I have just been doing a spot of submission to some local search sites and thought I would share what I found.Â Local search is clearly going to be big, but I really don’t think that anyone really has the killer offering yet.Â 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:
- Google Maps UK
- Google Maps
- Local Live
- BT phone book
- Accessplace business directory
- City visitor
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.Â I am not a great fan of paid listings as in my experience very little traffic has been forthcoming.Â However, at the time I was advertising and eBay drop shop which is a bit niche.Â I am sure it works for some more established businesses.
Google Maps does not really need any introduction.Â Businesses can create a profile which is then geolocated on the Google maps service.Â These entries appear at the top of the search results for geographically related searches and so it is worth optimising the entry.
It is not immediatly clear how to get a business onto live search, apart from through Microsoft adcenter.
Yahoo Local search and City Visitor
My experience of advertising with Yell.com has been poor.Â 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 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.Â Both are built around consumer reviews of services and touch local also offers social networking functionality such as messaging and friends.Â I can’t see the social media functionality catching on, what they should really be doing is integrating with Facebook.
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.Â They could be onto something here.
I have talked about optimising Google Maps listings in the past.Â 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’