Back to Local Search Basics: Google and Yahoo Local

Minneapolis Businesses

This post may be part-one of a series, but I’ve received a few email inquries lately regarding local search, mostly questions on how to benefit from Google Maps and Yahoo Local listings.

It’s in good timing. Andrew Goodman from Traffick.com provides a great post regarding the status and possible decline of pure-play local search sites outside of search engines like Google.

So, who are the winners in local search? I’m hoping Ahmed from Tech Soapbox and iBegin reads this because he may have input. 😉

The winner could easily be you, the local business owner. The basics of local search can arguably be narrowed down to Google Maps and Yahoo Local and much of it doesn’t cost you anything but your time. Here are some basic tips to benefit from these opportunities:

1) First, make sure you have a free Gmail and Yahoo email account.

2) From there, sign in to Google’s Local Business Center and Yahoo’s Add a Business page.

3) Provide accurate information regarding products or services provided, payment methods, hours of operation, and more (there are easy field forms for most of these).

Example:

Hours of Operations, Payment Methods Accepted

4) They both allow you to upload and display photos. Hint – sometimes just a simple business logo does wonders.

Random Example:

Business Logo for Google Maps

5) They both allow you to describe your business in up to “x” characters.

Keyword stuffing = bad and silly looking. Accurate information = good and builds trust.

6) They both allow user reviews for your business. Embrace it. It can create an online version of Word-of-Mouth marketing.

Example:

Tracy’s Saloon

7) Don’t provide fake user reviews. Users are smart and will easily sniff it out, and they will make a point to not buy from you. This happens all too often.

8 ) Read number 7 again. 😉

9) Make sure any industry portals or Internet yellow pages display your current and accurate addresses and other information. Local search engines may use this in their own listings.

That’s it for the basics. More to come soon on some of the points listed above.

Jan. 23 Update: Revised and updated post now up at Search Engine Guide.

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8 Responses to Back to Local Search Basics: Google and Yahoo Local

  1. AhmedF says:

    Local search is for the picking – except no one knows how to win 🙂

    Think if search itself before Google came – ugly, and pretty messy. Then Google came with its paradigm-shift of link counting. We essentially need a similar paradigm-shift in local – a site with local search results so good everyone will talk about it.

  2. Jerry says:

    Small businesses should also consider the peer-produced and wiki movements that result in projects like The Brownbook (http://www.brownbook.net). Such sites make it much easier to add your business (with web links) as well as edit/update your listings as times change.
    J

  3. Paul says:

    Thanks Ahmed and Jerry.

    Jerry, I haven’t seen Brownbook before. I’ll check it out.

    Ahmed, you probably remember this. Remember when Google Local first came out and didn’t use aggregate data to populate it? I’m thinking it was in 2004 sometime. I remember businesses having incorrect addresses with zip codes on the other side of town. 🙂 It was yucky.

  4. […] All of this on just one Google page. Talk about a lot of real estate. This could be a good opportunity to check out the local search post regarding going back to the basics. […]

  5. AhmedF says:

    It isn’t yucky *still*? 🙂

  6. Paul says:

    There you go making sense again. 😉

  7. Jennifer Lind says:

    Great post about Local Search. You can also create registrations on Yellowpages.com and Superpages and create a business listing for free on both of these sites. You can tell the site which categories you want to be included in, add your products, services, hours, and even a URL (link building opportunity!). Of course, if you want to guarantee higher placement you need to purchase a listing, which will get you in a higher tier. If you just want to make sure your ad is there somewhere… this is a great place to start!

  8. […] must be correctly listed in the local directories of these sites. Paul Jahn of LocalMN has a great post on local search basics you should check out if this is all new to you and your business. You should also do a search on […]

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