If you haven't already, you will soon realize that Google Places pages are no more. Last week, Google announced its exciting merger between Google Places and Google+, resulting in what they are calling "Google+ Local" or "Local+". This integration is one step in Google's effort to creating an entirely social experience for the consumer- a goal they have been working towards for quite a while now. A more versatile local search and social media channel (think Facebook meets Yelp), Local+ has generated a lot of buzz in the last week since its introduction. Let's explore what's new in Google+ Local and see how this affects the business owner.
Attempting to fully grasp the process by which search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing provide results to search inquiries is like opening up a hefty can of mangled worms- or in this case "spiders". For most, learning how the magic machine (that we call Google) can find you the dimensions of the sun in half a second is confusing to say the least. However, as search engine optimization has become a key component in new age marketing, it is important to understand how these major search engines operate. Here are answers to a few common questions about where your search results come from:
Looking for endless free promotion of your small business? These 7 steps may take a few hours, but what's it worth in terms of reach and free promotion? Invaluable. The only cost is your time. The Return On Investment is up to you. Engage with customers online where they spend the most time, and win big! Simple. These are my top picks which I believe should be your first priority each day to get the most traction to rise to the top in your local arena.
- 97% of consumers use online media to research products and services in their local area
- 83% of U.S. households now use the Internet as an information source when shopping locally
- 83% of local searchers will follow up with a phone call or visit to the listing that stands out best
- 90% of searchers won't look past page one of the results page (According to Google)
If you are a small business owner and you are apprehensive to Yelp, you're not alone. To many, the internet itself is a beast that small business owners just don't want to face, ready to swallow them whole much like Amazon.com has made many small bookstores need to rethink their traditional business model and marketing plan. Don't worry though, Yelp is a happy smiling Monster like Mike from Monsters Inc. Started in 2004, Yelp is an urban online directory that allows visitors to find, talk about, and then review local businesses from restaurants to hair salons. The scary part?
Apple sold 37 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2011 alone, an intimidating number that propelled the iPhone back to its number one ranking in the league of smartphones. The iPhone 4S' new feature, Siri, can be accredited for this sudden craving for the desirable smartphone...but why?
What are search portals and why are they so important to your business?
The online landscape has changed to a local focus. There are really only two primary search engines in 2012: Google and Bing as Yahoo is powered by Bing. (I'm going to give honorable mention to DuckDuckGo, (pure results minus ads), Blekko (a slashtag and trusted site-based search engine) and WolframAlpha (a wicked computational answer engine) to be fair here as these are awesome search resources too). Because there are only two majors and there are so many second tier directories, aggregators, databases, social networks and Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), it all becomes one big jumble for our local search optimization efforts. So this term is something we coined to simplify it for you. Let's just define it this way. Search portals are the best places "you want your business to be on the internet."