing and therefore more optimization options than any other service.
Unlike most listing sites, which require categorizing a business from a predefined list of categories, Manta lets you use your own words to categorize your business. This is particularly important when your business’s offering is not covered by a canned list of categories.
Manta allows you to create a free-form short description of your business that’s up to 150 characters. You can also add a detailed description of up to 2,500 characters. Other options include product or service showcase pages and brands carried (great for resellers).
All this means that you can more accurately and fully describe your product or service on your Manta listing compared to other online business listings.
Here’s a Rocklin-based business we found that serves a niche market and that has a relatively complete Manta profile.
While Manta doesn’t have the clout of Google or Microsoft, it’s a listing site worth claiming and optimizing for a wide range of business types.
Other Business Listing Services
If you have a small, local Sacramento-area business and people frequent your location, there are many other business listing services to consider claiming or creating, some of which your business may already be listed on. These include:
- Yellow Pages
- Yahoo Local
Regardless which online business listings you claim or create and optimize, make sure the NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) components are consistent across listings. When search engines such as Google are evaluating your business’s online presence in order to ultimately determine rankings in search, this consistency is taken into account.