Remember the phone books? Yea, solid 4 kilos of information that was printed in millions of copies each year. Maybe you remember it but if you were running a local business then, it might have gotten 50% of your marketing budget to get a bold font or even a logo into it.
These days are over and now people look for information on their mobile devices. The advantages are many for the customer, they can find much more information than phone numbers and addresses. Making them able to make informed decicions about their purchases.
Information changes quite fast. The search engines are asking your help to keep the info up to date and you definetely should respond to the request and contribute.
What should I do as a local business owner?
You should go to every search engine, social collabiration, tagging and location services and accurately put in all the information about you that they offer.
The reason for this is that if you don’t publish the information about you, someone else will. Maybe a customer or maybe a competitor! That info can be simply wrong and will confuse the potential customers.
The other reason is that your competitor has updated his info and you will therefore not show up on search results for the users. The search engines downgrade you for not having provided them with info.
So in the order of importance, go into these services (if they are available in your area) and update the info about you.
There are the most important ones. Then there are some that are important in certain business categories (travel listings for example) and local areas (city listings).
Here is a short list of pros and cons of these 4 services above.
Google is of course the king of search and over the last few years the normal desktop search has been coming more and more integrated with the Google Maps search. So when your are using your phone it usually has information about your location and your search results will be calculated with that in mind. This is super important accross all searches and maps services.
Apple maps is getting bigger and more important as many are using iPhones and iPads for search. Even though some might say that Apple does not have a search engine, they kind of have it in the Maps app. Many 3rd party apps also use the Apple Maps so it actually has a considerable market share.
Yelp is maybe one of the original “Online Yellow pages” and has a long history of getting data. It also provides services to Apple Maps such as reviews about restaurants and more.
SEO is not only about making your website visible for search engines, it is all about optimizing the serch engines. Here you have a change to actively control them without any middle man or guesswork.
Take action now!
So if you haven’t already signed up and updated your info, start it right away. It is far more important than any other marketing program you are planning if you have a local business!