How does your business reach consumers in the local community? Local search, of course! Every major search engine has some form of local search, and some can automatically determine your vicinity using your IP address.
It is extremely beneficial and relatively easy for today's businesses to list themselves in Google's local search. When Google searches are cross referenced with a location, such as a city name or zip code, businesses matching the search criteria show up on a map at the top of the returned search results. Needless to say, with the amount of people using Google to search the web every day, this free service is an invaluable tool for businesses. The debut of the "Near me now" feature of Google makes it easy for smartphone users to find places close to wherever they are at the moment they search.
All you need to get listed in Google's local search listings is a Google / Gmail account, a business address and phone number. To get started simply visit Google's Local Business Center and sign in with your Gmail account.
Similarly Microsoft's Bing search engine has a Local Listing Center and Yahoo has a Local Listings Account Center. To use Bing or Yahoo, you'll need a Windows Live ID and Yahoo Id respectively.
The popular social network, Foursquare, is another great way to promote your business location. The service is primarily for mobile web use and rewards users with points and badges for checking in at various venues with their mobile phone. To get your business listed on the Foursquare network, sign up for an account at foursquare.com and then visit http://foursquare.com/add_venue or add the application to your smartphone. Foursquare for Businesses also lets you create promotions for your business which are centered around use of the social network. You could for instance give some sort of prize to users on their 10th visit, or reward users for becoming the mayor (most frequent visitor) of your venue, click here for more information.
Another location centric service which also allows users to review and ideally recommend businesses to others is Yelp.com, the service has an application on each of the four main mobile operating systems (iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm WebOS, and Google Android) and has just updated it's iPhone application to allow mobile check ins much like Foursquare. To list your business on Yelp visit their business sign up page.
Local search has been a big component of online search for quite a while, and the focus on local businesses is becoming even greater thanks to the rapid progress and increased use of mobile technology . The services listed above are great tools for helping potential customers navigate their way from cyberspace to your business location.
Let us know if you have questions! Call the mRELEVANCE team at 770-383-3360.