How Local Business Marketing Changed This Week!
Local business marketing is ever changing. And if you’re in a local business then you know that how your customers find you is undergoing a massive shift. It used to be that putting banners in front of your store or sending out mailers or taking out an ad in the Yellow Pages was all you needed to do to see a business boom. But times have changed with the introduction of web search and they’re changing again.
These days if you’re doing a Google search, Google automatically knows where you are thanks to geo-targeting. That means that the search results you get are based on Google maps and Google maps uses Google Places to determine what order you show up on their map, or if you show up at all.
This is especially important when you think of how many searches are done on smartphones because Google Places has always powered the iPhone and Android searches. For me personally, I use my mobile phone for searching more than I do my laptop or even my iPad. It is far and away the #1 way that most people find local businesses. How well a business is ranked on a local search is making or breaking many a bottom line.
Think about this – if you are out and about looking for a local business like a restaurant, chiropractor or hotel then you are using your smartphone to find that business AND . . . your smartphone is using Google places to tell you what the results are. However, things are changing again.
Just last week iPhone introduced the new iPhone 5 along with their new mobile operating system called iOS 6 and because Apple and Google are now competitors iOS6 no longer uses Google places to get results. It now it uses a service called Yelp.
Practically overnight Yelp has gone from being a social media also-ran to a social media superpower. If you are using the new iPhone 5 or an iPhone that has been upgraded to iOS6 (which will soon be every iPhone) then Yelp is now giving you your local search results.
So what exactly does this mean for small businesses, especially local businesses? It means that if you are not listed on Yelp then you’re going to be losing potential customers and if you’re not ranking high on Yelp, then you’re not going to show up in the first three results for your type of business, which is where all the action is. Now, that this doesn’t mean that Google Places is no longer important. In fact, it is probably just as important as it ever has been because of geo-targeting in laptop and iPad searches. Plus Android phones still use Google places in order to filter their results.
Bottom line: if you are a business with a physical location you MUST improve your rankings on both Google Places and now . . .Yelp!
If you are a local business we can help! We offer placement optimization for both Google Places and Yelp. This way you can get to the top of both lists and make sure that you’re showing up when people search for you.
Let us know how we can help and we’ll be ready to go!