Posted Friday, October 8, 2004
Buyers want both online and local information about where to buy. Most small businesses are local in nature, serving people who live nearby. Their customers found them through traditional methods like the Yellow Pages or newspaper ads. So far, the Internet hasn't figured prominently in their marketing efforts.
That's about to change, as Local Search methods become more widespread. Even for buyers expecting to spend their money close to home, more and more of them go to the Internet to locate desired products and services. They rely on search engines to find suitable vendors in the fastest, easiest way.
Local Search combines the search query word or phrase with specific geographic terms, like city or zip code. That way, search results only include enterprises in that local area. Instead of information about a small enterprise being lost among millions of pages of search results, it shows up in a small pool of local providers. That's good for them, as well as the person looking for what they provide.
Small operations can easily be located by a whole new group of buyers Consumers don't simply go to the Yellow Pages when ready to buy - as they once did. Studies show that an astonishing 36% of online searches are conducted to find local businesses. About a quarter of all Internet users already conduct local searches. They'd do even more of it, if the desired small business data were more complete.
Local enterprises need to prepare for the impact of changing customer habits. An easy first step is to include your business in Internet Yellow Pages (IYP), along with the printed Yellow Page directory. That puts your enterprise on the radar screen. Learn how your business can make the most of Local Search by visiting (http://www.yellowpagesage.com) You'll find reliable advice from experts in Yellow Pages and Local Search so you can get more mileage from your promotional dollars.
Start by getting comfortable with search concepts, and improve your odds of being found when people search online for what you offer. You don't even need your own Web site to benefit from Internet Yellow Pages and Local Search.
Learn the Relevant Terms
Search Engine - method for locating the information available on the Internet; a program that searches Web pages for requested keywords, then returns a list of documents where the query terms were found
Google and Yahoo, the major general search engines, have both shifted gears to make Local Search a priority when delivering relevant results.
Spider (also called "crawler" or "bot") - goes to every page on every Web site and reads the information so it can be available to searchers; to "crawl" a site it collects and indexes information from it
Specialized Search Engines - narrow focus of information crawled and indexed, like medical, business, or shopping sites
Keywords - word or phrases used by search engines to locate relevant Web pages; words chosen to improve a site's search engine placement and ranking
Search Query - search request, which the search engine compares to the spidered entries, then returns results to the searcher
Search Results - compiled list of Web pages that a search engine delivers in response to a query; the number of items returned is usually overwhelming (in the millions), so searchers only bother to view results on the first pages
Relevant Results - the test of a good search is whether the results obtained relate to what the person wanted to find, without a lot of irrelevant links
Local Search - combining a geographic term in a search query to locate suitable providers in a specific area
Pay per Click (PPC) - method of building traffic whereby site owners bid on search terms (keywords) that link to their site
Geographic Terms - specific information about the local area that can be included in a local search: zip code, town, county, geographic region, state
Top Ranking - sites shown on the first page(s) of search results
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - fine-tuning keywords and page content so the Web site rates high in search engine results
Tags and Titles (on Web Pages) - provide site keywords and information to search engine spiders for indexing a site
Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) - directory of business phone numbers and locations in a geographic area, organized by category; searchable data base accessed on the Internet
Make your business easy for searchers to find The public is embracing the convenience of searching on the Internet to find information about local businesses. However, their searches for desired information are compromised because so many local enterprises don't show up in the databases as yet. Those that do have an edge in their local market. Climb aboard! Make sure searchers can find you. For little or no money, you can expose your enterprise to the whole world.
Whether or not your business has a Web site, you need to provide the information people are looking for in the places that they look for it. Local Search and Internet Yellow Pages open new avenues to buyers ready to spend. Best of all, they support and compliment your traditional methods of finding new business. So you cover all your bases.
(c)2004, Lynella Grant
About The Author
Dr. Lynella Grant, an expert in visual communication. How printed materials send signals that strengthen or undo the words. Author, The Business Card Book & Yellow Page Smarts (http://www.yellowpagesage.com) Off the Page Press (719) 395-9450