While these are difficult times for small businesses in B.C., there’s a lot of support out there to help you get through COVID-19—and recover after the pandemic is over. The BC Marketplace is one of these supports. Our aim is to connect people to their local businesses. A Marketplace profile can be a powerful tool to help you do that. For example, did you know that a keyword-optimized BC Marketplace listing can help your search ranking on Google?
While we’re working hard to attract local shoppers to the BC Marketplace, it’s important to do everything you can to make your business stand out. Here are some easy steps you can take to optimize your BC Marketplace profile.
When was the last time you looked at your profile? Was it a case of create it and forget it? With so many things to do as a business owner, keeping your online profiles up-to-date can easily drop to the bottom of your list.
Adding an alert to your calendar to review your BC Marketplace profile, your Google Business listing, and other profiles each month will make sure you remember. If you catch a broken link, a typo, or a missed opportunity, a few minutes spent regularly reviewing your profile(s) is time well spent.
When it comes to your BC Marketplace profile, here’s what to look for:
If you want a good example of a profile, check out The Very Good Butchers. We’ll look at some of the specific things we like about their profile below, but here’s a great example of including as much key information as possible:
The rest of this article provides some actionable tips to improve your BC Marketplace profile in some of these key areas.
If your first instinct is to run for the hills when you hear the term “search engine optimization (SEO),” have no fear. While SEO can get pretty technical, there are some very easy things you can do with keywords to make your BC Marketplace profile easier to find within the BC Marketplace website and though Google.
Firstly, a quick SEO primer. There are two basic types of SEO—on-page and off-page. On-page is what you can control and update. It includes adding keywords to your visible and behind-the-scenes (meta) text. It’s more about “what” you rank for in search engines, eg. “Pet grooming in Vancouver.”
Off-page concerns how popular and authoritative your website is, which is determined by a range of factors, including what sites link to you, how often your site is updated, how much traffic you get, how you compare to your competition, etc. It’s more about “where” you rank in search engines, eg., first or 10th in the search engine results.
Here are some things you can do to improve your on-page SEO by optimizing your profile for search. Log in to your profile and take a look at the following sections you can edit:
This is an easy one. You may have a registered business name that includes “company” or “incorporated,” but stick to the business name you are known by, eg., “Victoria Tours” instead of “Victoria Tours Incorporated.” If you operate under your personal name, you can add the service you offer after it, eg., “Joe Bloggs – Bike Mechanic.”
Your business name shows up at the top of your profile page and in both the BC Marketplace and Google search results.
This field is your chance to describe your business in one sentence. The sub-headline shows up in bold at the top of your profile page, and in both the BC Marketplace and Google search results, so it’s important to make good use of this section:
Think of this as a one-sentence value proposition for your business. Keep it short (aim for around 50-70 characters) and include what you do and, if possible, a taste of what sets you apart. Here’s a great example:
Think “butcher” and most people think “meat.” The Very Good Butchers in Victoria, however, offers plant-based meats. Their sub-headline clearly communicates the what (“plant-based meats”) and some “why” (“quality”) so people know what they’re all about just from their search results listing. It’s not clever or wordy; it’s just a short, clear sentence that says exactly what it needs to say.
Your business description is where you tell people about your products or services, the value you offer customers, and any other relevant information. Think of this as an extended version of your sub-headline. While the sub-headline gives you just a few seconds to tell someone about your business, your description lets you provide some more detail.
Keep it brief—150 to 500 words or so. A longer description helps you include more keywords relevant to your business to help people find you through the BC Marketplace or Google. Usually these will show up organically as you write, but it’s worth going back through it to see if you can tweak certain words or phrases to match what people are likely to search online for.
Think of your profile as a one-pager about your business. Keep the copy clear and focused, and use sub-headings in longer copy, eg., “What we do,” “Our products,” and “How to buy.” There might be some copy on your business website you can repurpose on your profile page. In terms of your voice and tone, keep it friendly and approachable—as if you’re talking to a customer face-to-face.
When it comes to a good example of a description, The Very Good Butchers again knocked it out of the park. It’s short but tells people what they do and provides some insight into their ethos and personality:
Here’s another good example of a description from Touch Wood Rings. It provides useful, interesting information that helps you quickly get what their business is all about:
The BC Marketplace offers a few additional features to help you attract more business:
You can include a special offer, for example to celebrate a holiday or provide a discount on a specific product. You can choose the offer duration. Just remember to take down or replace expired offers. Here’s a good example from Wild Root Journeys:
If you have a well-reviewed Google Business page, you can add it to your profile to automatically display Google Business reviews on your listing. “Social proof” like this can help drive more business. Here’s an example of how a review looks on your profile:
Don’t forget to add your social media links to your profile to help people learn more about you and follow you on their preferred platform.
Review your profile today and see where you can improve it. If you want to make changes, click on “Edit your profile” on the BC Marketplace website and log in to your account.
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