The first job of your business website: Get your name, address, phone and other contact information in front of website visitors so they can become customers as easily as possible. Almost as important: Get that same info in front of search engines so they can decide how to place your business on their pages. Here are some tips on how to make both kinds of site visitors happy.
Put Your Contact Info Where They Can’t Miss It!
This is not an Easter egg hunt, people. Put that big ole phone number in the top bar that appears on all the pages of the website, or even in the lead image on the home page, like Applewood Plumbing does. If you’re looking for a more dignified approach, try a prominent box in the upper right of the screen (where our eyes tend to wander first), like the Fienman Defense law firm website. And don’t forget the footer, the strip at the bottom of the pages, where many people expect to find contact information.
Yes, it all sounds too obvious to mention – and yet countless small-business websites make users search for a Contact Us page as the only place to find a phone and address.
TIP: Make sure your contact info is NOT just part of a graphic or image. Search engines can’t read that, so be sure all your important information is in TEXT format on your pages.
Have a Contact Us or Locations Page
No disrespect to Contact Us pages. You should have one as a handy place to aggregate phone, address, or contact forms. Plus, these pages may appear as their own links in Google, giving you more real estate on the search engine pages (see this example for Bell Plumbing). Ditto for a Locations page that aggregates your multiple store locations in one place.
Give Each Location a Page
If you have multiple locations, here’s an opportunity to give users contact information plus more useful details on your business. It’s also an opportunity to create more pages to appear on search engines for more search terms, using pages titled with [fill in a neighborhood name] plumber or bicycle repair or whatever. To make the search engines (and real people) happy, these pages should not be cookie cutter but should have unique content, for instance, descriptions, photos, special offers, hours of operation, links to reviews for the location, plus a unique phone number (not just a central number) and of course, the address.
Show Your Locations on Maps
You can easily make a Google map for your location appear on your web page: Enter the street address in Google, copy the web address of the Google map page and paste that in the code for your page. For a map with more functionality, web developers use the Google Maps API. If you’re running a WordPress website, there’s a long list of store-locator plug-ins to display maps and manage location information through the WordPress publishing tool.
Make Sure Your Contact Information Is Search Engine Friendly
The search engine companies agreed on a standard way to add location, phone, hours of operation and business descriptions to the code for a web page so they would at least not miss this info and at best could display it attractively on their search results pages. These standards are collected in something called Schema.org. Drop this name to your web services company or the genius niece who runs your website and they’ll know you mean business!
And this is big: Google looks for consistent business name, phone numbers and addresses as they appear on your website, your Google Places or Google + pages, your internet yellow pages listings and anywhere else on the web to determine the legitimacy of your business and therefore how high to rank you on their pages. So make sure you display the correct (and unique) phone and address for each location.
Image from Applewood Plumbing, Denver, homepage