With 93% of customers researching a business online before they ever set foot in the door, now more than ever, it’s pivotal for local businesses to get discovered everywhere that matters online. Having a search engine optimized website is a great first step for business to take control of their online presence but it’s not enough.
SinglePlatform has created a guide to show you how important your online presence is in attracting new customers to your door and how we can help. Make sure that you are getting the most out of the web with SinglePlatform.
As more people are turning to the web for their search needs, one of the most important tasks for small business owners is fixing the errors on the Google listing for their business. There are a few methods to go about fixing an error on a Google listing as well as different opinions on which method is best. Learn more about these methods to decide which would be the best for you and your business.
1. Suggest an Edit
If you have already noticed that your business listing on Google is providing incorrect information to your current and potential customers, you can suggest an edit. Find your business’s online listing by searching for your restaurant via Google and clicking on the listing on the right of your screen. This will bring up Google Maps as well as your complete business listing. If you look at the bottom of your listing on Google, you will find a section that allows you to click and suggest an edit. As a security measure, Google asks you to verify if you are the business owner to prevent people from altering listings that do not belong to them.
2. Google My Business
In June of 2014, Google announced the launch of a new tool called “Google My Business”. This is a platform created to help business owners manage their listing content on Google. SmallBiztrends.com reports that The Google My Business tool is a resource for business owners to manage how your business listing appears in sections of Google searches, including the main search pages, Google Maps, and Google Earth. This tool has the advantage of giving the business owner a platform to update multiple pieces of information within the listings shown on Google. Learn more about how to get started.
SinglePlatform is a tool used by small businesses in the US and Canada to help them update and manage listing data on Google as well as Yelp, TripAdvisor, YP.com and many more top review sites and mobile apps. The service is conveniently offered as a no contract subscription at a reasonable monthly rate. SinglePlatform users have the ability to update their business listings including their name, address, phone number, menu, or list of services everywhere that matters online. Get SinglePlatform now.
In short, fixing an error in your Google listing is an easy issue to resolve. The three options discussed are all viable ways to go about making an edit. For more marketing tips and trends follow SinglePlatform on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. For updates straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter below:
At roughly 5:00 PM yesterday, I received a text from an old college buddy I don’t see nearly enough. We’d been talking about meeting up for months now, and finally we had a night where both our calendars collided. We agreed to meet near Penn Station and see where the night took us from there.
I met him at O’Reilly’s Pub on 31st and 6th, and this place was perfect: tons of TV’s, a rooftop, and a great pint of Guinness. Being that I work in the industry of helping restaurants attract new customers, I had to ask my friend Vince, “How did you decide on this place?” He said, “Pretty simple… I was on Yelp looking for Irish pubs because I know that’s what you like. I saw the name O’Reilly’s and it was the obvious choice since our dear friend Colin’s last name is O’Reilly.” Worked for me. Little did we know, we were starting a wild goose chase for our next pint of Guinness.
Starting our search smartphone-free
For the rest of the night, we agreed to put our phones away and let bars find us rather than searching online. We had no particular reason for doing this, other than to be fun and adventurous. This was definitely not the most effective way for finding a great experience. The criteria we used for deciding the right place was based on name and atmosphere alone. We figured this would be easy since there are roughly 1 zillion bars in NYC.
As we walked down 6th Avenue expecting to have a ton of options, we were sorely disappointed. Unfortunately, all we found were retail stores, nine Starbucks and a Fresh Market. Feeling let down, we cut over to 7th Avenue around 19th Street, hoping for better luck. We found a place that wasn’t exactly what we were looking for… but at that point, we were willing to settle for a cold Bud light anywhere. Most of the guys in there had sports jackets on, and being that it was 90 degrees… and the fact that I do not own a sports jacket, we were feeling out of place. Vince and I waited for about 5 minutes for the bartender to come over to take our order. He never came. Vince turned to me and said, “this is a buyer’s market… let’s keep looking for another place.”
Seventeen blocks later, we finally found our spot
Venturing back out, we kept walking down 7th Avenue. At the corner of 14th and 7th, we found a Guinness sign outside of a pub named Flannery’s Bar. Exactly what we were looking for, this place was perfect. We each ordered a pint of Guinness, and played darts for about an hour. After walking for 17 blocks (equivalent to about one mile), we had finally discovered a place that was the perfect fit for us.
Although we had a great time people watching our way down 6th and 7th Avenue looking for the right bar, I learned one important thing. The Internet makes life so much more convenient. Had I been using my iPhone like usual, I would have found tons of Irish pubs within two blocks of our original location. The Triple Crown is on 29th and 7th, Stout NYC and Blarney Rock are both on 33rd in-between 6th and 7th (just to name a few). You can find exactly what you are looking for, right nearby, online, even if it’s something super simple. Vince and I were only looking for a pub where we could sit on a barstool, watch the Yankee game, sip a Guinness, and tell stories from college. The internet is the easiest, most efficient way to find exactly what you want, exactly when you want it.
Regardless of the device they’re searching on, whether it’s a desktop, tablet, or smartphone, consumers are searching to become customers. Claiming your listings is essential to being discovered across the web; it allows you to not only control the information about your business, but enhance it with pictures, menus, and announcements, making your business more marketable to potential customers.
In this eGuide, you will learn how to claim your listings in a step-by-step process on these major publishers:
93% of customers visiting a business for the first time will research it before they ever get through the door. With that research happening on-the-go and online, accurate and up-to-date information is crucial.
Check out SinglePlatform’s latest infographic to learn:
What diners are searching for
How search engines, review sites, mobile apps and online directories collect information
5 tips on how to take control of your restaurant’s online presence
Keeping listings current and consistent across multiple sites is the challenge for restaurant chains
Those of us of a certain age remember looking for a restaurant of a particular cuisine in the Yellow Pages –that county-wide, annually-produced brick of print. Today, while phone companies still distribute local Yellow Pages, restaurant listings can be searched from coast to coast through the phone in your pocket, and can be updated every…minute. We discover restaurants in an ever-growing number of online places: search engines, restaurant directories and review sites, online maps, social media posts and mobile apps. These listings determine our dining decisions while we’re out and about, often in our cars, and poised to act.
Keeping all those listings current and correct in real time is a job that print advertisers never imagined, but it’s not a task they can afford to ignore. Restaurant operators know that today, a new customer’s path to their door leads through the Internet. (The Yellow Pages knows it too…see YP.com competing with the Googles, Yelps, TripAdvisors, Foursquares, and Urbanspoons, of the online world.)
Brand presence in all these online places affects restaurant revenue directly, and particularly in the mobile realm. Smartphones are now owned by 70 percent of U.S. adults and 90 percent in the 18-34-age bracket. Of these, 70 percent report using them to look up restaurant menus.1 Google expects mobile searches (at 85.9 billion) to surpass desktop searches (84 billion) sometime in 2015.2 And at Yelp, the number of mobile app installs has gone from 53 million in Q4 2013 to 72 million in 2014, while desktop growth is flat.3
Opportunities to Attract New Business
The opportunities to attract newcomers are bigger online—think of aggregate ordering sites like Seamless.com, multi-brand, smartphone loyalty applications like Belly, monthly promotions and limited-time offers, sports- or holiday-themed events, or other local tie-ins.
The risks of not keeping current are also bigger. Think of newcomers disappointed by out-of-date promotions, dropped menu items, incorrect hours of operation, or even unexpected location closings. Think of regulars irritated by seeing one price online and a higher one in the restaurant. With 88 percent of smart phone or tablet users reporting looking up location, hours and directions to restaurants at least several times a year, and 39 percent doing this weekly1, there’s a lot of new business at stake.
Local searches—40 percent of mobile searches as of September 2014, according to Google—come in several forms, each with its own information needs. If consumers are searching for your specific business, they’re almost in the door: Here address, phone number, hours of operation, menus and directions must be accurate and optimized for mobile. If they’ve got “Indian food in Boston” in mind, you’ve got to be sure that you’re properly categorized as such, with relevant key words.
Local searches also present opportunities to grab the attention of those who may not, just then, be thinking about places to eat. Paid and well optimized restaurant listings can be triggered to appear when the user researches a subject that’s closely related. If they’re searching on birthday parties, for example, and that’s a part of your business, you want to make sure that’s specified. Restaurants also pop up on map searches, through social media posts, or in a mobile loyalty application that awards points for visiting any participating local business.
Menus Must Move Online
Menus—particularly those optimized for mobile—play a huge role in influencing consumers’ dining decisions. In the NRA’s study, 31 percent of those who own or regularly use smartphones say they look up restaurant menus at least monthly and 27 percent order online via web site or app. And because menus contain the names of specific dishes and components, they give operators the chance to rank much higher on results of more specific searches. A middle eastern restaurant whose menu is fully searchable online turns up high in a search on “kufta kebob,” for example, while a competitor that merely categorizes itself as “middle eastern,” whose menu is a non-searchable pdf or worse, not online at all, is buried relatively deep in search results.
How Does Inconsistent, Unsearchable or Inaccurate Data Get There?
Online publishers get the data for their listings from a range of sources: user contributors, direct submissions from businesses, and automatically “scraped” from other websites. They also purchase it from a range of data purveyors: aggregators who compile from multiple sources, vertical-industry-specific providers, and listing management services, which help them upload their data to multiple publishers from a single online dashboard. Of these sources, only listing management services work for the operators themselves. They do this not only by providing the one-entry, many-update gateway to many publishers, but by keeping abreast of the dynamic and complex search landscape.
Listing management services are particularly appealing to franchises and restaurant groups, where marketing manpower is limited and online presence may not be tightly controlled. Property managers responsible for their own local pages are often hard-pressed to keep their menus and promotions up to date and consistent with corporate branding, or may post things on Facebook pages, say, that have unforeseen consequences.
Through their third-party relationships with publishers, listing management services enable a brand to speak to all regions and all channels with a consistent voice and reliable, vetted information. They enable their restaurant group clients to achieve local customization under the watchful eye and control of corporate review. Such services can also provide the analysis that makes the best use of online advertising dollars.
Perhaps most important, they save time and trouble by propagating one menu change, promotion, or any other message from one input screen to all the directories, review sites, apps and social media pages that matter, both desktop and mobile.
Managing the online presence for a gourmet restaurant, a boutique bakery, and a premier wedding and event venue is a task that most people wouldn’t consider taking on.
But that’s the task Deena takes on every single day as marketing manager for a New Jersey-based hospitality company.
“As marketing manager, I’m responsible for maintaining the web presence for our company and its properties across a multitude of media outlets,” says Deena. “That includes keeping our website up-to-date, but also means interacting with our customers and making sure we are in all the places we need to be.”
According to Deena, the biggest challenge in taking on this impressive task is deciding how to manage her most valuable resource — time.
“Today, there are just so many places we need to be. Weaving through all these different platforms can be a huge time commitment,” says Deena. “As a company, we want to get the most from the work that we’re doing, but also don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to get our name out there.”
Deena was referred to SinglePlatform, a local business listing platform. She signed on hoping it would help put some time back into her busy schedule.
“I felt like we were doing a good job keeping up, but when we found out that there was a tool that looked easy-to-use and would let us update everything in one place, we decided to give it a shot,” says Deena.
Multiple properties, one platform
Working with a SinglePlatform success manager, Deena uploaded business details for the company’s restaurant, bakery and event venue—into SinglePlatform.
In addition to business information like name, hours, and location, Deena was able to upload menus for the restaurant and bakery, and a list of services offered at the event venue.
With SinglePlatform, Deena could publish this informaton across the SinglePlatform publisher network, including review sites, search engines, and mobile apps like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, and Urbanspoon.
“Being able to log in, update our menus, and see where our information is being distributed has been a huge time-saver,” says Deena. “I don’t have to go to each of these sites and update our information. I can do it once, and know that our menus are staying up-to-date.”
A tale of three venues
In addition to saving time and helping her take control of the information people are seeing when they view the properties online, Deena says that SinglePlatform offers a number of benefits for each venue.
For the restaurant and bakery, being able to have their menus accessible on mobile apps like Foursquare and Urbanspoon has given both locations an unexpected advantage.
“When people are on-the-go and they are looking for a place to eat in their area, they’re pulling out their phones and want to be able to look at menus on a mobile device,” says Deena. “For our restaurant and bakery, it’s so important that they’re able to find our menus and see what we have to offer because it can really make the difference when people are deciding where to eat.”
For the event venue, which hosts more than 100 wedding per year, Deena says that the tool has made it easier to promote everything that the premier wedding venue has to offer.
“For newly engaged couples, finding a venue for their wedding is one of the most important decisions they need to make,” says Deena. “We know that they will be searching online, wanting to see what each venue has to offer and will make their decision based on that.”
Continuing to grow with SinglePlatform
More than two decades after opening its first location back in 1992, Deena’s hospitality company continues to deliver outstanding experiences to every guest who eats in their restaurant, visits their bakery, or attends an event at their venue.
With this commitment to excellence and the right tools to help them get their name in front of their audience online, the company will continue to bring new customers through their doors for decades to come.
Want to learn more about how SinglePlatform can help your small business connect with consumers online? Check out our website.