Following on from my post on local search the other day, Matt Aird from Bizwiki has kindly agreed to be interviewed for this blog.
EEL:Â here do you see the local search marketplace going?
MA:Â Give it another decade, and I think you will find the vast majority of local search done online, by any and whatever devices can connect to the internet. That may not mean that Yellow books cease being printed, but all signs indicate their relative decline.
I also see a huge amount of personalisation as being likely in local search, everything from devices knowing where people are geographically at the time they ask for information to suggestions based on peopleâ€™s past preferences. We are currently only seeing the beginning of what can be done in this area.
EEL: What is your revenue model?
Bizwiki is entirely free to list businesses on, and offers free access to users whether for business or personal usage. We may add relevant advertising at some future stage, but at the moment the focus is on gathering and compiling gathering and compiling comprehensive local business directory for the UK.
EEL: What is your advice for building really good local search profiles
Itâ€™s increasingly important to manage a companyâ€™s image online, and to do so itâ€™s good to be thorough. Adding your company to Bizwiki is an excellent step towards that, as it will show up on other sites including Google. When doing so, I recommend taking the time to add as much information as you can, including products and services, offered the geographic areas you work in, memberships of any industry bodies and even a bit of history about the company and the people who work there. It all adds up to a comprehensive picture that people find much more useful than just the street address or telephone number.
Here are a couple of excellent examples added recently.
(EEL:Â I have created a Bizwiki profile for Vendlab)
EEL: Any juicy industry statistics and predictions?
Over two thirds of the UKâ€™s population uses the internet â€“ thatâ€™s around 40 million people â€“ and 86% of all local searches are online. A recent study by Kelsey shows that nine out of ten of these local searches result in offline activity, and half of them result in a purchase.
That means that while Youtubes and iPods and Facebooks are grabbing most of the attention online, millions upon millions of people are using the internet to find, buy, hire, rent and do things locally every day. That may not grab as many headlines, but itâ€™s a vibrant, burgeoning market that Bizwiki is being built to help every company have a share of.#
EEL:Â Final thoughts?
I believe online Local Search is going to be huge. Industry estimates show as many as 20 percent of searches are already locally oriented and this number is growing.
More and more people are using their PC to find a plumber, restaurant or product instead of digging around through their Yellow Pages book. For many people what really cements this migration from using paper to the internet is when they find there is much more information available online, and that is exactly where Bizwiki comes in.
Bizwiki.co.uk is a business Wiki, or user edited site, that invites its users to get involved and increase the information available about every company in the UK. The result is that companies can be listed with descriptions, maps, information and details far beyond just a phone number.
The company doesn’t even need to have a website of its own, and it can start getting exposure online by being included on Bizwiki -completely free of charge.
If I had two messages to send to your readers, the first would be that Local Search is important to your business. Use of search engines like Google or Yahoo and local information sites like Bizwiki and Accessplace.com to find local businesses, services and companies is only going to increase.
The second would be that getting your company listed on Bizwiki is probably the easiest way to increase your online exposure without breaking the bank. Not only will your company and products show up to the site’s own users, they will also appear in natural search and on other sites powered by Bizwiki including the extremely popular Accessplace.com and the locally-orientated TownPages.com websites.
To get started just go to Bizwiki.co.uk and search for your company and add it if it isn’t already listed. That is only the beginning though – you can add as much additional information as you like, including links to your website and email. Any changes you make will also show up on the sites it powers, making Bizwiki an ideal place to manage your online profile.