Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Local Search - Will Customers Find You?

Schmap Local is a browser plugin that promises to relieve you of all the tedious scribbling of phone numbers and driving directions on scraps of paper and backs of envelopes. You simply download the plugin to Firefox or Internet Explorer and it recognizes and saves addresses and phone numbers as you browse the web.

It links automatically to a map and driving directions, prints and emails addresses and phone numbers or sends them via text message to your mobile phone. Sounds like a handy tool to have on the desktop!

But whether you download and use Schmap Local or not, one thing is certain. This application and others like them are the wave of the future. Not only are your customers looking for you from behind a computer, they're also searching for the products and services they need from their mobile phone while sipping coffee at the corner coffee shop. My question remains, will they find you?

Schmap Local draws its address and phone numbers from Yahoo Local, Google Maps, AOL Yellowpages, CitySearch, Live Local and Is your business listed correctly in each of these directories?

Related Articles:

Update your business directory listings

Can customers find you on Google Maps?

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Can customers find you on Google Maps?

Sally Smith returns home from a long day at the office to her home that's substantially colder than it should be. Sure, it's -10 with a -35 windchill, but the thermostat should have kicked in and the house should be near a comfortable 70 degrees. The thermostat reads 52 degrees and now she's worried ... what's wrong with the furnace?

Sally's never worried about the furnace before, other than changing out the filter a few times every year. She has no idea who to call, but she throws on an extra sweater and types "furnace service neenah wi" into the Google search box.

If you're an HVAC contractor or repairman in Neenah, will Sally find you in the Google search results? Will she find your business on the Google map with a little pin that shows your location? The answer can be yes to both questions IF you claim your Google Maps listing and IF your web site is optimized for local search terms.

To claim your Google listing, you'll need to register for a Google account. You do that right from the Google home page. After you've registered and logged-in, click on "preferences" or "account" in the top right corner of your page. On your account preferences page, under "Try Something New," click "more." Midway down the next page, under the "search" column, click on "Maps." Once on the Maps page, there's an option to add or edit your business listing.

Or, here's a quicker route once you've registered and logged-in: Google Local Business Center. Simply fill in the form and proceed page-by-page to categorize your business, add hours, types of payment accepted, a photo and custom information. You can also add coupons to your listing, if appropriate. Once complete, you'll need to validate your listing before your listing will appear live on the map.

We'll talk about optimizing your site for local search in a future post.

For more common sense small business marketing tips, I hope you’ll also check out my Express Marketing Memo blog.

Related Articles:

What is local search?

What does 2008 have in store for local?

Using Google Local Business Center to Bring in New Customers

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