Local Search

Local Business Listing Wars

clip image002 0030 Local Business Listing WarsHave you noticed the number of commercials being run by high-profile tier one companies and websites that are in the local listing industry?

For example you may have seen TV commercials for Angie’s List, SuperMedia, Yellow Book, and of course AT&T.  If you add Internet advertising that includes but not limited to Google, Yahoo, Bing, Merchant Circle, Yelp and Citysearch many others, you have to start wondering how all these websites can attract a finite number of businesses and visitors to use their website.  The other more significant question is how a business will manage their local business listing at all the local listing websites?

History of Local Business Listings

As a business, if you have not kept up with the evolution of local business listings you will need a quick primer to know where things started and where things are today.

The origins go back to the early 1990s when search engines had directories listing businesses by categories in addition to their basic search results.  These basic business listings gave way to business directories giving the business the opportunity to add more information to their business.  Of course, while this evolution was taking place so did having the yellow pages on the web.  Business directories then gave way to the idea of rating a business with companies like Angie’s List, Merchant Circle and Yelp in social communities.  In 2007 business listings began showing up in search engines and consumer reviews were already showing up in these local business listings.

So, in summary, a local business listing is a combination of yellow pages information, business description, business marketing information, consumer ratings and consumer reviews.

Local Business Listings as Interactive Yellow Pages

Calling these listings a business directory does not do them justice considering all the content that is available.  Not only is this about getting your business marketing information into these listings, but they also become mini-websites for your business and more importantly allow consumers to quantitatively rate and subjectively provide commentary about their experience with the business, products and services.

Local business listing websites that are social communities allow customers and consumers to collaborate.  We are distinguishing between customers being B2B and consumers being B2C.  We will discuss B2B customer comments in a future article.

Live social communities that provide location based services like Four Square, Twitter and Facebook create instantaneous feedback to friends, family and followers alike. This collaboration not only allows for ratings and comments, but the information is posted permanently.  This will require a business to ask satisfied customers to post commentary and manage those postings that are negative…..at multiple local listing websites.

Manage Your Local Business Listings Everywhere!

Unlike the traditional yellow pages where business information was located in a single source, the Internet lets business information be found everywhere. With so many sources, it becomes imperative for a business to stay on top of its information, description, marketing materials and consumer reviews at various local listing websites.

If you wonder why, the answer is simple.  Your business information shows up in search engine results, mobile search results and is available to mobile application developers for mobile apps.  Since you don’t know what source your local customers or mobile application developers are using, you need a way to manage many sources simultaneously.

Select a Company to Help

Whether we are talking about website local optimization, local business listings, mobile marketing or geo-social marketing, a business needs proper support to succeed in this new era of local business marketing.  You need a partner with experience and expertise in multiple digital marketing fields and can adapt to the progression of new technologies that will become available over the next few years.

Some key elements for a company to provide local business listing marketing services include:

  • Claim your local listing at multiple local listing websites
  • Providing both data and marketing services
  • Update your basic business data information monthly
  • Update and manage your business marketing information that include photos, videos, coupons, offers, discounts, and events monthly
  • Consumer review monitoring and management monthly
  • Analytics review of local business listings analytics and the appropriate changes to your local business listings monthly
  • Expertise in Mapping Technologies and GPS
 Local Business Listing Wars
Melih (“may-lee”) Oztalay is a veteran of the Internet with over 20 years experience and expertise. He is the CEO of SmartFinds Internet Marketing located in Birmingham, Michigan, providing Internet marketing solutions and services to businesses. The agency’s recent focus on Geographic Marketing solutions for multi-location business to reach local consumers through web and mobile searches. Some of SmartFinds' clients include ComForcare Home Care, Proforma, Ziebart Inernational, Kaydon, Soave Enterprises, Delphi, Guardian Industries, McCann Erickson, Wendy's and more.
 Local Business Listing Wars

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6 thoughts on “Local Business Listing Wars

  1. Melih,

    Well written article, thanks.

    Could you elaborate on your last item, “Expertise in Mapping Technologies and GPS”, where are you using them with regards to local search? Thanks.

    –Dennis

    1. Hi Dennis,

      What we have found in working with local business listings over the past 2 – 3 years is that the data itself is in most cases not correct. Map markers in the wrong places, duplicate addresses, addresses that are in two cities, addresses missing in databases, etc. And this is true whether we’re talking Google or some small business directory.

      In order to fix these issues we have had to tap into different types of GOS databases of information in order to research and then fix these issues.

      Many of these local listing websites (search engines, social communities, 411 websites, GPS websites, business directories) have been fed address information about a business over years without any data corrections. This has caused significant confusion in the market place.

      To add to the problem now all of these websites are sharing information and in many cases sharing wrong information into wrong information. So, if you go to Google or Bing’s communities you can read all the lovely frustrations business owners are running into.

      Our service with our expertise, but more importantly our experience, has helped relieve the frustrations and correct the problems in shorter time.

      Hope this helps put some light on “GPS mapping technologies” and “local business listings”.

      We’re having fun! :)

  2. One way that Yellow Pages can continue to stay in business, sadly, is by their offering add-on services, like managing Google AdWords accounts for their customers. Scary isn’t a strong enough word, but it’s the first to come to my mind. This summer we got a new client for SEO and PPC. They’d been paying thousands a month for YP AdWords management, and let me say this. OMG! Some of the worst, ripoff management I’ve ever seen. Tragic.

  3. One way that Yellow Pages can continue to stay in business, sadly, is by their offering add-on services, like managing Google AdWords accounts for their customers. Scary isn’t a strong enough word, but it’s the first to come to my mind. This summer we got a new client for SEO and PPC. They’d been paying thousands a month for YP AdWords management, and let me say this. OMG! Some of the worst, ripoff management I’ve ever seen. Tragic.

  4. One way that Yellow Pages can continue to stay in business, sadly, is by their offering add-on services, like managing Google AdWords accounts for their customers. Scary isn’t a strong enough word, but it’s the first to come to my mind. This summer we got a new client for SEO and PPC. They’d been paying thousands a month for YP AdWords management, and let me say this. OMG! Some of the worst, ripoff management I’ve ever seen. Tragic.