The Yellow Pages Are An Antique – The Power Of Local Search

 



The YELLOW PAGES just aren’t what they used to be. In most regions, a full page ad can run $20,000  per year! And now they are trying to convince people to advertise with them online. A friend of mine owns a tree service. He works back and fourth between 2 different states. The YELLOW PAGES  quoted him  $2,000  PER MONTH, to list him on their site and help him come up in searches! THAT’S  OUTRAGEOUS. But people pay it.

I have had clients ask me, “Can the Internet really help me, if I just have a local business with local customers?” – The answer is  ABSOLUTELY! Local search is fast becoming the most exciting search vertical on the web. Recent research by the Kelsey Group reported that 70% of Americans consult the web before making local buying decisions, while 36% of search engine queries now request local results.

I have a client in Chicago who provides a very specialized service, locally.  She had NO Web presence whatsoever. We helped her launch a blog, got her into some free directories and she is now coming up on Google page one organically (non-paid link references) in searches around her top keywords. She only gets 5-10  hits a day – but in 4 months, has attracted 10 new clients!

You can PULL  people  to a blog. It can attract   readers organically. 60-90%  (usually) of all blog traffic, usually comes in organically via keywords people type in to search relative to what your blogging about. They  find  YOU and are often ready to buy if you have what they are searching for.  That’s the HUGE difference. That’s the beauty of blogs. It’s because they are written in a simpler code, it’s because  Google and robots can read them faster and easier, it’s because  search algorithms have gotten smarter! However, you have to understand how they work, the strategy behind a good publisher’s efforts, and what the search engines are looking for to win in the game of organic keyword search! And you have to provide information people are searching for. 

Daniel Bower posted a great article at Wordtracker, Five Tips To Maximise The Long Tail Of Local Search. He says,” Local search presents huge long tail opportunities; the range of keywords, and the variations of those keywords that can land someone on your page are vast. Take for example our site welovelocal.com. In the short term after our launch, 96% of non-paid keywords had just a single visit.”

He also points out the benefits of review sites,” It goes without saying that a business owner/marketer should ensure they have maximum visibility in the various review sites and local business directories.

 In the US these sites include Yelp, Insider Pages and Angie’s Lists, but also the much smaller sites such as the excellent Lawrence.com. These sites provide an invaluable source of local data which can help you research fresh keywords. Spend time examining the way they are structured, the terminology they use and, where possible, the language used in the reviews.

Research from
Hitwise earlier this month reported that small businesses rely on search engines now more than ever before – it’s a trend that is only going to increase as SMEs see the lead potential of local search. It’s yet another reason to hone your local keyword research skills.”

With the right tools and getting started on the right foot, it’s  EASY to attract new eyes and potential new customers to your business via Social Media!


Article Update 3/15/10:  Here are links to 3 excellent examples of us recently helping clients leverage a blog as a helpful tips/newsletter or online magazine to get them found organically by search engines for new prospects using local keyword searches related to the business, products and/or services they provide ~ ~ ~ 

Goode Plumbing Tips
Face Reflections Blog
Lindsay Tietz 

Derrick Sorles and Michael Snell – We Help “Pull”  New Business To You!
    Your Business MD’s– Business Blog Consultants -Web 2.0  Consultants and Strategists

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