Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque highlights the value of signs and Google My Business as Local paper artist Vicki Bolen puts up a sign for visibility.

Signs of Visibility

“Hanging a sign on a cow that says ‘I am a horse’ does not make it a horse.” –Unknown

In the digital world, signs of visibility generally refer to search presence. On-line or off-line, the impression your customer has of you and your business can hardly be under-estimated. 

Previously, a business person would “hang out a shingle?” 

For Vicki Bolen, paper artist, friend and former Amapola Gallery member (the local artist co-op to which I belong) physical appearance took front and center this year. After painting her building, she added new signage.

Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque highlights the value of signs and Google My Business as Local paper artist Vicki Bolen puts a sign up for visibility.

©2016, Vicki Bolen, Little Bird de Papel

If you have a physical location, identify your business with a sign. If you’re a brick and mortar business, one of the easiest ways to augment your signage, is to claim your business presence on Google My Business.

Google My Business lets you manage your online presence for businesses. For some, it is a way to digitally “hang out a shingle.” You may have previously used Google Places or managed your business from a Google+ page. Now, you can add to your search and business information by claiming and verifying your Google My Business listing.

The growing acceptance of smartphones pushes maps to new and critical importance. People use their phones to search for business information of all types. Claim your business listing in order to position your business on Google maps.

Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque looks for signs of visibility, illustrated by this Little Bird de Papel map on Google My Business.

© 2016, Little Bird de Papel map

Google, the search gorilla, uses maps to create immediate search results but also ties in a variety of tools. The growing use of Google Drive, YouTube access, Google Wallet, (or other Google tools) illustrates this.

Download the Google Earth app and look at your street view location in real time. Or, consider Zagat, a review site now owned by Google. It easily integrates with Google My Business. Reviews are increasingly important to Google rankings. 

Considering all things digital, take time to audit your profile on Google+ as well as other channels. Google your business name. What shows? Are there old listings you have forgotten? Do you see errors?

Five Actions to Up Online Visibility

Here are five specific actions to update your Google+/GoogleMyBusiness profile.

  1. Update your logo and/or profile picture.
  2. Standardize all information. (This can be as simple as deciding exactly how your supplemental address will show: Suite B, #B, -B, etc. Make sure all listings on all social media channels are the same.)
  3. Use the same phrases and keywords to describe your business in all channels.
  4. Find and delete old pages. Although the process takes time, it eliminates frustration for your audience.
  5. Review your pictures. GoogleMyBusiness allows you to have multiple pictures, or it picks from photos you have on the web. Control your presence with updated pictures reflective of the season and your business.

Once you begin, you may be encouraged to upgrade your appearance in other areas or channels. Be sure you’re listed locally. A number of channels offer local options, including Better Business Bureau, Merchants Circle, Chamber of Commerce, and more.

Audit, update and proof all listings for completion and consistency. (Once again we take a look at the example from Vicki Bolen.)

Vicki Bolen, paper artist on Etsy: 

This is the etsy shop for Little Bird de Papel, as illustrated by Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque in signs of visibility.

Vicki Bolen, papert artist on Facebook:

Mary Ellen Beads emphasizes consistency is one of the signs of visibility as shown by this Facebook Page for Little Bird de Papel.

Start where you and amp up your signs of visibility. GoogleMyBusiness anyone?