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Is Your Spa Lost in Internet Searches

By: Will Scott
Posted: September 28, 2012, from the October 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Local clients are moving online at a breathtaking rate. There are more mobile phones on the planet than there are toothbrushes and televisions.1 Half of the United States is on Facebook, and 20% of Facebook users purchased something because of ads or comments they saw.2, 3 Online reviews influenced 70% of consumers’ buying decisions.4 With all this data illustrating what most business owners know intuitively, what’s a local business to do?

By focusing on three areas, your skin care facility can be present in the majority of places where your client is looking. Remember: If you’re not there, your competition is.

When local searchers are looking for you, their search will probably start with Google. The Google algorithm (a fancy word for a big mathematical equation) is not just one algorithm. In any given search results page, there are multiple algorithms at play. There are the traditional or organic rankings, paid listings and map listings. Depending on the nature of the search, there are videos, photos and products interwoven with the main search results. So what does it take for your business to be No. 1?

You can buy it. Google, Bing and other online sites sell ads to show up at the top of the listings before the regular, organic listings. Ad prices vary depending on the industry you are in and the competitiveness of your local area. Paid search ads are a great way to gain access to your local market and spend a lot of money without much accountability. If you are going to spend money on paid ads, have a mechanism to track their effectiveness by using web forms, call tracking numbers and coupons. Your Web developer can modify your website to track where people came from, what they searched for and on which page of your site they chose to take action.

What about the free listings? There are two ways to show up at the top of the page in local searches. One is in the traditional organic listings. The other is on the map. To get on the map, you must display your name, address and phone number (NAP). This information is critical in ranking local searches. Your business information appears in hundreds of online references. Ensure that your NAP is consistent in all of those sources, including the following.

  • Bing
  • Yahoo
  • Citysearch
  • Yelp