<p>We re right smack in the middle of a series about ensuring your site can be found in local search engines, Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs) and other locally-oriented resource sites.  <a href="http://www.searchengineguide.com/searchbrief/senews/008883.html">Monday</a> we talked about why it s important for every business (even those that do business nationally) to be visible locally.  <a href="http://www.searchengineguide.com/searchbrief/senews/008888.html">Yesterday</a> we covered a simple on-site change you can make to be found in crawler-based local engines.  The rest of the week, we ll focus on off-site factors specifically, submitting your business profile to all the key sites out there.  (Did we mention it s free?)  The first step is to compile all the information you ll need for your almighty business profile.</p>

<p>What s a business profile?  It s simply a listing about your company that will appear in local search engines, IYPs, and the like.  It contains all kinds of details about your business and the products and services you re selling.  The sites to which you ll submit this data all display different information some let you add a ton of details and others don t let you include much.  But if you gather together all the following information, you ll have everything you need at your fingertips to begin submitting your business profile.  Here s what you should be prepared with:</p>

<p> Basic business information, including company name, address, phone number, fax number, toll-free number, contact person, email address and website URL.</p>
<p> Descriptions of your business in various lengths for different sites.  Try to include search terms in your descriptions, but don t overdo it so it reads funny!  You ll need these numbers of words:  100, 150, 200, 250, 400, 500, 1000.  (Hint: write the longest description first and then keep editing it down to shorter lengths that focus on the most important information.)</p>
<p> Ideas for up to 5 different types of categories that are appropriate.  Are you a fence company?  Your categories may be along these lines: Fence Contractors & Builders, Fence Materials, Home Improvement & Maintenance, Gate & Fence Repair, and Swimming Pool Cover & Enclosure Dealers.   Of course, the category names will vary greatly between sites, but it s a good idea to have some varied angles in mind before you begin.</p>
<p> Year established / years in business.</p>
<p> Operating hours.</p>
<p> Payment methods accepted (including which credit cards).</p>
<p> Languages spoken.</p>
<p> Products / brand names carried.</p>
<p> Services offered.</p>
<p> Professional associations / certifications / affiliations / licenses.</p>
<p> Specials (promotional deals).</p>
<p> Areas served.</p>
<p> An email address available for your use, as many sites will have you click on a link in an email they send you before you can proceed.</p>
<p> For SuperPages, you ll need a credit card whose billing address matches the business address, for verification purposes (they don t charge anything on the card).  So if you re doing this on a client s behalf, you ll have to get a credit card number from your client.</p>

<p>Not all of these data points will be relevant to every company, and you can absolutely leave any fields blank that don t pertain to you.  Be sure to track everything you do, including the date you submitted your business profile.  Most sites will review the information before it goes live, and review times range greatly, from 5 60 days or more.</p>

<p>For some of the sites, you may find that your business already has a basic listing.  Even if all the data is correct, find something to change (change Dr. to Drive, for example) because often you ll then have the opportunity to add additional details to the profile.</p>

<p><a href="http://www.searchengineguide.com/searchbrief/senews/008920.html">Thursday</a> and <a href="http://www.searchengineguide.com/searchbrief/senews/008925.html">Friday</a>, we ll provide URLs for the key local search engines, IYPs and other locally-oriented resource sites where you can go to enter this business profile information at no cost.</p>

November 29, 2006

Stacy Williams, search engine marketing specialist, is founder and President of Prominent Placement, Inc. With an extensive background in Internet marketing, Stacy offers her clients cutting edge solutions that are always rooted in sound marketing strategy. A member of the Technology Alliance of Georgia and the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association, Stacy is a frequent lecturer on search engine optimization and Internet marketing topics.

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