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Catchy or uncommon business names can be great but not when it comes to Google search results. You certainly do not want potential clients typing your name into search, and being unable to find you because they cannot spell your name.  Don't go to the drastic step of changing your name to something that is easy to spell. You also do not have to follow our example of calling ourselves, Chicago Social Media Marketers, a name we chose when the words in your url affected SEO.  We have found several steps that you can take to help people who are misspelling your name, find you in search.

First go to Google search and type in the common misspelling of your company’s name. Google is very good at correcting misspellings. We have all seen the, showing search results for, when we misspelled words. If they are fixing it you have nothing to worry about. If they are not able to guess what the searcher really wanted to search for, you need to scroll down and see for yourself if your business is at the top of the search results.  If your company name is not at the top of the list you need to take some steps to make sure that potential customers can find you.

I recently worked with the automotive marketing company LotLinx. Their problem was that there were nearly as many people searching for Lot Links as for their actual name. They were on the first page of search results for Lot Links but at the bottom of the page.

There are several steps that you can take to fix this problem:

Buy the website name for the misspelled word and redirected it to your homepage to ensure that people typing the misspelling directly into the address bar end up on your website. A good idea but, as a freestanding page with no SEO, it will not show up in search results.

Create a Google AdWords ad and use the misspelling as a keyword.  This will result is that when  anyone searches for the term, your ad will appear at the top of the page. A good option if you have an AdWords account. The downside is that you are stuck paying for every click on the ad and many people ignore ads.

For LotLinx I recommended adding the misspelling of their name to their website.  Luckily while it is a misspelling of their name they are correctly spelled words. We do not recommended just adding incorrect spellings to your site, there are some ways around it. In this case we used: “LotLinx, commonly misspelled Lot Links” and “LotLinx, pronounced Lot Links”. We were able to add the keyword phrase to the website a couple of times and Google noticed them within hours, something that we found amazing. By the next day LotLinx had moved up several places in search results for Lot Links and they were near the top of the page.  On Yahoo the change was even more pronounced and they went to the top search result.

These few easy steps can help people who are actively searching for your business find you and hopefully become customers.   

Recently we were asked to give a social media campaign pitch in Evanston, a suburb that we did not know very well. Full disclosure: we are lovers of beer and are always on the lookout for new small breweries. The Chicago area is home to over one hundred breweries and there are some cozy little places tapping some great small batch beers. Of course there are also breweries and tap rooms whose beer offerings taste like something that your uncle just brewed with his home brewing kit!  So the challenge was to find an outstanding small brewery to visit in our trip to this suburb.

We could go onto Google and search for breweries in that area, wade through a bunch of listings trying to find a place that is located near our destination. But the best option is Google Maps. In the Google Maps app I can zoom into a specific area and then type the word ‘breweries’ in the search box.  We did this for Evanston and three breweries popped up along with their Google reviews. Naturally we started with the highest rated one and ultimately ended up going there. Well, we loved it and it has become one of our favorite local breweries, Sketchbook Brewing, which is in the charming Main-Dempster Mile section of Evanston. We did the same thing when heading to another Chicago suburb, Naperville, and ended up at Solemn Oath, another great brewery.

The lesson, besides that the Chicago area has a lot of great breweries, is that many people are using Google Maps instead of Google Search to find businesses, and reviews on Google can make your business standout.

Google Maps now has over 1 billion users and its popularity is growing. So what can you do, as a business owner, to make sure that people are finding your store? First and foremost make sure that it is on Google Maps. This is something you can do yourself. You will need a Google account, it can be your personal account, and then you need to follow the steps on the Google Support page:

1.     Open Google Maps and make sure you're signed in.
2.     Zoom in to the map where you want to add your business.
3.     In the bottom right, click Send Feedback.
4.     Click Add a missing place.
5.     Drag the marker where your business is, and add any relevant information.
6.     Click Submit.

Make sure that you add as much information as you can. Adding your phone number will let potential customers call you with a simple click. Photos are also important. We added a client’s art gallery in a small Indiana town to Google Maps and the cover photo received over 10,000 views in less than a year. You should also ‘claim’ the business so you have more control over the listing.

Now you will need review with high ratings that will encourage searchers to choose your business.  Getting 5 star reviews on Google is simple; provide great service or products. We know that it is not really that simple, but in today’s world reviews are more important than ever. 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. So how do you go about getting great online reviews? Take a lesson from Realtors. Sites like Zillow allow Realtors to request reviews from their clients. You can rest assured they are not asking any of their unhappy clients to do reviews. You can follow their lead and ask happy clients to go onto Google and leave a review. One survey found that 7 out of 10 people will happily review a business when asked. Just make sure to ask them politely and ask them to leave an honest review.     

Author: Douglas Boehm, Chicago Social Media Marketers.


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