By Sharon Hassler—If you’re looking for non-loan signings and want John Q. Public to find you shining at the top of the heap. Maybe—if you only want to handle loan document signings. Think about who’s going to contact you if you’re on page one of Google results for a “notary public” search. Is that the customer you want?

One of our members whose page reached number one in Google said it was a blessing and a curse. Her page placed tops for “notary signing agent” and “notary signing” plus her city and state, but it also placed well for other notary search terms. She said she received too many requests for non-loan signings, such as auto title transfers, from Google search results which she didn’t want, and she got most of the loan signing agent calls from the notary directories she was in. Be careful what you wish for…

Marketing Non-Loan Notary Services

In some states, only attorneys or licensed title agents can oversee loan closings, so notaries must look for other types of signings. If this is your focus, then improving your position in search results can help your business grow. Start by making sure you list each type of service you offer on your web page or site. “Legal documents” doesn’t tell Google anything. If a potential customer does a search for “notary wills pasadena ca” (without the quotes), Google scans its database and displays only exact matches for those words. No human logic is involved determining that “wills” falls under “legal documents.” If “wills” isn’t specifically mentioned on a notary’s web page or site, that notary won’t show up for that search. Likewise, if a notary describes the service area as “Los Angeles and surrounding cities,” that notary won’t show up for a search for “pasadena ca.” To improve your position in search results, list all types of documents you notarize and services you provide. Also include about 20 to 30 cities and zips. (Don’t make a long list of every city and zip or your site may get penalized for keyword stuffing.) Think about the customer you want and the search terms that customer might use; then include them on your web page or site.

Marketing Notary Signing Services

Notary signing agents should consider how their customers—signing, title and mortgage companies—find notaries. The companies we speak with on our Signing Company Directory say they check their databases first, then their favorite notary directories, then try a Google search. They expect serious signing agents to advertise in the top notary directories or have a website, but they check their own databases FIRST, so that should tell you how to prioritize your marketing efforts.

To optimize your profile page, repeat the term “notary signing agent” (NOT “notary public”) several times to help human visitors and search engines understand your focus. To avoid receiving calls for general notary business you don’t want, you could mention on your page that you specialize in, or are only available for, signing loan documents—if that’s allowed by your state regulations. Some states don’t allow you limit your business and consider what you do a public service that should be available for any request even if you only make $2.

Reviewing the Competition

Do several searches in Google using the search terms your preferred customers might use. Check out the sites in all results on page 1. (If the results include lots of spammy or unrelated sites that have no value, you’ll need to check page 2 results, also.) You may want to join any reasonably priced or free directories that appear on page 1 or 2. Visit individual notary web sites on page 1 and 2 and review their content. Whatever they’re doing on their pages is working for them but do NOT copy the text or you’ll be guilty of copyright infringement!

While we’re on the subject of copying…Your web page or site should reflect you not some other notary. Plus there are many other factors besides page content that help sites do well on Google. Copying is NOT the answer for good placement. Adding an original paragraph or two to a copied page or changing 3 or 4 words per sentence is still considered plagiarism. It’s stealing and it’s illegal. If you already have a website or have posted articles online, visit Copyscape and enter the web address of any page you want to check to see if the text has been stolen. You might be surprised at what you find!

See Reaching Number 1 in Google and check out our Internet & Websites section for more help with Internet marketing.