If you are able to completely fill out the Business Profile offered free from sites like Yahoo! Local and Superpages.com, you will enhance your credibility big-time, which means more customers for you . But you have to fill it out completely… y’know even the certifications and affiliations part. Oh! you left that section blank? Why?
Certifications and affiliations are what give you credibility and set you apart from the newbie hacks in your industry. And I have seen studies that show in print ads these mentions help the ad convert.
Here’s how I would recommend going about it… Let’s use a Lansdscape Architect as an example. Go to Google and do a search for Landscape Architect plus your state. I did it for Landscape Architect NY. The first listing is for the ASLA, an organization devoted to the industry. If I am serious about my business, I should belong to this organization, don’t you think? Ya, I know it costs money to join but if you believe in what they do it should be worth it. Plus you can now put ASLA Member on your website with their nice logo. Instant credibility for you. Also, the site has a search box that allows people to search the site to find a local Landscape Architect – qualified traffic… perfect.
The next result is the NYSCLA. This site offers all the same benefits as above but with an added bonus – I can write it out and get the keywords ‘New York’ and ‘Landscape Architect’ on the page. Oh! it’s all good.
Next, if I have been in business for over a year and have no complaints on file, I can join the Better Business Bureau.
Now when someone is looking in my area for my service they will see that I am a member of the ASLA, the NYSCLA (spelled out or with the <abbr> tag), and the BBB, whether they come to my site or my business profile… Voila’ – instant credibility.
Next, does your industry require you to be licensed? It does… good. Typically the state or whomever else requires and issues the license will have a website. Find the page that shows that you are licensed and copy and past the url into your site and create a link to make it easier for your visitors to find… more credibility for you and if your competition didn’t take the time to do this simple step, their visitors maybe wonder why, don’t you think?
Your certifications and affiliations may also provide you with the best possible links for your site. Which is as it should be… as you build credibility with your customers, you also build credibility with search engines. Hmmm… those search engines are getting pretty smart, eh?
Now, if you haven’t done it already, do some searches for your line of business and then add some geographic modifiers. I bet there are some folks working pretty hard to improve your industry. Support them… your customers will appreciate it and so will they. And let me know what you find out; I’d love to hear about it.