Free Advertising for Your Business with Local Search
Get More Customers for Your Business Free
Google, Yahoo and Bing Want to Work for you
Take advantage of free advertising, and your Free Local Search Web page. Could you use more customers for your store, restaurant, service or professional office? Customers can find your business with the local search pages created free by the major search engines.
Local search pages are relatively new and hugely popular. The major search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing, believe that local search is the next big thing. They have each created a local section of free business pages with customer reviews. Your business gets free advertising just by using its own local search page. Let me show you how it works.
Find Free Business Advertising
To find the local search page for your business, use any search engine and search for the product or service you offer, along with the name of the city. The city name isn't even necessary, because search engines know your location from your IP address. So search for restaurant. The local listings for your city appear on the first page of the search results alongside a map. Choose one of the restaurants and click on the link "Reviews." You'll see the local search page for this one restaruant in your town. The local search page is free advertising for your business. It includes a description, photos, and directions, along with customer reviews of this restaurant. If you're the business owner, you can add and modify this page. Your local search page is free advertising that reaches customers at the moment they are searching for a business like yours.
The Largest Free Local Search Business Pages
Currently, the biggest players in local search are Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local, but there are many other review sites for free business advertising. I've included a list of them in another article. Check out the local review sites and directories that serve a specific city, too. With the support of the major search engines, customer reviews of local businesses are growing by leaps and bounds. How you use the important review sites can make or break you. It all comes down to free advertising for your business.
The most important local review sites are linked to the big three search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing. Search for something like hardware store, or restaurant, or pediatrician. The search report automatically shows you the local stores in your town, along with a map and flagged locations. Notice that these local search results appear on the first page of the search report, where customers are most likely to click. For each store there's a link to its website. There is often a set of stars that represent customer ratings. And there is a link to the ratings for this store.
If you use Google Search for "restaurant", pick a restaurant from the local results, and click "Google Reviews" alongside the stars. You'll see a review page for the business on Google Places. Click on "Business Owner" to claim this page. Google will send a letter containing a PIN and activation instructions to the business address associated with your listing. Then you can edit your Google listing at any time.
If you use Yahoo Search, the "Info" link takes you to a review page for the business on Yahoo Local. Yahoo also links to the restaurant menus you posted at allmenus.com.
If you use Bing Search, the "reviews" link and the "details" link both show you the review page for the local business. Bing gets its information for this page from websites like OpenTable, TripAdvisor, and Citysearch. Check your review page on Bing to see which site provided the information. Head to that site to claim your page and update it for free advertising.
How To Use Local Review for Free Advertising
Think of the review page as an free ad for your business. Set up your account and add to your page with a description, and hours of operation. This is time well spent, because people are more likely to see this page than any print advertising you create. Here are 5 steps to create your free advertising page on local search.
Post a description of your business. This is an excellent description posted for an Italian restaurant.
Welcome to (Restaurant Name) in (City and State) conveniently located at (Nearby Landmark). Our dining room is ideal for group lunches, festive gatherings and romantic dinners for two. (Restaurant Name) specializes in serving lavish portions of authentic Southern Italian cuisine served family style. Our menu is large and varied, offering...
Add photos, links, products, and name brands that your store offers.
Mention the features of your business, such as Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Non Smoking, Delivery Service, Reservations, Beer & Wine, Full Bar, Wine List, Private Parties, Entertainment, Wheelchair Access, Valet Parking, Menu, Fireplace, Features, Credit Cards, Take Out, Dress Code, Price Range, Happy Hour and Contact Numbers.
Add categories on your page with an eye to what people type into search engines: for example, Steak Houses, Seafood Restaurants, Salad Restaurants, Restaurants, American Restaurants, Italian Restaurant, Pizza.
The final step is to turn your attention to the customer reviews. It's no secret. The stores with the best customer reviews and the 5-star ratings are the ones shown on the front page of any local search results. Use customer reviews to build your brand.
How to Get Good Customer Reviews on your Free Local Search Page.
The reviews of happy customers are the best free advertising money can't buy. There are many ways you can encourage customers to post good reviews. Place copies of good reviews on the front door, the bulletin board or in the menu. Show people how to find the review sites. Use positive reviews as customer testimonials on your business website. Paying the customer for a good review is not kosher, but you can express your appreciation in other ways. And no one says the staff and owner can't post reviews, too. Remember, the stores with the best customer reviews are listed on Page One of the local search results.
When Your Local Search Business Page Has a Bad Review
Study the reviews of dissatisfied cutomers and take them to heart. Use bad reviews to help you get better. There's always room for improvement at any store, and grumpy people do like to vent. Why pay for a marketing focus group, when these customer reviews are free? If something needs fixing at your business, then fix it !!
It's a fact that some customers don't know your products and marketplace well enough to make informed judgments. Sometimes competitors post outright lies about your business on a review site. But you can't turn a blind eye to these review sites, because they do influence people to try your store or to shy away. Reviews can't be edited by others, but you can vote to say that the review was not helpful, and you can report abuse. Reviews are shown in chronological order, so the best tactic is to drown out a bad review with more recent positive reviews.
Be Notified When a New Business Review is Posted
If the local business profile page has an RSS feed, use it. Set it up with a Google Alert, so you will get a notice when something changes. Otherwise, stay in touch with your local advertising pages by bookmarking them, and review each when time allows.
Become a Premium Business Advertiser on a Local Search Website
Some of the local search sites have a catagory for "preferred listings" which gives your business greater visibility at the top of the page. Yelp! is one such site. Consider if the cost of advertising on the site is a good investment to build your brand and get new leads.
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