Likely not. In fact under 2% of NZ businesses have claimed, verified and edited their Google local business listing. (This compares with 20% in the US market). Getting your Google business listing is more important than anything else right now. It’s the fast-track to getting on a page one search.
The more detail, links and good reviews Google has on your business, the higher your placement in a search. It’s very important for eCommerce sites, Retailers, Restaurants, Dentists and those in the automotive trade – Any store or business with a street address customers come to.
This is all very important. Since mid 2010 these Google search listings with map, have been served up high on page one of a search. The maps have been given a higher priority than most generic search listings that SEO gurus fought so hard for. Yet this change can be Real Gold for small businesses.
Google loves shoppers
These days Google makes the assumption that most people who go online to search, are looking for a product or service. To service up a local, trustworthy supplier in the search result is the goal, which is good for customers and retail businesses.
A Google Map (aka Google Places; Local Business) listing can show all your business details including photos, that would have cost thousands per year as a similar display advertisement in the old Yellow phone book. Yet many businesses are still paying dearly for these traditional listings, even though most Yellow books are gathering dust somewhere, unopened.
Today 84% of prospective customers actively search for new products or local services using Google, not Yellow. More and more, it’s done on their mobile phone too. And instead of a simple address listing and phone number, it comes with a Google map, photos, open hours, directions, customer reviews and much more. A mini-website in fact.
Most businesses find the number of leads coming via their lower cost Google local business listing to be 3-5 times higher than their Yellow Pages ads…
In the last 12 months, Google it appears has made the Yellow Pages offerings (book and online), obsolete for most small businesses, giving a far superior service, for a fraction of the cost.
(The only thing likely keeping Yellow alive is their aggressive sales force and selling techniques, plus the fact that most small business haven’t yet realised what Google now has on offer.)
And the Google offerings just keep getting better… Add in pay-per-click Google Adwords and you’ve a very powerful, affordable package to get found online. Our suggestion is to dump Yellow pages altogether and split this budget between Google Adwords and upgrading your website.
N.B. It’s more important than ever to be listed with Google. Following the changes at Google in mid October 2010, listings in third party directories like yellow.co.nz, menus, finda and dozens of others, will be placed further down the Google search page. Google’s own listings will naturally take priority. (ref article here).
The key thing to remember with search today, is that Google is constantly looking to validate how good your business or service is though your overall online presence and the reviews provided by others. This ultimately means a better quality, more relevant result for those doing the search.