First, everything else being equal, most people want to do business with a local company. They know it is good for their community and it just feels more comfortable. On the Internet even Google recognizes this and has placed Google Local Search prominently on the key first page of any appropriate search of products or services.
So the good news is that Internet Search Engines like Google and Yahoo are providing high visibility to local businesses. It is surprising that at the end of 2008 it is estimated that less than 20% of Local Small Businesses have taken control of their local business account on any of the major Search Engines. That does not have to be a terrible thing, as the Search Engines can do a good job of at least acting like a web based yellow page and does not hurt your business.
What is alarming is that, either through bad computer algorithms or worse, the high jacking of your Local Business site, the links embedded in Your Local Business may not being linked to your business. This means that the best way new customers can find your business, is being redirected away from your website and ultimately your business. Examples can range from:
- A local franchisee who has a local website going to the corporate site, loosing local information
- A competitor linked to your business siphoning business away from you
- A similar named business being linked to your business
What would you do if you were looking for a Kitchen supply company and a link took you to a Pizza joint? Most people would move on to the next business on the list and you would have lost an opportunity to get a new customer.
Why Should You Care?
Nielsen//NetRatings found in 2004 that 24.4% of searchers on major search engines conducted searches that were local in scope, averaging 4.6 searches per searcher. By 2007 Nielsen//NetRatings saw this increase to 32.6%. Using the Internet to find local businesses is now main stream and can only grow in frequency.
For many local businesses, the question is no longer whether they should begin to market in the local online space, but when. Incredible opportunities are being missed, as consumers search online for local products and services, but the businesses do not have an effective online presence to serve those customers.
I specialize in working with Small Businesses in local markets. As an introduction to my services I will do a FREE analysis of your business and determine if it has been claimed on Google, Yahoo, LiveSearch (MSN), and Best of the Web. All I need is you to email me your Business Name and Zip Code and I will return to you your business’ status on the top 4 Search Engines Local Sites.