By Sharon Hassler—You could be missing an opportunity for more business if you’re not taking full advantage of your profile page. Remember it’s much more than a directory listing. This is a comprehensive web page profile where you can post as much information as most notaries have on their 5 or 6 page website!

How Do Keywords Help?

We’re seeing an increasing number of visitors coming straight from searches in Google, Bing and Yahoo to individual member pages where those members have included more keywords on their page, such as repeating “notary signing agent” two or three times on their page and including counties, cities and a number of zip codes—more good search terms. Sure, most visitors—especially signing/mortgage/title companies—still come to our home page and start their search there, but by improving your page with more keywords, you have the opportunity of attracting customers directly to your page from searches in Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. Assuming you have provided enough info on your page to impress your visitors, they’ll most likely contact you and not do another search on our site. You’ve just bypassed the competition!

Understand How Search Engines Work

Search engines such as Google and Bing send out robot spiders to gather information from web sites which they store in their databases. Data is the key here. When you do a search in Google, all their stored data is instantly scanned for the specific terms of your search. If they don’t have the specific terms you searched for in their data, they don’t display something close. Although they’ve updated their algorithm to include related keywords, they don’t make logical connections such as someone searching for a city and Google serves up a nearby city instead.

It works the same as when you do search in a Word document. If you have a Word document that’s a recipe for fruit salad and you search for banana, Word will tell you “not found” if banana isn’t on that page. It doesn’t reason you’re looking for fruit, so maybe something similar to banana like apple, pear, grape, etc., will help you out. Nope, if banana isn’t in that document, Word doesn’t come up with options. It’s the same thing online: if you list only names of counties but no cities or zip codes, you will NOT show up in Google results for cities or zip codes. Close doesn’t count in searches, so include good keywords on your web page (or your web site) to help your position in search engine results—however, don’t go crazy with listing too many cities or zips because you want your page to look attractive to visitors. Find a balance.

Freshen Up: Google Likes Old and New

Google rewards web pages and sites for their age and fresh content which they equate with stability and updated information. Google “thinks” that a combination of dependable and accurate info should provide the best search results. You can’t rush the aging process, but make a note on your calendar to revisit your web page at least every other month to add or revise something on your page to keep it fresh. Add testimonials to increase your credibility with signing/title/mortgage companies. Add more cities or zip codes. Improve your content whenever you can, even if it’s simply rewriting what’s already there. Keep it fresh and accurate.

Speaking of accurate… While you’re freshening up your page, check it for accuracy. Did you enter your phone number correctly? Email address? Street, City, State and Zip? NOTE: If you have a new email address be sure to scroll down on your Account page and change your email address in our database, too. That’s the one that’s private with us so it may be different from the public one on your page.

Google Loves Social Networking (2013)

While the folks at Google won’t actually tell you how their algorithm works, plenty of Internet gurus review every algorithm update to give their best guess at what Google’s looking for now. “Penguin” updates in 2013 hammered sites with spammy links and many websites were dropped from their index so instead of showing up in results on page 1, they didn’t show up anywhere. Talk about panic! Thing is, don’t try to game Google. Google wants to know what your website focuses on so you can legitimately take advantage of focus by making sure you have the best keywords to represent your business. One of the biggest changes (or best guesses) in 2013 was the growing importance of social sites. This is one way that Google’s robot can determine if your business is still active which makes it a good website to display in search results. By posting to Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, you’re letting Google know you’re actively involved in your business and are looking for visitors. Check out helpful software such as Hootsuite (my favorite) to post to all three social networking sites at the same time.

Review Your Competition

Every month or so, along with freshening up your page, visit our home page and do a quick search for notaries in your service area. How does your page compare to theirs? Is there a notary who has created a great page including four impressive testimonials? Which notary do you think is getting more calls? Maybe you’ve treated your web page like a plain vanilla listing or you were in a hurry and all you did was enter your contact info and check off the basics. Invest some time now on your web page. Don’t waste the opportunities that a content-rich web page can offer your business.