Now that the dust seems to be settling a little bit since the Google Search Plus Your World (SPYW) change, one question remains. If you have an online presence, do you need to have a Google+ presence to achieve better search engine rankings? Has Google successfully leveraged its search engine to strengthen its social media product (Google+)? For many people with limited resources, it is probably too soon to be reallocating resources from something else to strengthen your social media presence.
A good social media strategy is sometimes a part of an overall online presence management strategy, but not cost effective for every type of business. A good online presence manager can advise you if social media is a cost effective way to strengthen your online presence, but Google has apparently changed the playing field. In the past the effectiveness from social media was from the social media exposure itself. Now, on Google+ at least, a strong social media presence could conceivably improve search engine rankings.
At least one online retailer who depends on search engine traffic thinks the change now requires them to become more involved with Google+. This article on businessinsider.com details the strategy of the Gilt Groupe (gilt.com). The online retailer relies heavily on search engine traffic to its website.
Jason John, Senior Director of Online Marketing at the Gilt Groupe was quoted as saying “Search is extremely important to us” and “Google will have its way and we will have to focus on Google+. We launched our presence on Google+ yesterday.”
That probably sums of the general consensus of SEO consultants everywhere. Google will have its way. If you want to improve search engine rankings, Google+ has become a part of the SEO mix, whether we like it or not. As SEO experts rush to take advantage of search engine rankings bumps that can be achieved by a strong Google+ presence, don’t get too caught up in the hype. When planning a social media strategy as part of your online presence management strategy, just know the game has changed. If you do anything in social media, Google+ has made itself the place to start.
Google announced a change to its algorithm on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 involving page layout and the placement of ads. The purpose of the change, according to the Google Webmaster Central Blog, was to punish websites with excessive advertising “above the fold”. At first glance this probably seems like a good idea. Nobody likes to sift through search results for a somewhat relevant result, and then when you click over to that page you are assaulted by a barrage of ads that make it impossible to find the content you are really looking for. Google says that the change will only affect 1 in 100 searches. Matt Cutts, Googles SEO guru says that no one who uses “ads above the fold to a normal degree” will be affected. But if you think about it from the web designer’s perspective, how much is “a normal degree”?
When Google speaks, SEO consultants and search engine internet marketing professionals need to listen. The problem in answering the question of what is “a normal degree” is complicated by the mixed message and what some may even call hypocrisy on the part of Google. The image below shows some sample Google search results from my laptop. The red highlighted areas show ads, the green highlights show search results. You be the judge if that would constitute excessive advertisement above the fold.
So what exactly is Google’s definition of excessive advertising? Do they intend to penalize themselves? The hypocrisy has been noted in many blog posts that are critical of this latest change. Some examples are this post on webmonkey.com, and a little more strongly worded response in this blogstorm.co.uk.
Google has every right to change their algorithm. As they have so often pointed out when they have been questioned, competition is only a click away. It is noteworthy that there seems to be growing vitriol expressed every time Google makes an algorithm change. The changes seem to be coming with increasing frequency. Many of the changes lately, though not this one in particular, seem to be Google forcing a change that benefits Google in the name of making search results more relevant. This has led to a growing questioning of motives and actions of Google that speaks to the question of eroding trust in Google as the guardians of their own motto, “Do No Evil”. There was a time when Google was a trusted, seemingly neutral, trusted indexer of the web. There is a growing feeling that the important job of indexing the web is no longer being performed by a trusted, benevolent force. And that should be a problem that Google should worry about.
If you have a website, and you are concerned about better search engine rankings, Google is still, and will remain for the foreseeable future, the biggest game in town, so you have to play. If you want to be successful you have to play by their rules, regardless of any arguments about their fairness. This means now if you have advertising on your front page, keep it below the fold if possible.
If you are logged into your Google account while using Google search, you may notice a change in your results in the coming days. If you also use Google+, you may find some of the changes a little alarming at first. Monday they began rolling out a new feature called “Search plus Your World”. Basically, your search results will now display anything Google finds in “Your World” that are relevant to what you are searching for. By “Your World” Google means anything in your Google+ account that it can index. Any content you’ve posted to your Google+ account, anything friends have shared with you via Google+, any photos that you have tagged, will all be indexed by Google. If any of that Google+ content is relevant to what you are searching, it will be returned at the top of your search results in the “Your World” results section. Danny Sullivan explains some of the details in his blog post in searchengineland.com and with the following images of what the feature:
And what kind of search result you can expect:
The toggle on the right with the person and the world allows you to toggle between personal and web results.
This raises so many issues I hardly know where to begin. The online presence management websites that I follow and the SEO blogosphere have been blowing up about this new feature, and it’s almost all negative. This article in allthingsd.com reviews the responses being voiced all over the web.
The first issue raised, and the one that could potentially cause Google the biggest headache, is that some users who don’t follow search engine news and have heard nothing about this new “feature”, are going to go to Google one day soon, search for something, and see something they thought was personal in their Google+ account splashed across their search results page. The method that Google has chosen to differentiate between personal or “Your World” results and the web results is not immediately intuitive to the casual user, and they are going to feel violated. That’s the last thing Google+ needs right now. Even if they understand the difference, when you go to a search engine are you really looking for personal stuff in the search results? Is anybody going to feel like this feature adds value to the Google experience? I think most people’s reaction will be more like “How come my pictures from my vacation showed up in search results?” possibly followed by “and who else can see them if they search for the right thing?”
Another issue that this raises has anti-trust ramifications in a battle that Google is already waging. Google is already accused of unfairly giving preferential treatment to Google properties such as Youtube in their search results. An FTC hearing is already pending into these matters. Into this mix they are going to throw this “Your World” feature that indexes Google+? Wouldn’t “Your World” online also include Facebook and Twitter for most people? Was this really the time to give the FTC yet another example of how Google intends to leverage their advantage in search to strengthen Google+ as a competitor to Facebook?
It has also heated up Google’s battles with Twitter. Twitter has already spoken out about the new feature, as reported here in allthingsd.com. Twitter General Counsel Alex Macgillivray called Tuesday’s launch “a bad day for the internet”. In case you’re not familiar with the history between Google and Twitter, Google used to have a paid deal to access Twitter’s “firehose” of live feeds, but last summer Twitter decided not to renew the agreement, and Google was forced to remove it’s real time product, and now has to crawl to index tweets. Twitter said in a statement yesterday that they think the changes will make it harder for users to find relevant data for real time events (tweets), and they said the Google’s changes are “bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users”.
A final issue I have with the change is how the new feature raises will affect Search Engine Optimization (SEO). How is this really going to impact SERP results? If searchers have more personal results, it will push organic results down the page. Will there still be ten organic search results on the first page, no matter how large the personal results are? I think there is no questions that it will impact search engine result page (SERP) in some way, but it probably too early to fully estimate the impact here. If you are an SEO consultant, you may need to prepare yourself to explain to your clients why their rankings look different to them. Online presence managers need to keep an eye on this developing story, and how it could impact your search results.
John Battelle said it best in this blog post about the situation: “Remember when Google used to be a neutral player that crawled the whole dern web?”. He goes on to make a good point that the internet big five (Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook) are all trying to be all things to all people. They are all trying to build private ecosystems where we are happiest if we never leave. Strengthening the Google product offering is one thing, but building walls around the Google ecosystem to keep things out (and us in?) is another. That may serve the best interest of the big five, but I sure don’t think it serves ours.
Google has made some moves to indicate it is placing increasing emphasis on getting its pay-per-click advertising program, Adwords, into the hands of small, local businesses. A recent article on fastcompany.com pointed out some of the tools Google has developed, and plans to continue developing in 2012, that make it easier for small businesses to take advantage of the Adwords program, which generates the fast majority of Google’s revenue. They also hypothesized on Google’s motivation for making a push to indoctrinate small businesses into the Adwords fold, as well as citing some interesting statistics on small businesses and the web.
The first study they cited was a BIA/Kelsey report that says that 97% of all consumers now go online to research products or services in their local area. If you are a small local business and you do not have a strong online presence, it is practically impossible for new customers to find you. Small businesses seem to be figuring this out, though, as evidenced by the results of the next study cited. This study by Ad-ology examined small businesses (businesses with less than 100 employees) and web presence. Just three years ago, only 54% of small business had a website. Today that number is 82%. If you have a small business, the writing is on the wall. People are searching for you online, they are researching you online, and they are making purchasing decisions with the information they find online. Having a strong online presence management strategy is the fastest and most cost effective marketing you can do. The only question is how you use this information to plan for success. You can become an early adopter of an online presence management strategy, and take advantage of this trend to leap ahead of your competition. You could sit back, stay in the pack, struggle against your competition, and wait and see if this whole internet thing really takes off. If you fight it long enough, you could be left behind in the dust, still hoping your yellow page ad will drive you enough business to eke out an existence.
Google launched Adwords 11 years ago. Advertisers could buy search terms, and have their ads displayed every time someone searched for those keywords. It was incredibly successful, generating most of Google’s revenue. It has also grown increasingly complex, giving rise to an industry of online marketing consultants to advise Adwords customers on how to best use the product. Last summer, Google launched “Adwords Express”, designed to be easier and faster to use, to make the entry path into the program for small businesses smoother. Google now seems committed to a market share of the business community they may have once ignored. It’s probably no coincidence that this comes at a time when competition for advertising dollars is heating up. Google is feeling some pressure as advertising alternatives from social media like Facebook have created some potential competition. The article quotes Google’s Francoise Brougher, vice president of global SMB sales and operations as saying “We are making it a priority now to ensure small businesses are successful” and “In the next 12 months there will be more products coming out for small businesses.”
If you are a small business owner who has been on the fence about spending marketing dollars to strengthen your online presence, there has never been a better time to make that move. Search engine internet marketing, search engine advertising, website SEO, and online presence management are the keys to your future business success. Now may be a better time than ever to take charge of your online presence.
In his predictions for SEO for 2012, one of the things that Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOMoz.org predicted was that overly aggressive advertising will trigger a backlash against Google. If there is a backlash, where will searchers go? Bing and Yahoo are really just Google wannabes, who aspire to be making all of the same privacy invading, advertising driven mistakes Google will be making. If people are fed up with invasion of privacy and more advertisements then results, what other options are there for search? Is there anyone waiting in the wings, a dark horse who doesn’t seek to invade our privacy or push advertising along with our search results? Can we ever move on as a culture from saying “Google it” to “Blekko it” or “DuckDuckGo it”?
I did a blog post last month on two potential search engines, Yacy, a peer to peer search engine, and Volunia, a new concept in search engines that has yet to launch. They were both in the news about the same time and got me wondering a little bit about alternative search engines. Now I want to take a little broader look at alternatives. I found a great history of search engines, both still active and failed, in Wikipedia. They also had a comprehensive list of search engines categorized by type. Although the list is interesting, they are not all candidates as a replacement for Google. I worked my way through the Wikipedia search engine list. First I eliminated the specialty search engines, like yummly.com (a recipe search engine) and goby.com (an activity search engine, whatever that means). I eliminated aggregators (WebCrawler, Dogpile, etc.) if they only aggregate Google, Yahoo and Bing. If they had as much advertising as Google, I eliminated them (this means you, Lycos). Of those left, I ran through each one with a few simple search terms. I eliminated the ones that were unresponsive or had no results for some fairly common search terms.
Here is my short list of possible Google replacements that you should try:
Blekko.com – Their stated mission is to “provide a differentiated editorial voice in search”. Their Search Bill of Rights includes “Search shall be open”, “Ranking data shall not be kept secret” and “Spam does not belong in search results”.
DuckDuckGo.com – This site is an aggregator, pulling its results from over 50 sources including their own crawler, Yahoo, Bing, Blekko and WolframAlpha.
Yacy.net – This is a peer-to-peer search engine. To really take advantage you must download their open source peer-to-peer software. In a blog post last month I explored this search engine. Their tag line is ”search by the people for the people”. It is still early, but this interesting alternative to search is worth keeping an eye on.
And a few other specialized search engines more people should know about:
WolframAlpha.com – The place to go if your question is a little deeper than looking for a business. Questions on science, astronomy, history, geography, music, technology or sports can probably be more accurately answered by this “knowledge engine”.
If you start exploring what’s out there as an alternative, you might be pleasantly surprised. I’ve made a new year’s resolution to use Google less and Blekko, the “spam-free search engine”, more. In June of 2011 they released a new version code named Zorro with some new slashtag features. One slashtag that I found interesting is there 3-card monte, which games Bleeko against Bing and Google. You can go to Blekko, type in any search criteria and add the slashtag “/monte” at the end of your search term. You will then get 3 different search results in three columns. It asks you to pick the results you want to investigate further. It will then tell you if the results you picked were the Blekko results, Google results, or Bing results. Try it with a few of the keywords for your site and you might be surprised which one you pick.
If you are an online presence manager , an SEO expert, SEO consultant, or just anyone concerned with their website SEO, the growing anti-Google sentiment is a trend that bears watching. As a culture, we have gotten used to Googling anything we’re searching for. Googling something is now common vernacular for search. For Google to ever lose any significant market share, I think there is a cultural barrier to that change, as well as a certain trust in Google. But if they continue to give enough people reasons to look elsewhere, I think people will be surprised to find that Google isn’t magic. There are alternatives that work just as well, without surrendering privacy, enduring retargeted marketing, or in your face advertising that people are starting to find increasingly annoying. In their recent dealings with the FTC, Google’s main and often repeated defense for any non-competitive practices has always been “competition is only a click away”. So take them up on that, take that click, and take a look at the competition. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
In this eleventh and final part of my eleven part series on Online Presence Management I am going to discuss Press Release Distribution.
Although many may view Press Releases as being part of the old-school model of Public Relations, press releases still serve a vital purpose. Studies have shown that journalists and consumers still search for and read press releases. The key is to optimize your press releases to be found, and to provide sufficient linking back to your site to generate the traffic that you want. When your company has something news-worthy to report, a well timed and well placed press release, with appropriate embedded links, can provide a boost of SEO for your site.
Title it well- Your main keyword should be the lead of your title.
Cover the basics – Who, what, where, why and when.
Tell a story – Human interest narrative will help get you distributed.
Include links to your site– Include at least 3 anchor text links, one directly to the homepage, one to the product you are talking about, and one to a blog post that can elaborate in a more informal way on what the press release was about.
Use your keywords – The key phrases you are trying to get your site ranked for should be used liberally throughout your press relesase, as well as locality information.
Include images optimized for search – Be sure and use keyword rich Alt-tags for your images for them to be found by search engines.
Have a Press Release section to you web site – Include a Press Release section on your web site and archive all press releases there
Promote the press release – Mention it on social media, email it to local journalists and bloggers
Avoid PR fatigue – Don’t send press releases unless you have something newsworthy to say
Some other free press release distribution sites are:
free-press-release.com, iNewswire.com, MyFreePR.com, NewsWireToday.com, PageRelease.com, TechPRSpider.com, and TheOpenPress.com.
Press releases can be an important part of driving traffic to your website. A well written and well timed press release with links to more in depth information can reach important people who may not know of your business or your website. A complete Online Presence Management plan should include the use of press releases for creating buzz when something happens that is buzz-worthy.
This is my review of noteworthy things that happened this week involving Online Presence Management, search engine internet marketing, search engine news and website SEO. I’ll also be mixing in some technology business news, tech gadgetry news, and tech-culture news.
Here’s my list for the week of Nov. 28-Dec. 2, 2011
Challengers to Google?
There were two interesting stories this week about little search engine start-ups with big dreams, and if either of them is successful, you may be hearing a lot more about them. I call them the little search engines that could. The first is called Volunia. It is interesting because of the driving force behind it. His name is Massiomo Marchiori. His presentation on HyperSearch concept at a 1996 conference has been credited by Larry Page and Sergey Brin as the basis for the concept of PageRank that Google now uses. Although the concept for Volunia is highly secretive, Marchiori made an analogy that that Volunia would be a “fencer’s foil” to Google’s “club”. Read more about Volunia at Search Engine Watch. Apply to be a power user of the beta version (when it launches) at Volunia.com.
The second search engine startup has already launched. It’s called Yacy, and it is a peer-to-peer, distributed, open source search engine called Yacy. Think Google meets Napster or Limewire. This is the kind of search engine that right now only a true geek can appreciate. The upside is that it is infinitely scalable if it does catch on. The downside is that although you can use it without downloading their software and becoming a peer in their network, it works much better if you become a peer. There is a good description of Yacy and its aspirations at Memeburn. You can read my blog post here on why it’s nice to know the geeks among us have worked out a backup plan in case Google gets a little too free and easy with our private information and we lose faith in Google.
Facebook settles with the Federal Trade Commission over Privacy Concerns
On November 29th the FTC announced that it had reached a settlement with Facebook over all of the privacy concerns they had been investigating. Those concerns included granting third party apps access to all personal information, even though they had stated they would only be able to access information necessary to use the application. Facebook had also said they had certified the security of all of those approved apps, and they had not. Facebook said they would not share personal information with advertisers, and they did. Under the terms of the settlement they must establish a comprehensive privacy program within 180 days, and submit to privacy audits every two years for the next twenty years. Read a more detailed list of the charges and settlement terms at WebProNews. Read Mark Zuckerburg responded to the settlement in a blog post. Did the FTC go too far or not far enough? An interesting article on Mashable is entitled Did the FTC Just Ruin Facebook?
Microsoft Office Coming to iPad?
A report in Business Insider on November 29th cited unnamed sources that reported that Microsoft may be bringing Office to iPad next year. It also said they may be planning a major update to the version of office for the Mac. This news is interesting in that it highlights a couple interesting trends. If true, it would mean that Microsoft is conceding that the Mac and iPad are making inroads into its core enterprise market. The new strategy for Microsoft may now have shifted from using their software to try to force their enterprise clients to stay Windows PC based. The power of the iPad may have caused them to concede, and they have decided if you can’t beat them, join them. If true, this could have many ramifications for enterprise hardware.
Is your smartphone tracking you? The Carrier IQ app and Privacy concerns
This story slowly unfolded this week that an app that is installed in virtually all smartphones may be recording every keystroke you make and transmitting it. All major smartphone platforms except Windows Phone are affected to varying degrees. The Carrier IQ controversy was sparked when a hacker named Trevor Eckhart discovered and reported on the full functionality of the Carrier IQ application on his website. As the technical websites picked up the story and it got bigger, the cellphone manufacturers began to release statements distancing themselves from the app, and blaming the carriers. The CEO of the company that developed Carrier IQ, defends it in a video here by saying that the information broadcast by your phone is only used by the carriers to know where service outages occur, so they can better their coverage. On December 1, Sen. Al Franken sent the CEO of Carrier IQ a letter giving him a Dec. 14th deadline to answer privacy allegation questions. There is a summary of the whole mess on ZDNet entitled Follow the money and it’s the carriers behind it. So this little app can record everything you do on your phone, including texts, websites visited, etc., and where you’re at when you do it. It’s on almost every smartphone, and it broadcasts that info to the carriers. They only use that information so they can make our service better? The manufacturers and carriers are both trying to point fingers at the other, but someone has some explaining to do. Something tells me this is going to get worse before it gets better. Stay Tuned….
In this sixth part of my eleven part series on Online Presence Management I am going to discuss Content Creation. Constantly creating new content in blog form or video form can help engage visitors as well as improve your search engine rankings.
When it comes to engaging your visitors, and impressing the search engines, content is king. New content shows the search engines your site is continuously evolving and worthy of being considered relevant. New content is a great way to engage visitors and to compel them to become repeat visitors to your site. Blogging has long been recognized as a strong signal to search engines that your site is relevant to the content you are blogging about. More recently, video content has had a growing impact on search engine rankings for your site. With the Google ‘Freshness’ update in November of 2011, having fresh content is more important than ever.
In addition to engaging your potential customers and showcasing your expertise in your field, blogging is one of the best ways for your website to stay current and relevant to search engines. While blog posts may be about things directly related to your core business, don’t be afraid to create posts that are only tangentially related to your core business. Anything that the visitor you are trying to attract would find interesting is fair game for a blog topic. You should add blog entries about things that will interest visitors to your web site. These are not necessarily limited to stories about your business. Content that showcases your knowledge or expertise in your field of business while educating the visitor makes excellent engaging and relevant content. Blog posts covering any topic that might be of interest to your typical visitor will make your site more engaging.
Setting goals for your blogging activity can help keep you focused and help you to decide on what will make valuable content. Some typical blogging goals are:
- Showcase your company’s expertise in your field.
- Educate visitors on your products or services.
- Engage visitors with interesting news or popular culture references related to your business.
- Use keywords to help your site’s overall search engine ranking.
- Keep current content on your site to encourage repeat visits.
Video content can be an entertaining and educational way to engage your website visitors. But did you know that it is also one of the easiest ways to obtain a page one rank on Google? Google now returns blended search results for many keywords. You may have seen these blended results in your own experience with Google. For many search terms, a blended search results page may include news, maps, images, and videos in addition to the standard search results and paid search results. A Forrester Research Report used 40 common keyword phrases and examined the blended search results to estimate chances of achieving first page results. Of the phrases that returned blended results, there were 16,000 videos vying for one of an average 1.5 videos positions. Comparing this to an average of 4.7 millioin text pages vying for the average of 9.4 slots of text based results. This means your competition is a lot weaker when vying for a slot in the video results, and on average you chances are 50 times better of receiving a page one organic result with video content than with text content.
There are a few guidelines that you need to follow to get the maximum search results from your video content.
- Host the videos on YouTube, and embed them in your site. In the Forrester Research nearly every vide returned in Google’s blended results was a YouTube hosted Video.
- Optimize your video content by including the key phrases you are targeting into video filenames, video titles, descriptions and tags.
- Embed the videos into related text pages on your site. Make sure the text on the page is optimized on the same key phrases, to help Google figure out what the video is about.
- Create a video library of all video on your site.
- Create a video sitemap. Use Google Webmaster Tools Video Section, which has instructions and tools to help you with this process.
When developing a strong online presence, remember that content is king. Content serves a dual role. It can make your website more current, more relevant, more informative, more engaging and more entertaining. It also makes your website more appealing to search engines, which will allow you achieve the search engine results that you need to be found by the people who are looking for you. This will allow you to ultimately be more successful in achieving the business goals of your online presence management strategy.
A press release by Yacy.net, a new, decentralized, open-source search engine has caused some buzz among SEO experts in the search engine world. It’s way, way, way too early to be any threat to Google, but it’s introduction brings up some interesting points, some well made in an article about Yacy in memeburn.com.
The new search engine is a peer-to-peer network. Although you can use the search engine without downloading the software that makes your computer one of the peers in the network, it works better if you download the software. In the article they make the point that Google’s early success was due to adoption by IT Professionals (geeks) who introduced it to the less tech savvy. Now, they point out, ‘Google’s rise to world dominance in the search market, its advertising-oriented business model and its history of collecting user data are slowly pushing it from geeky favor.’ Enter Yacy.
There are a lot of things that make this new search model appealing to Geeks. It is decentralized and open source. The Peer-to-Peer model makes it infinitely scalable if its popularity grew. There is a downside, in that by becoming a peer it could conceivably use resources, both disk space and bandwidth, on your computer. Right now the controls on how much of your resources it could potentially use are not as strong as they need to be, but they are working on that.
But are there things about it that make it appealing to the typical user? Probably not right now. Maybe the appeal to the geeks among us, besides being based in the technical reasons, is also based in a growing mistrust of multi-billion dollar corporations. Corporations that are making their fortunes in trading and selling our personal data that they collect freely in exchange for the use of their ‘free’ product. If that mistrust is growing in the geek population, will it spread to the general population? If it does, it’s nice to know there is a decentralized, scalable, open-source, peer-to-peer model for search, waiting in the wings. Maybe just its presence can keep Google a little more honest in privacy matters than it might otherwise be. So the answer to the question of whether or not Yacy could appeal to the typical user is currently no. But if Google gives it’s users a reason, that could change, and change quickly. It’s nice to know the geeks among us are working on a backup plan. Any tech company that thinks they are too big to fail, too entrenched in the culture to ever go away, should go talk to (what’s left of) AOL.
In this fifth part of my eleven part series on Online Presence Management I am going to discuss the next step to consider once you decide to take control of managing your online presence, Directory Listing.
Getting listed in all relevant directories is critical to being found. Getting listed in various directories, and making sure that your website is linked to correctly from those directories actually serves two purposes. You can be found by people using those particular directories, but also links from those websites can improve your search engine ranking. Directories that you want to be found in and linked to from fall into three different categories. Those categories are:
- Search Engine Directories
- Web Based Business Directories
- Local Neighborhood Organizations or Professional Groups
Search Engine Directories
Since all search now has a local component, it is important to make sure that your website is correctly registered in Google and Bing’s local business listings. Search results in these search engines are location based, and being correctly registered geographically is critical to being found by local searchers for your goods or services. Both Google webmaster tools and Bing webmaster tools allow you to manage all of the information and links for your business, and make sure they are accurate and up to date.
Web Based Business Directories
There are also other internet based business directory sites on which you should consider being listed. Some of these sites are free to be listed, many charge to be listed. Here is a good list of the top 40 Web Directories based on inbound link quality.
Local Neighborhood Organizations or Professional Groups
It is also important to maintain current registration in all neighborhood organizations, professional groups, or any business organizations that are relevant to your business. These are going to vary widely depending on the type of business and the community you live in. It is important to spend some time researching any organizations that your business can become a member of, especially organizations that have websites with directories of their membership. You should also research any niche search engine, for example Lawyers.com for the legal profession. These registrations are important for two reasons. First, searches may find you if they happen to find the listings of that organization. Second, the linking to your site by theses other sites provides valuable back links that will give your site credibility, and thus higher ranking, with search engines.