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UK Local Search/Directory Sites

by trevor. Average Reading Time: about 2 minutes.

I have just been doing a spot of submission to some local search sites and thought I would share what I found.  Local search is clearly going to be big, but I really don’t think that anyone really has the killer offering yet.  I think that listing in local search is important for businesses for two reasons:

  • Listing appear in natural search
  • The listing can drive traffic to websites (if links are available) and increase phone enquiries
  • In some cases these listings are used in offline media which can also drive offline enquiries

According to Hitwise, the top local search services are as follows:

  1. Google Maps UK
  2. Yell.com
  3. Google Maps
  4. Local Live
  5. BT phone book
  6. 192
  7. Ufindus
  8. Accessplace business directory
  9. City visitor
  10. Local.co.uk

I have also taken a look at a few other services which are interesting.

Most of these services offer a free and a premium listing service.  I am not a great fan of paid listings as in my experience very little traffic has been forthcoming.  However, at the time I was advertising and eBay drop shop which is a bit niche.  I am sure it works for some more established businesses.

Google Maps

Google Maps does not really need any introduction.  Businesses can create a profile which is then geolocated on the Google maps service.  These entries appear at the top of the search results for geographically related searches and so it is worth optimising the entry.

Local Live

It is not immediatly clear how to get a business onto live search, apart from through Microsoft adcenter.

192/Thomson Directories

192.com seems to get its data from Thomson.  It is worth submitting data to Thomson as it will then be entered in the local Thomsons directory and generate offline enquiries.

Yahoo Local search and City Visitor

Yahoo local search and city visitor both data from Infoserve so registering for the infoserve database can publish listings across several sites.

Yell.com

My experience of advertising with Yell.com has been poor.  However, I found that getting a free listing in the Yellow pages book generated 2-3 phone calls a week which is worth getting.

Ufindus

Ufindus is a pretty basic directory service, with a simple web entry form.

touchlocal & we love local

Touchlocal and we love local are pretty similar service which allow businesses to enter a fair deal of information about themselves.  Both are built around consumer reviews of services and touch local also offers social networking functionality such as messaging and friends.  I can’t see the social media functionality catching on, what they should really be doing is integrating with Facebook.

AccessPlace

AccessPlace is quite interesting as it is built using information from a wiki called bizwiki allowing people to create really decent listings. The service is also completely free.  They could be onto something here.

Optimising listings

I have talked about optimising Google Maps listings in the past.  Most of the listing services do not offer a link and so it is important to a) get your company’s URL into the company name field and b) add some keywords. For Hello Baby for example I use the company name ‘Hellobabydirect.co.uk – Baby and Nursery Stuff’

7 comments on ‘UK Local Search/Directory Sites’

  1. Steve Shinn says:

    Hi Trevor,

    Just picked up your post based on some Google alerts I have setup.

    We are launching a local search site in the next few weeks and it would be great to get your feedback on what we’ve built.

    You say there’s no killer application to date, and I couldn’t agree more!

    Take a look at http://www.locallycompared.com in a few weeks. I also write a blog for local businesses as well which is at http://www.localinternetadvertising.co.uk

    Thanks,

    Steve

  2. Matt says:

    Hi Trevor,
    Good post. Your readers might be interested to know that along with http://www.accessplace.com Bizwiki is now also powering the local/regional community website http://www.TownPages.com

    As you mentioned, the service is completely free, and now your users have the opportunity to kill three birds with one stone just by adding their company or additional information to the single wiki.

    For more information
    http://www.bizwiki.com/blog/2008/08/25/bizwiki-powers-top-10-local-search-site/

    Great blog, keep it up.

    Matt

  3. Jon says:

    Don’t forget that local search also includes niche directories for small geographic areas. In the last few years many country, town and even village sites have appeared, which perform well for business searches in their area. As the internet continues to grow, it is becoming easier to get 1000 hits a day for a county directory than a generic global directory. That is precisely the reason why I founded http://www.essexportal.co.uk – to take advantage of the reliance on Google to search for local business, rather than going to the likes of Yell.com.

  4. Dave Dragon says:

    Nice list, just what I was looking for this morning.

    Dave

  5. Actually, unlike other sites, 192.com gets its data from a few different sources including Dun & Bradstreet, Local Data Company (high streets shops), Directory Enquiries, Market Location & data it extracts from the web. The idea is that this will give greater coverage of UK business.

    But point well made, perhaps we should explain this better on our site. We’ll get on to that straight away…

  6. Scott says:

    Hi Trevor,

    Cheers for the article.

    I’m just starting a local directory in my area. Nothing like what the big boys offer but hey.

    Curious what you mean by “I really don’t think that anyone really has the killer offering yet”. What do you think would be a killer offer? Free listing, free back links (no follow of course), what else? 🙂 Is it possible to have a paid listing (say £50/year) and it be “killer”?

    I’m curious because since I don’t have a multi-million pound budget like many of these companies, what would make a “killer offer” in your opinion and do you think offering say 1-3 backlinks is a start since I see many directories wanting to charge £100’s per year or even per month.

    Btw, I used to work for Ufindus. They bought a directory, paid a few php programmers/designers to set it up, sold it to BT for £20m after only 3 years since inception. Interesting.

    Cheers

  7. Darryl says:

    I’ve just stumbled across this post and it’s very informative, with Local Search becoming even more relevant due to the recent changes with Google’s algorithm related to branding, some very useful tips here!

    Thanks

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