Credit: Broadly

25 years ago, getting the word out about one’s new business felt like a near-impossible feat. For many, it was all about word of mouth—tell a friend who will tell another, and hopefully another, and so forth. Flyers had to be posted around town and enticing ads in the paper had to be purchased. They had to share enough about one’s business to draw in customers, but not so much that people wouldn’t stop to read and learn more.

Thanks to the creation of Google, the way consumers find businesses has drastically changed. Traditional forms of print advertisement have fallen to the backburner. Google has absolutely become the new Yellow Pages. To find the highest rates of success, business owners need to not only have an online presence, but a solid Google listing.

Credit: Bapist Health Blog

“Your average consumer isn’t turning to their newspaper to find whatever services they need anymore,” Lloyd Gronich, an expert from Oak Park, California says. “For instance, consumers are more likely to look up ‘real estate agents near me’ than to grab a paper from the grocery store these days.”

If small businesses want to be noticed on Google there are a few things they must do: have a great looking website, utilize the proper keywords for their business, and have a complete Google business profile.

Credit: Forbes

A good-looking website is all about the service one uses and the people who produce it. If a small business owner has experience creating quality sites, then great, but chances are that is not the case. Business owners should not try to take this in their own hands. Even if the proper keywords brings clients to one’s website, an ugly website leaves clients with a bad first impression. This can turn away their business.

Use Rabbi Robert Silverman’s website for example. The text is clean and easy to read. The site colors are soft and representative of the Rabbi’s main service—wedding officiating. If one clicks around on any of the topics in the heading, they will find information on precisely that topic. Clients won’t get lost in confusing subheading and hyperlinks. Everything is right where they need it. Business owners should discuss with their clients

On a similar note, if one’s website is beautiful, but no one can find it, then it won’t attract consumers. Clients need to be able to locate one’s business through the use of keywords that apply to their business. Using keywords often, and correctly, will bump a business to the first page of Google—which is positively crucial, as most consumers don’t even click onto the second page of Google when looking for a service.

Let’s take the National Network Reporting Company (or the NNRC) for example. Upon looking up “court reporting directory,” what does one find? A link to the NNRC’s directories and resources for finding court reporting firms. How about “national court reporting?” Again, the NNRC is on the first page of search results. By utilizing these keywords across their website and social medias, the NNRC slates itself on the first page of Google, ensuring that customers find them.

Finally, small business owners would be remiss to not take full advantage of the Google My Business service. This business profile is totally free and offers clients a rundown of the essential aspects of your business, such as address (shared on a map), contact information, and information on the business at a glance.

Business owners should not stop there. Through Google My Business, business owners can include attribute tags that describe the business, a messaging section for answering quick questions, share latest offers, accept digital payments, and start a Google Ad campaign.

When looks up Shalloway & Shalloway, they find a business listing that takes advantage of all these aspects and more. In one quick search, prospective clients can read business reviews, find out about upcoming events, and more on top of all that is mentioned above. Clients can find out all the major things they want to find out about the business without having to even click on the website.

By taking the time to fine-tune these Google resources, small businesses are more likely to find success. If questions arise, don’t throw your hands in the air and give up. Consult a professional and get your small business off the ground the right way.