Local Business Search Insight.
By Chris Travers, co-founder, UniversalBusinessListing.org
With all the focus on search engine marketing there are three important factors that small businesses overlook that can have a significant impact for them at very low cost:
1. The online versions of Yellow Pages remain popular places to search, and this is now even truer with Web searches that have geographical refinement such as a zip code or city name.
2. Listings that appear in third-party Online Yellow Pages are given priority ranking when Search Engines like Google and Yahoo show their results, particularly against local maps. This is even more true now that Google includes ten of its local listings in the main search results if a location is input (called Google's Ten-pack).
3. As a small business you can influence this process yourself virtually for free by making sure your listings are submitted to these online Local Search sites.
In fact, an industry initiative - UniversalBusinessListing.org - has been created to make it easier and more affordable for even small businesses to manage their profiles in one place and to have that "enhanced listing" distributed to all major online Yellow Pages, search engines, local directories and 411 directory assistance.
Why "enhanced" listing? These listings are not just phone numbers and addresses anymore. These Local Search sites allow you to submit critical business information that differentiates you - product details, brands carried, operating hours, website link, video or coupon link, specialties, professional associations, logo and photos - all important facts that potential customers might be searching for online.
Why, you might also ask, does this service also include 411? The days when all phone lines came from a big telephone company are long gone, but did you know that those 411 directory assistance calls typically end up being matched against just those old-world sources. Do you or anybody you know work off a Web based Voice Over IP phone system? A cable company phone service? A cellphone? If so, there is a strong chance your customers will never find you when they call 411 unless you have gone out of your way to get listed. You're not in Kansas anymore...
UniversalBusinessListing.org is an industry initiative and not a marketing company trying to sell other services. What this means to you is that the listings are overseen by an industry group that polices who gets access to them - which is search engines and directories only - no marketers or spammers.
Of course, businesses can go online to individual sites and post this data themselves, but it can be time consuming even if you know all the places to go. UBL does this to over 30 locations for $30 for the first year, and $15 each year thereafter. It is important to note that with these sites you generally HAVE to update the data once a year or the listing gets dropped...plus you want to keep the information fresh in any case. On UBL you can do free updates of the information at any time.
http://www.universalbusinesslisting.org/ is the web address, of course.