The Overwhelming Number of Places Where People Can Find Your Menu

Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, OpenTable, YP, TripAdvisor… Hungry consumers are searching these websites for where to eat their next meal.

Is your restaurant’s menu there, along with all the dishes you offer, photos, prices and catering options?

People use those apps, review sites, and search engines to look for where to get their next meal (“best grilled cheese near me”), where to meet friends after work (“happy hour specials”), and catering options for office and holiday parties. When a customer is deciding where to dine, your menu is the most important information they need.

To help your business show up on top of menu and food searches online, you need to give consumers the information they’re looking for in the moment that matters: when they’re making a decision about where to eat next. That means having up-to-date menus on ALL the sites that people use to choose where to dine.

If you want to attract new customers and ensure they find the information they need, the first step is to get control of your menu on all of the sites listed above, known as “publishers.”

The problem is that these “publishers” are just the top of the pile. To verify business information, popular sites like Google also check other discovery websites, review sites and networks to see if their information matches all the information available about your business.

Because most business owners aren’t like you, trying to get control of their menu online, sites like Google have to pull information from other places, like review sites, outdated information from aggregators, and even customer suggestions.

There are hundreds of sites, apps, maps and networks online that host information about your business. It would take a Herculean effort and hundreds and hundreds of hours each year to claim and update every single one of them. That’s time that you could better use to actually run your business, organize payroll, manage employees, source better pricing from your vendors, or fix the sink that just started leaking…

The right software can help you get control of your menu online and publish it all over the internet. The right software makes it easy to update your information everywhere, whether you need to run a special holiday promotion, promote a new menu item, or change your entire menu.

SinglePlatform has a network of more than 100 publishers to whom we can send your updated, accurate menu every time you make a change. We’ll even do the work for you. All you have to do is send us a quick email with the changes and our customer service team will update all of your online menus, everywhere they live online.

Do you want to ensure customers get the information they need about your menu when they are searching for a restaurant online?

Do you want to save hundreds of hours and focus on running your business?

Do you want more hungry consumers to find your restaurant today?

Get Started Today

[News] Yelp Adds Video Feature to Reviews

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Listings News] Yelp Adds Video Feature to Reviews

News Source: Business Insider

Last week, Yelp announced that it will be adding a new video upload feature to its app. Reviewers will be able to include a 3-12 second video clip and caption along with their review, similar to its current photo upload feature.

The idea is to help convey the atmosphere of a restaurant, store, salon, or other small business to readers—something that can’t be done effectively with photos alone. Yelp’s mobile product manager Madhu Prabakar says, “[The feature] will be a reward for businesses that go to great lengths to achieve a certain ambiance, whether by having a certain lighting or the music at just the right level.”

Elite Reviewers will be able to start uploading videos in early June, with the feature rolling out to the rest of users sometime this summer.

Key Takeaway: Yelp’s video feature will provide patrons with a way to highlight local businesses in a more dynamic way to other app users. Make sure your business is camera-ready by cultivating the kind of ambiance you want your customers and mobile consumers to experience.

[Tech News] Google to Offer Discounted Wi-Fi for Small Biz

News Source: Venture Beat

This week, a leaked report on Information.com indicated that Google is planning to continue its investment in the small business sector by providing discounted Wi-Fi hardware and software for SMBs. The release timing of these new offerings is still unknown, but rumored to be as early as this summer.

It appears that, by providing better networking options for small and medium businesses, Google hopes to promote the adoption of some of its other web-based services such as Docs, Apps, and cloud storage.

Key Takeaway: If you’ve struggled to find reliable, affordable Wi-Fi hardware or software for your business, Google’s new offering might solve your problem. However, you’ll likely be sold on the idea of trying a few of Google’s other products as well during the process.

[Payments News] Square Launches Cash-Advance Program for Small Businesses

News Source: Mashable

Mobile payments company Square announced this week that it will be branching out into the lending space with Square Capital. This new cash-advance program provides Square users with a loan that is paid back incrementally as a percentage of future sales (on top of the base transaction fee associated with each charge).

Unlike other business loans, Square Capital has no set time period for repayment, allowing businesses to pay back more when sales are strong and less when sales are down.

The program has been piloted by companies since last year; an exit survey showed that 85% of participants would recommend the program to other businesses.

Key Takeaway: Square has been expanding its offerings over the past year to provide a broader suite of services that will help small businesses succeed and grow. Square Capital is a natural outgrowth of this evolution. Whether this lending model works or not remains to be seen, but it’s an interesting approach that removes much of the pressure of traditional loan repayment from small businesses’ shoulders.

Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know! 

[News] Yelp Listings Integrated with Yahoo Search

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Listings News] Yelp Listings & Reviews Now Showing in Yahoo! Search

News Source: The Next Web

There’ve been rumors for a few months about a potential partnership between Yahoo and Yelp; on Wednesday, those rumors came to fruition with the release of integrated Yelp listings, reviews, and star ratings within Yahoo search results.

Yelp photos and listings information is shown at the top of the results page, with star ratings and reviews beneath the basic business information—following a similar format to what Yelp shows on their own site. A list of regular search results appears next to the Yelp content.

Key Takeaway: Both Bing and Yahoo are now integrating Yelp listings into their search results, and Google is a step ahead of the pack with the release of integrated menus. If you haven’t claimed and perfected your business listings on major publishers yet, now is the time! Take advantage of the latest technology by making sure that accurate, engaging information about your business is everywhere potential customers are looking. 

[Social Media News] Facebook Rolls out New Design for Pages

News Source: Mashable

Facebook has been pushing a number of design changes to its site lately, including a complete News Feed overhaul. This week, they began rolling out an updated look for Business Pages as well.

The new design includes a large right column with Posts and a left column with information about the brand or company. This revised layout makes it easier to users to follow the flow of Posts in chronological order, without having to jump back and forth between two columns as the previous design required.

Page Administrators can also view a revamped Metrics section that includes Likes, Post Reach, ad stats; soon, this section will also include a Pages to Watch feature, which allows you to benchmark your Page’s stats against those of similar Pages in your industry.

Key Takeaway: While not everyone is thrilled about the News Feed redesign, the new Pages design definitely helps improve the flow of content and makes it easier for Page Admins to check up on their stats at a glance without having to click into the Insights panel. These changes should help small business Page owners present content more effectively, and help their followers interact with their content more seamlessly.

[Ecommerce News] Instagram Grows as an Ecommerce Tool

News Source: NY Times

Instagram has long been used to share photos with friends, family, and strangers across the web, but it was never designed to be an ecommerce platform. However, businesses are now taking advantage of the social network to engage consumers with visual marketing and drive online purchases.

For Fox and Fawn, a local small business in Brooklyn, Instagram marketing was purely an experiment at first. Now, after a year and half of posting, the store sees 20-40% of its daily revenue coming from purchases made by Instagram followers.

Other brands have also found ecommerce success on Instagram, citing that the platform feels more “intimate” and “personal” than Facebook or Twitter, where brands tend to sell more directly to consumers via ads or sponsored posts.

Key Takeaway: The power of visual marketing isn’t going away any time soon, and Instagram is taking off as a great social network for both shoppers and marketers alike. If you sell items for your small business online, Instagram might be a good platform for you to try out if you aren’t already.

Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know! 

SEO for Small Business: Online Listings

Improving your own business website is an important factor in SEO, but equally important for local businesses is optimizing the content on your local listings. Because local search drives the majority of traffic to small businesses online, having accurate, robust profile pages on a variety of listings sites and apps is essential.
In this article, we’ll walk you through where to get your business listed, how to incorporate keywords into your listings, and how to optimize your content for maximum visibility in online search.

Where to Get Listed to Boost Your SEO

The more listings you have for your business, the greater impact they’ll have on your overall search ranking. However, search engine listings are especially important because they tie in directly with local search results. For starters, you should make sure to have accurate, consistent business listings on Google Local, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local; CitySearch and Yelp are also important because they feed data to Ask.com, Bing, and Yahoo.

How to Incorporate Keywords in Your Listings

As we discussed last week, including relevant keywords in your online content is essential for SEO purposes, and that’s just as true for your business listings as it is for your website. Some ideas include:

  • Using a consistent format for your business name
  • Choosing consistent business types (which also act as keywords) across your listings
  • Including relevant keywords in your business description

Optimizing Your Content for Maximum Visibility

Beyond making sure that your business information is complete, accurate, and consistent, including rich content in your listings will help you gain even more visibility in local search. Having a searchable menu or list of products and services is essential; otherwise, you’ll miss out on people searching for a specific item rather than a type of business.

Including directions and a link to your website can also help you stand out in search results when a user is faced with multiple listings to look at; listings sites such as Yelp and YellowPages will show whether a business has a menu, linked website, and directions associated with it.

Once people land on your listings page, rich content such as specials, offers, and photos can help entice viewers and set your business apart from other competitors in your local area.

The Bottom Line

Local search and online listings are closely related. It’s important for you to get your business listed on the most important search engines, review sites, and mobile apps. Just as important is optimizing the content of your listings pages to ensure maximum visibility when consumers search for local businesses like yours.

Did you know that SinglePlatform can help you manage your online business listings across the web? Learn more about how we can save you time and get more exposure for your business! 

Local Search: 6 Types of Data to Include in Your Local Listings

Local search is one of the best ways to generate leads. A quality local search presence starts with taking control of your business listings and providing the key points of data that consumers are looking for as they make purchase decisions.
The type of information you can provide varies by publisher, but you should make sure to include these 6 types of data in all your local listings to ensure that your online presence is cohesive and consistent.

1. Business Name, Address, Phone Number, and Hours

Make sure you enter this information exactly the same way across all sites and apps to avoid duplicate entries (e.g. don’t submit Joe’s Towing to one site and Joe’s Towing, Inc. on another). This can cause a less than optimal experience for consumers who may be looking at your listings in multiple places.

2. Service Area

If you have a business that doesn’t have a physical street address, or one that offers deliveries to a specific region, you’ll want to include your service area.

3. Business Categories

Select relevant business categories, as these are the keywords consumers will use to locate a specific business, product, or service. For example, if you own an Italian restaurant that serves pizza and subs, you might choose the categories Restaurant, Pizza, Subs, and Italian.

4. Your Business Description

Provide a concise description of your business that includes the city and state you service.

5. Relevant Keywords

Use keywords whenever possible so that local consumers can find the information they need. This provides a positive experience for the consumer.

6. Rich Content and Links

In addition to your basic information, you can also include rich content such as photos, menus, product and service lists, videos, special offers, and more. Additionally, you can provide links to your company website, social media accounts, and directions to help people find you online and in person.

The Bottom Line

Providing cohesive, detailed information about your business on listings sites and apps will ensure that consumers can find you when they perform a local search, which means more leads for your business.

Want to learn more about how you can use local listings to benefit your small business? Download our free eBook, The Mechanics of Local Listings today.

Local Listings Information—Where Does It Come From?

Over the past few years, the way consumers find and choose restaurants, spas, contractors, stores, and entertainment has evolved dramatically. No longer are people turning to print magazines, local guides, and newspapers to find information about businesses—they’re performing online searches. Ensuring that your business appears in local search results is a crucial marketing effort. Not only do you want your business listed, you also want your business information to be complete and accurate everywhere consumers are looking.

However, this is easier said that done. You may have already researched your online listings and found a variety of misinformation on different sites and apps. And you may be wondering where, exactly, these publishers get their local listings information from.

While each publisher has its own methods for gathering and validating data, the 6 main sources are:

1. Consumers

Some sites and apps allow users to add information about a business, regardless of whether or not they’re affiliated with the business.

2. Business direct claims/submissions

This is when someone directly affiliated with the business provides information to publishers.

3. Listing management services

These services (such as SinglePlatform) help small businesses manage their listings across multiple publishers from a single location.

4. Data aggregators

This source compiles business listing information from multiple channels such as public records, surveys, utilities, merchants, agencies, and web-mining efforts.

5. Vertical-specific providers

This source gathers and sells category-specific business information to others.

6. Scraping

Some publishers use scripts to extract or “scrape” business information from websites.

With all of these sources providing publishers with information, the task of reclaiming your local listings may seem daunting. But never fear. Our latest publication, “The Mechanics of Local Listings,” will walk you through the steps you should take to make sure your business has a cohesive presence across all local search sites and apps. Download the free eBook today.

6 Ways to Enhance Your Online Business Listings

If you’ve researched, claimed, and updated your online business listings, you’ve taken a huge step toward engaging with potential customers. But even if your store hours, contact information, and menu are up to date, you can still do more to entice readers and educate them about the value of your business.
Here are six ways to supercharge your online listings:

1. Add Your Service Area

If your business delivers to or provides services in a limited area, make sure to include this in your listings to avoid frustrating potential customers who are outside your zone.

2. Include Specials and Promotions

Are you excited about a new product, service, or short-term offer? Chances are, your online readers will be, too. Adding specials and promotions to your listings can help you get additional customers in the door with minimal effort.

3. Post Photos of Your Store and Products

“A picture speaks a thousand words”—it may be a cliché, but it’s true. In today’s visually-oriented world, photos are a powerful way to represent your business and pique viewers’ interest.

4. Detail Parking and Public Transit Options

It might not seem important, but showing that your business is easy to get to may be the deciding factor for a potential customer. If they know they don’t have to hassle with street parking, or that your store is just a block from the nearest bus station, they may be more likely to come to you than one of your less-conveniently-located competitors.

5. Link to Your Social Media Accounts

A business listing is an important marketing tool, but it’s designed for short-term interaction. Encouraging visitors to connect with you on social media will keep the conversation going.

The Bottom Line

Today’s choosy consumers want as much information as possible before making a purchase decision. The more robust your online listings are, the better chance you’ll have of securing new business.

Did you know? SinglePlatform can help you make all of these listings enhancements with a single update! Learn more.

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