Want to know what the bozos who try to sell you expensive local SEO programs are doing?
Kudos to them for seeing an opportunity and taking it, but really... screw them. In this article, I'm going to show you how a consulting client of mine in the next state over invests quite a bit in their web use, was missing over 50% of their potential traffic. Then, I'm going to share with you how to correct this mistake for yourself and completely dominate your local searches with about an hour's worth of work.
First, let me be very clear that nothing is more valuable for your school's website than a cleanly structured framework.
There are a few simple solutions to getting this done, but one thing is for sure; if you don't know what you're doing, then leave it to a professional. Don't think you can have some high school kid run your site in exchange for free classes. That's bullshit. Period.
Imagine one of your customer telling you they want to buy a book on your martial art, learn it there and then manage your school for you ... What would you say?
For solid online visibility and indexing, you must have your site structure set up correctly, your site map, verifications, content frequency (blogging) and social funneling. Your keywords and meta data should all be structured around your prospects and target audience. That takes experience and knowledge, invest in it. In this article I'm assuming you've set your site up correctly.
You're about to give me a virtual high five.
If you think below is worth the read and find yourself following my steps, feel free to buy me a coffee as I just made your school get more visibility online. I'm not joking.
GetListed.org is a super cool resource that is totally free and will tell you where your school is not listing, or worse is not claimed (!) and will also share with you inaccurate details across different local search aggregators and review sites that your school must be listed on.
I promise you, if you spend an hour on getlisted and make the simple adjustments they recommend, your site will dominate regional listings within your market and snuff your competitors. Can you go to the next level and use a service like Yext? I suppose, if you want to spend $800 a year. But follow my steps and see your results.
I'll take an example from a random school that has a reasonably ok presence online and is home to one of the business gurus who get paid alot to teach marketing to martial art school owners.
Considering this specific location is the premiere school representing their chain of schools, their online presence is vital to business health.
I went to getlisted.org and simply typed in their business name and zip.
Now... this school has been around for decades, but are failing in the new economy of the web. Sure they'll get pissed at me for saying this, but that doesn't change the fact that they are still failing.
The good news is that with getlisted.org, they can quickly turn this around. Better, I'll bet that not a single martial arts school they compete with are listing anywhere close to them - for now.
Actually, this number can be deceiving. If their campaigns are in place and rolling, supported by a solid social media funnel, then this 48% of un-tapped prospects could easily turn into exponentially more. That's up to how they are strategizing their online and offline campaigning efforts congruent with their inbound marketing strategy. So, it's a tough metric to realistically grab without some pretty high level software. But one thing is for sure, if they were in 5th grade, they'd be getting a firm talking to by their parents, not be allowed to play their Atari for a month and have to go to summer school, (let alone consult people on how to do this stuff).
What can they do to correct this?
Pretty simple, getlisted.org offers a Create Listing link that will direct them to the correct page they'll need to set their account up. They must take their time and set these up correctly with as much quality information as they can. In my opinion, anyone who half-asses this stuff should be considered yourself a half-ass business owner. They should plan on dedicating a solid hour and keep their school's phone near them as they will receive a verification call from a few of the listing companies.
Now, let's look at a monster... Listings that exist, but are not claimed. In other words, your school is wide open for damage. It's like leaving your door wide open at your Dojo when there's no classes going on and nobody is there.
Search aggregators give priority to claimed businesses and position them first within the hierarchy of listings. To them, you're real and are not a closed or fake business. They want to send their customers to quality sites with fresh content, so positioning claimed sites first is in their best interest.
Among the major aggregators for local traffic, three of the big ones are not even claimed by our sample school. By clicking the Claim Listing provided by getlisted.org, they will be able to verify this account ownership and register their business for free. When this is complete, they will get bumbed up in the search hierarchy big time.
Now let's check out this school's inaccurate information listing. In such platforms as Yelp and Google, their info is not accurate and inconsistent with other platform listings. This is very bad, as these aggregators may not identify the site in an associated search. In other words, notice sometimes when you Google a business and a Yelp or CitySearch review icon comes up below the listing? This is because there is cross platform synergy with their listing details. Mess this up and you are leaving money on the table, clear and simple.
Here's how to fix this. Like the other solutions, getlisted.org makes it stupid simple. First, this school owner should identify where their inaccurate details are by locating the little black dots getlisted.org provides. They'll scroll over them for more drilled down details. They should get a complete idea of what is missing on these pages, then click the Edit button to the right. Getlisted.org will take them right to where they need to go to make the correction.
I noticed some details that the getlisted intelligence didn't pick up with this Dojo. Apparently, this school doesn't have their website link on their Yelp listing. Big mistake! I went to their listing page just to confirm. Nope, no link on Yelp. While there, I noticed a 1 star review on Yelp that can be damaging to a consumers purchasing influence when looking for a martial arts school. Their Yelp account is hurting their business. Period.
You will also notice that their business name on Google is not cross platform consistent. Big mistake as Google searches may not associate the other listings as the same business (which in their case with Yelp may be a good thing). It's critical that all search aggregators and local listing sites see all listings as the same business.
Alright! Discover the weak points your business has online and get them corrected at no charge on getlisted.org. This will position your online visibility and reputation with strong authority that can only benefit your business.
Let me hear how this worked out for you. How did your business rank?