Archive for the ‘local search’ category

Yext Reviews

March 2nd, 2012

A while back, we told you about Yext Advertising, a new way for small businesses to be found online through local search.  At the time, Yext was offering highlighted listings on some of the top local directories – all managed from one single Yext dashboard – for $99.95 per month.  Well now, Yext has tweaked their platform and is offering what they are calling PowerListings.

Yext’s PowerListings

According to Yext,

PowerListings™ are premium listings on local search websites, mobile and navigation devices, centrally controlled by the Yext PowerListings system. With PowerListings, your local search results are enhanced with description, photographs, other rich content, and a highlighted Special Offer. PowerListings are available on leading local search sites like Yahoo!, MapQuest, and Yelp and
mobile apps such as Foursquare, HopStop and Co-Pilot.

The price for these PowerListings is $499.00 per year.  You can create and manage your listings on all of the Yext partners in the single Yext dashboard – so it is quite a time saver.  As anyone who has created listings on online directories knows, it is a very time consuming process.  So is the price worth what you get?

Yext Reviews

Recognized local SEO expert Mike Blumenthal conducted a very thorough review of Yext’s PowerListings platform, which rather than repeat here we strongly suggest that your read.  Through his personal experience using Yext PowerListings for two clients, he concluded that the time saved and the efficiencies gained provided a real value, but many small businesses will likely find the cost too prohibitive.  Yext works best for businesses that can recoup their cost from a single, or couple of, transactions generated by the service.  He thought this was a valuable service that is probably a good option for some, but not all types of, businesses.

We agree with Mike.  While Yext may not be the best solution for smaller mom and pop type businesses, it could prove very well for businesses such as wedding and event venues, lawyers, jewelers, car dealers, web developers and the like whose return on investment from one or two transactions could be great.

List of Free Online Directories

February 15th, 2012

Make Sure Your Company is On Them

If you are a small local business, it is important that prospective customers can find you when they do a local search, ex. “farm market vernon nj or bookkeeping chester ny.” Adding your business to free online directories is a great way to enhance your web visibility.  Take a look at the graphic below.  Because of online directories, our client is in EVERY single result on the first page of Google for the term preschool pine island ny.

Local Directory Graphic

Our Top 10 – OK 13 – List of Free Online Directories

You don’t need to upgrade your listings in online directories to gain a benefit.  All of the directory listing results in the graphic with the exception of one are FREE basic listings.  Some directories play a greater role in visibility than others.  Here is our top 13 list of free online directories – not in any specific order – that you should submit your business to:

  • Google Places
    Yahoo Local
    Bing Local
  • We recommend that you also submit your business to any local, regional and industry related directories.  Some of these may require a fee, such as in our graphic, but their visibility may make the expense worthwhile.

    Google Places PO Box Update

    February 9th, 2012

    PO Boxes Picture

    As we covered in our previous post Can I Use a PO Box As My Google Places Address?, Google does not approve of using a PO Box as an address in you’re your Google Places listing. Google reaffirmed this position in an update to the Google Places Quality Guideline stating:

    Do not create a listing or place your pin marker at a location where the business does not physically exist. P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations. If you operate from a location but receive mail at a mail box there, please list your physical address in Address Line 1, and put your mail box or suite number in Address Line 2.

    Thankfully, this revision makes it easier for businesses who receive mail via PO Boxes rather than at their physical location. So while a PO Box cannot be your sole Google Places address, it can now be included in your address – hopefully without any issues.

    Claiming Google Places Listing

    December 15th, 2011

    Although businesses have been able to claim their Google Places Listings since 2005, the number of businesses claiming them since April of 2010 is tremendous. Over 1 1/2 years ago, only 4 million listings had been claimed. Last March the number jumped to 6 million, and now just nine months later the number has jumped to 8 million. According to Google, that is 16% of all the business locations throughout the world.

    A Google Places listing doesn’t just include your address, phone number and a link to your website. You can describe your services and products and upload logos, pictures and videos. Customers also have the ability to write reviews, which can greatly help with your rankings.

    Claiming Google Places Graphic

    If you haven’t claimed your Google Places listing, what are your waiting for. It is FREE web visibility.

    Local SEO For Small Business

    August 31st, 2011

    You have heard it all before. If you want to be found online by prospects, you need to optimize your website with search terms related to your products and services AND your local target market. Maybe you have put off doing so because you weren’t sure how much you bought into the whole idea of search engine optimization (SEO). Or perhaps you thought it was too expensive or not worth the return on investment. Well, here is an interesting fact that just might change your mind!

    According to a study by the Pew Research Center, Americans trust small business owners over 13 other institutions! A whopping 71% of those polled said they trusted small business. Only 25% trust large corporations. And only 25% trust the federal government.

    Pew Research Center

    In this tumultuous climate, people trust local small business for a reason. Why? Because you are not some large inaccessible corporation. You are their neighbor, their son’s little league coach, and a face. But you need to get that face seen if you want to be recognized. So join your local chamber of commerce, volunteer for local organizations, join local networking groups. AND make sure your business can be found online.

    That’s Where Local SEO For Small Business Comes In

    You don’t have to tell people to shop local, this study already shows that people WANT to shop local. So make sure they can easily find your website when they are searching for your products and services. Don’t just rely on what you think your ranking is – remember personalized search can inflate your search engine rankings. Get a website visibility analysis and see how you are fairing. Learn how you can improve your site’s Internet presence and then do it! Here are some tips:

    1. Make sure you are targeting terms that people are actually searching for
    2. Don’t forget to include your market, such as dry cleaners warwick ny
    3. Then make sure those terms are placed in the website’s coding and on the page itself
    4. Create local business listings on Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local and optimize them with the appropriate search terms as well
    5. Submit your website to the top directories – Yelp, SuperPages, InsiderPages, and more
    6. Submit your website to any local directories
    7. Submit your website to industry specific directories
    8. Create a Facebook page, optimize it, and post often

    Local SEO for small business is important and it doesn’t have to be break the bank expensive. The local business listings are free. The directory listings are free. Facebook is free. If you’re tech savvy, you can attempt creating your listings and optimizing your website yourself. If you’re not, you should find an SEO consultant who can help. Depending upon the size of your website, SEO services can be minimal with great ROI.

    Local residents want to support your small business, so make sure they can find it.

    What Happened To Google Tags?

    April 21st, 2011

    Those bright yellow Google Tags that highlighted your business will soon be history.

    According to an email from Google, the company will be retiring the tags on April 29th. If you currently run a Google Tags campaign and you didn’t get the email – hopefully you will – let this posting serve as your notice. While we received an email notification for one of our client’s, we did not receive one for our own account. Instead, we received the following email:

    According to an email from Google, the company will be retiring the tags on April 29th. If you currently run a Google Tags campaign and you didn’t get the email – hopefully you will – let this posting serve as your notice. While we received an email notification for one of our client’s, we did not receive one for our own account. Instead, we received the following email:

    “This is to notify you that the following offers in your Google Places account will expire in 13 days on 4/30/11.

    15% Off SEO Services

    We are sorry to bother you but we thought we’d let you know early, in case you wished to extend their lifetime or replace them. Please visit Google Places to extend the expiry date of your offers or to replace them with new ones. After expiration, the offers will no longer be displayed until they are renewed.


    Kind of confusing, huh? Perhaps you also received this email. But it is official. The Google Tags will soon be no more. Once we logged into our Google Places account, there was a notification up top saying:

    What Happened to Google Tags?

    What Happened to Google Tags?

    It appears that Google is trying to push its new Google Boost – a very simplified version of AdWords that you supposedly “don’t” have to manage, in place of Tags, which will make them money (as Google Tags was a nominal fee), but cost you more. Google mentioned Boost – and even offered a $100 Boost credit for Tags users for the month of May – in its email and in our Places dashboard. When Google first started Tags, it offered its users a free month credit, i.e., $25. So it seems Google wants you to spend at least $100 per month on Boost.

    Google Tags worked well for our clients, both in terms of visibility and cost of conversion. It’s a shame that it will no longer be available.

    So if you notice that your Google Tag is no longer showing, or if you finally decided to try Google Tags and logged into your Places account and see no option for it, you will no longer have to wonder what happened to Google Tags.

    Google Hotpot Reviews Now Rolled Into Google Places

    April 12th, 2011

    Hotpot is a recommendation engine that displays reviews and ratings of local businesses and establishments. Until last week, Google Hotpot reviews were integrated with Google Places in the iPhone and Android Google Places apps when users were searching Google Maps or You set a geographical location and local reviews were displayed. Now Google has rolled Hotpot into Google Places.

    According to Google, the Hotpot “community has quickly expanded to millions of users who are rating more than one million times per month and enjoying a truly personalized view of the world.” So they are making Hotpot a permanent part of Google Places. They also plan to add more features to Google Places to make it even easier to rate, discover and share.

    How does merging Google Hotpot Reviews into Google Places affect you?

    If you have a Google Places account, make sure it is complete and optimized. If you don’t have one, create one. You have to be found in order to be reviewed!

    Can I Use a PO Box as My Google Places Address?

    January 31st, 2011

    Clients with home businesses often ask if they can use a PO Box as their address in the Google Places listing. The short answer – not a good idea.

    Google has seemed to waffle back and forth in this area. When Google Maps was first created, businesses without a brick and mortar address could not create a business listing because the Google Map was unable to display a listing without a pinpoint address. Then Google Maps started incorporating business listings from data partners and began showing a floating dot, rather than a pinpoint, to represent those businesses with no “actual” address – but that information had to come from data partners rather than a listing.

    When confronted with how businesses with no brick and mortar address could get on Google Maps back in 2008, the Google Earth VP suggested that those businesses get a PO Box. Hence, people started doing so. Acknowledging that not all businesses have brick and mortar addresses, in April 2010, Google rolled out the ability to add service areas to your listing AND hide your address.

    A few months later Google seemed to do an about face. In a December 2010 blog post on tips for creating a business listing in Google Places, a Google rep wrote:

    “Google Places is meant to facilitate customer interaction with brick-and-mortar businesses and service providers. Therefore, the business owner or employee who is officially authorized to represent their particular business location must have a physical address in order to comply with our guidelines.”

    The guidelines the rep is referring to state: “P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations. Listings submitted with P.O. Box addresses will be removed.

    Some of those listings have been removed and some have not. But there are plenty of Google Places Help questions out there regarding people being penalized for using a P.O. Box as an address.

    What are your options? Some places let you get a P.O. Box that is not listed as a P.O. Box address, but rather as a suite number. Use your home address but don’t display it. Try to partner with another business to use their address – but remember that there cannot be two businesses at the same address so you would need to have a suite number.

    Can I use a PO Box as my google places address?
    If you want your Google Places listing to be shown, DON’T use a P.O. Box!

    Google Places iPhone App – One More Reason to Have an Optimized Google Places Listing for Your Business

    January 13th, 2011

    Yesterday, Google announced that a Google Places App is now available for the iPhone. This App lets you quickly search for places nearby, just like local search on – but while you’re on the move. Google gives you some popular search categories to choose from and allows you to customize the list by adding your own favorite searches.

    The Google Places for iPhone App also helps you make an informed decision by integrating Google Hotpot, which is a recommendation engine that displays reviews and ratings of local businesses/establishments.

    Google Places AppGoogle Places App2

    Google is making local search easier while people are mobile – looking for a nearby restaurant to stop and eat, the closest gas station, a good cup of coffee. Want them to find you in their search? Make sure you have a complete and optimized Google Places listing for your business. The iPhone already has a huge market with ATT. Imagine how much larger that market will get when Verizon starts selling the iPhone next month!

    What is Yext Advertising? A New Way for Small Businesses to Be Found Online Through Local Search

    January 5th, 2011

    Similar to Google tags, the brand new Yext Advertising allows you to highlight your business listings with a – yellow tag.  But unlike Google Tags – which are simply seen on Google – when you advertise with Yext, your highlighted listing can appear on multiple search engines including Yahoo, Yelp, MapQuest, Superpages, Citysearch, Yellowbook, WhitePages and many more.

    You can create custom messages such as coupons, specials, new products or services, and more.  And you control/update your tag on all of Yext’s partner search engines from one dashboard – quite a time saver.

    The power of Yext advertising

    According to Yext’s website, “recent studies performed on Google search results showed that businesses highlighted with a Google Tag received more than twice the attraction from prospective customers. Through special partnerships, Yext now offers you a new way to advertise your business listings on leading local search sites.”

    The cost is $99.95 per month.  Although this is four times the cost of Google Tags, your listing is showing on more places.  You can try it out free for 7 days.

    While we don’t think Yext Tags are going to replace Google Local Search, they are another affordable way to expand your web presence.