Your customer's digital journey has become fragmented. In fact, consumers interact with your brand 2.7x more times on third-party sites than on your own website.* So it's crucial that you be in full control over the public-facing facts about your business (e.g., name, address, phone number, and other key attributes) across the web. This includes places like Google and Bing, plus voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, social networks like Facebook, your website, and hundreds of other key places where people search.
But it's not enough for your information to be accurate. It needs to be optimized. Do you indicate if you offer gluten-free options or free WiFi? These details help to tell your brand story, and as consumer searches become increasingly specific and sophisticated, they play a significant role in your business's locations showing up in search.
Your locations aren't the only public-facing facts about your brand that need to be controlled. That same foundation is critical for your professionals — like doctors or financial advisors — which may just be your secret weapon in search.
Highlight the human side of your business.
Consumers are increasingly looking for professionals such as doctors, financial advisors, or insurance agents in search. Searches like, "insurance agents near me," no longer result in a local pack of only insurance branches, but instead may return a local pack of insurance branches and agents.
Your professionals are being found just about everywhere your business locations are. Are you doing everything you can to ensure they show up in search?
We've all had the unfortunate experience of driving to the wrong location or calling a non-working number. To provide the best possible customer experience, this information needs to be accurate and consistent, everywhere people are searching. When search engines crawl the web, you want to showcase consistent information about your professionals everywhere — from Google and Bing, to your own website.
Here's how to highlight your people in search:
1. Build pages for your professionals.
Search engines like Google consider your website an authoritative source of information. Building pages for your professionals provides search engines with a home base for their public facts, and helps to verify that information to publishers around the web. It's important that you use one platform to create your pages and update the facts about your professionals on third-party sites, so that you can easily maintain consistency and accuracy — and provide the best experience possible.
2. Optimize your data.
Search has become conversational with more and more consumers searching for things like "best loan officer near me," or "orthopedic surgeon in New York who speaks Spanish and is accepting new patients." To select the best answer to a query like this, AI-powered services like Google, Siri, and Alexa evaluate information like your customer reviews, and the deep attributes about your professionals (like what types of insurance they accept or what languages they speak).
On your website and third-party sites, your professionals' digital presence needs to be optimized. This means:
Having a reviews management strategy — including monitoring, response, and using analytics to make informed improvements.
Adding deep attributes about your professionals that consumers might search for, like languages spoken, specialties, whether they accept new patients or clients, etc.
Adding rich content like photos and videos to build your brand.
Up to this point, the public-facing facts about your locations and professionals may have lived in multiple different platforms. But as new search experiences start to surface the facts about your brand in new ways, it's critical to have a single platform that houses all of that information — and in a structured way that shows how that information relates to each other. Which professionals work in which offices? Which offices are hosting which events?
By managing all of the publicly-facing information about your locations, people, and events, you put yourself in the best possible position to control the information about your brand, provide a great customer experience, and optimize your brand in search — for today, and for the future.
*Yext Customer Study, 2017