For most of the years since its invention in 1886, the printed yellow pages have been a fixture beside household phones. But starting about 10 years ago, things began to change. Instead of turning to the printed yellow pages, customers began going online instead.
Neighborhood businesses, across the board, are feeling this decline in yellow page usage. Online, there is not just one source of businesses listings that customers turn to but potentially thousands, each with their own rules, signup procedures and often costs. However, there are three key directories every business should be in and, fortunately, they are all free:
1. Google Places http://www.google.com/places
When users search Google for a business or type of business, Google will attempt to return local businesses at the top of its result list. One of the ways Google knows about local businesses is through its Google Places service.
2. Yelp http://www.yelp.com
Yelp took the standard web business listing and made it easy for customers to add their own opinions. When users have something to say about a business or when they want to read what others have to say, the often turn to Yelp.
3. BubbleLife Neighborhood Directories http://bubblemedia4.wpengine.com
General directories are great for potentially touching anybody, but for local businesses the most valuable customers are those within five miles of their front door. Local customers are most likely to be repeat customers and are the most likely to influence other nearby customers through word-of-mouth referrals. BubbleLife’s focus on the neighborhood makes it very complementary to other online directory efforts.
Each of these three services let a business enhance their online profile and it is worth a little extra time to make your business stand out.