January 22, 2007 ByBrent Nau
According to a recent comScore study:
- 63% of U.S. Internet users perform a local search online last July
- This is a 43% increase over July 2005
As Local Search starts to take off in the next couple of years, businesses need to monitor and update their business listings in the local search engines. Today we are going to take a look at Yahoo! Local.
First, determine if you are indeed listed in Yahoo! Local by doing a search on your business name and the city / state that your local business resides in. If your business does not exist you will see a message stating "Sorry, no The Business Name found in or nearby The City, The State". No worries. Yahoo conveniently provides a link to add your local business listing. Yahoo provides three types of local business listings: Local Featured Listing (fee), Local Enhanced Listing (fee) and Local Basic Listings (free).
Local Basic Listing
We will be focusing on the free local business listing that Yahoo! Offers. The form is pretty much straight forward, but you must have a Yahoo! ID before starting. Once the form is complete it will take approximately 3-5 business days for your listing to be approved and start appearing in the local search results.
So let say your local business is now found in the Yahoo! Local search results. Find your business marker on the Yahoo Map and click on the marker for your business listing. Here users can rate and review your business, edit your business listing, upload photos of the business and apply appropriate tags that describe the business.
Yahoo provides a link for the site visitor / business owner to edit the local business listing information. This social feature is one of the big features of Yahoo! Local. It provides an easy way to keep the business listing up to date.
Reviews & Ratings
Reviews and ratings can help or hurt your position in the local search results. You should monitor any reviews to combat possible negative comments that may appear. You may even want to ask your customers to go online and place a review or rate your store.
A recent Yahoo / Harris Interactive poll found:
- 67% would likely post a review
- 9% most likely to post a negative review
- 8% more likely to post a review that was positive
- 50% likely to post a review either way
The poll asked respondents if they would likely to be influenced by a rating or a review.
- 79% stated that they would be
- 9% more likely to be influenced by a review that was negative
- 23% more likely to be influenced by a review that was positive
- 47% likely to be influenced by both positive and negative reviews
Not a big fan of this, but it is another social feature that Yahoo has implemented. I tried to upload a business image and the image was degraded so bad it was not worth having on the listing. Also the image had to very small.
Yahoo! Local allows site visitors to tag your business listing. Basically tags are labels associated with the business. For example, I could tag Mercer Botanicals: tropical nursery, bella palm, tropical plants. These tags are then associated with this business listing. Now if a user clicks on one of these tags they will be brought to a local results page with sites associated with that tag. It is a nice feature to find other related local businesses in the area.
Now your are ready to get local!