Thursday, October 30, 2008

Search Engines Trump Yellow Pages

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Rafael Robinson
Google Site Search with AJAX popup
Posted By: spenland

Hi everyone, I've just added the Google site search to my website to replace the archaic piece of garbage I was using before. I have the code placed in a header that I add to every page with a PHP include.

My question is, how can I track what is searched through analytics? Currently I'm using clicktracks and I'm having trouble figuring out exactly how to tag this event so that I can track what keywords have been searched.

Is there any type of parameter used in the search query I can use for tracking? Anyone have any luck tracking this outside of Google analytics?

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Chris Crum
Are You Getting Found?
Thursday, October 30, 2008

Local is As Local Does

It looks like search engines have officially trumped the Yellow Pages when it comes to customers looking for local businesses. Data from comScore and TMP Directional Marketing shows that this year more people are turning to search engines after last year's showed that Yellow Pages were on top.

Editor's Note: Increasingly, people are using the Internet to find local businesses. If you're MIA in local search, or if the information doesn't reflect the image you want to portray, you may have a little work to do. What steps are you taking to get found?

What the Data Shows

While most people still use a variety of different methods to find a local business, the study found what people seem to prefer as their first choice for doing so:

1.  Search Engines (31%)

2.  Print Yellow Pages or White Pages (30%)

3. Internet Yellow Pages Sites (19%)

4.  Local Search Sites (11%)

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Last year's numbers had Print Yellow Pages at 33% and search engines at 30%. When it comes to online habits of consumers, the study shows that more people turn to the Internet Yellow Pages sites than the Local search sites like Google Maps and Yahoo Local, but I suspect the reason for this is that they don't have to go to the actual local search sites to get the same results. If you search Google for a local business, you are likely to get the Google Maps results right at the top. The same goes for Yahoo (both illustrated below with a search for "pizza, lexington, ky").

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Google Pizza search
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What Businesses Need to Do

What businesses need to do to ensure their customers are finding them easily, is still to make sure they are listed in these local search results. For Google Maps, follow the following steps:

1. Sign in to the Google Local Business Center. If you don't have a Google Account, sign up for one.

2. Return to Google Maps by clicking on the icon in the upper corner of the Local Business Center.

3. Search for your listing.

4. Click on the "More Info" link next your listing. This will expand the information window.

5. Click "Add or edit your business" under the address and phone number.

For Yahoo Local:

1. Search for Your Listing and click on it

2. Update your business contact information, hours of operation, business category, etc.

3. You can also invest in a "Local Enhanced Listing" according to Yahoo, which lets you include your company logo and tagline, up to 10 photos, a detailed description, inclusion in up to five business categories, and two customizable link to coupons or special offers.

Going Beyond That

Google and Yahoo are just two options of course. You can pursue listings with Microsoft, Mapquest, and others. It is also a good idea to make sure you have a site and it is up and running properly, because while the study shows that consumers often find the business listing online, and then turn to their phone to make the call, there is a pretty good chance they will still want to check out your site and see what you are all about. Unfortunately, a good number of businesses are just not getting this, as Danny Sullivan found out the hard way when he moved to a new town and couldn't find working sites for the businesses he needed. Besides, the web can open up your business well beyond your local area.

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About the Author:
Chris Crum is a staff writer for WebProNews and iEntry Network.

McBrain vs. Zombama

Jason Miller By Jason Lee Miller

From credit, debit, gift cards, checks and
more, give your customers the payment
options they demand. Click here
Upon a seller tagging his or her Barack Obama mask in such a way to make it appear for the term “terrorist costume,” Amazon has made the proper adjustments. While that’s a fascinating event, there’s still a lot of guilt-by-association fun to be had by examining Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought…” feature.

Also apparently missing from Amazon is whatever came up for “Sexy MC Cain Perfect Trophy Wife Halloween Costume,” the landing page for it now 86’d and 404’d.

Regardless of those missing items, customers who bought and customers who viewed campaign-related merchandise have some interesting corresponding (or not) interests. Maybe what you buy does say a lot about you after all. 

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About the Author:
Jason Lee Miller is a WebProNews editor and writer covering business and technology.
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