Hi there! I’m Jason Crabtree, Director of Search Engine Optimization for Agent Branding System. In this video, we’re going to discuss some highly effective ways to optimize your online business listings. These are great ways to maximize the effects of being listed in online directories and they’re often overlooked. These tactics have been proven to deliver better results not only in the directory where your listing, but in the search engine results. Think about it from the view of the directory developer. When you develop a directory, you want to engage consumers. You want people to come to your directory and use it as a resource. That’s how you sell advertising. So if you’re delivering a complete set of fully optimized listings then the consumers are going to gain the most information per visit. You’re most likely the directory people are going to use and you’ll be the directory of choice. So it stands to reason that the number one most effective way to optimize your business listings is to make sure that you don’t skip any steps in completing your profile for your business when you set it up. Business Listings Management refers to completing and submitting listings for online directories. The number one tip is to complete your profile. The number 2 tip is digital citations, and the number 3 tip would be ratings and reviews. The first and easiest step in optimizing your online listings is to make sure you complete your profile. Don’t skip any steps. This includes uploading photos, and when it comes to photos, note that multiple directories have different rules for how many photos you can upload. However, if you’re uploading to a directory that will allow five photos, make sure you upload five photos of your business. Get an inside shot and an outside shot, a picture of your logo, and pictures of your employees. Use all of the steps that they allow you to do. Second would be listing your business hours. When can I do business with you? List your payment methods and any text field that includes descriptions of your business. That includes certifications, education, any field where they will allow you to describe your business make sure you don’t miss it. In these text fields, you’re going to be writing descriptions of who your business serves and where you do business. My recommendation is that you list all of your products and services, for example. If you’re an insurance agent don’t just say “insurance” and bullet out the points that you do, for instance, auto insurance, life insurance, health insurance, property insurance, etc. You want to make sure that you bullet out everything that your business does in order to have a complete listing full of keywords, where someone can search for you. Then, do the same with the geographies that you serve. Oftentimes I will see a listing where a business claims that they serve their city and a radius; or they’ll say we serve everywhere in such-and-such county. So let’s say San Diego. If I said my business served everywhere in San Diego and someone were searching on that directory or a search engine for a business that served La Jolla or Chula Vista, because those words aren’t listed in my directory, I don’t have a chance to show up for those terms. So make sure that you list everywhere that you serve and every product and service that you offer. That is a complete directory listing. My second tip for optimizing business listings is to get digital citations. It sounds fancier than it is. A digital citation is just a list of your business name, address, phone number, and a reference to your business that’s hosted somewhere outside of your website and outside of your directory. An example here would be the Chamber of Commerce or the Better Business Bureau. The more of these digital citations you can get the better. You’re going to be displayed in your online listings of directories and search engines. My final tip for optimizing online business listings is to get ratings and reviews, and they have to be genuine ratings and reviews that are done in a specific manner. I’ll explain – a lot of directory listing sites will allow consumers to do ratings and reviews of businesses. It’s a good practice and we’ve known about it for years. Yelp really capitalized on it. Google Maps allows this and really capitalizes on it, and I encourage you to do it. Here’s what happened: a lot of consumers wanted to give a good rating and review but weren’t sure how or where to do it. They were happy with the service that the business provided but they just weren’t sure how to execute on giving this great rating and or review. So businesses started saying “while you’re here, if you’re happy with my service, why don’t you log in and complete a rating and review for me. I’ll show you how.” As that practice evolved, we started to see people abusing the system and businesses would have multiple people logging in at their office and giving them a rating and or review. As the search engines caught on and the directories caught on that this spamming process was taking place, they started to devalue these reviews and Google has even gone to the to the extent of removing what they call “duplicates.” So even though these may all be happy clients, if they give their rating and review from your IP address, meaning your computer system in your office, it’s going to look as though that one user is giving multiple reviews of your business, and Google will devalue that. So what you want to do is compose an email with links to Yelp or Google+ or wherever you want these reviews to take place. For example, YP or Superpages, or any of these directories. Send out that email to your happy customers and I’d let them know, “hey, if you’re happy with my service, would you mind completing a rating and review for me? Wouldn’t take very long and I’ll send you the link so you can log in and do it yourself.” Let them know it’s coming, then send the email and sit back and watch. They’ll do their rating and review from home or from Starbucks or wherever they login that’s not your office. Then, they’ll give you the rating and review, and that rating and review will stick. The more of these the better. The search engines have determined and those in the online directories have determined, that consumer engagement is a good thing when it comes to local businesses and in local shopping. So the more of these positive ratings and reviews you get the more you’re going to be favored in search results. There you have it! Three highly effective ways to optimize your online business listings, complete your profile, get digital citations, and get ratings and reviews. These will help you immensely in the visibility that it will provide for your business. If you found this video useful and informative, please share it with people that you know that might be able to benefit from it also. Please follow us on YouTube, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We appreciate it and we hope that this is helpful. I’m Jason Crabtree, thank you for your time.