Title: Big Three search engines offer a business perk: Local Search
By: Jonny Buroker
Local search – what is it?
More people are using search engines that ever before to find the products and services they are interested in locally. Is your company taking advantage of the “free” advertising opportunity given to you by the search engines with their Local Search profiles? That’s correct! The top 3 search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) all have a Local Search feature that gives you, the business, the opportunity to submit your company profile such that when people are searching for your products and services in your geographic area, your business could be prominently listed and easy to find – free advertising!
Below is a partial screen shot of a search I did for “restaurant” from my office in Waunakee, WI. Note that I didn’t put “restaurant Waunakee” or “restaurant Madison” in my search, just “restaurant”. Google is smart enough to know where I am based upon my IP address and they want to immediately give the searcher the most relevant results and so they provide the Local Business Results along with the usual search results. All of the businesses in the example below have either set up their own profiles on Google Local, or, Google set it up based upon the data they receive from third party sources.
the value of Local search to your business
The search engines are looking to increase the value of their local search and mapping applications and so they each provide an easy to use profile submission process for you to tell them more about your business. Many businesses are unaware of the local profiles and the additional website traffic, leads and customers they can bring to their business. In this day and age when you are trying to get your business exposed to as many prospects as you can, you simply cannot afford to overlook the local search opportunity.
how to get your business listed in Local search results
Each of the major search engines provides a simple step-by-step process to submit your business profile. Focus first on Google as they still have almost 2/3 of all search engine traffic (65% as of March 2010), followed by Yahoo (17%) and then Bing (12%). Here are the links to submit your profiles:
what information to include in your local search profile
Each search engine allows you to put basic information about your business into your profile (business name, address, phone, website, email, and business description). In addition, you identify what category your business fits into (you can create new ones if none fit), your hours of operation, payment options, and additional details about the business (brand names carried, free estimates, etc.). You can also insert pictures and videos to help your profile stand out and you can create coupons to encourage people to try your products and services.
Once completed, submit your profile to the search engine and verify that you are the owner (I’d recommend using the phone verification as that only takes a few minutes).
monitor your local search profile
After your profile is active you should monitor the activity via the Google Local Business Center dashboard, watch for trends and take appropriate action.
How to get your local profile to first page
As a teaser for next month’s column, we’ll cover how you can enhance your profile and get it to the first page…stay tuned!