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Local Business Listings on the "Big Three" Search Engines

With the ever increasing emphasis of local search and its integration in search engine results pages, having a local listing for your business on the "Big Three"search engines is a fundamental necessity.

Google Places Local Business Listings
Google Maps is Google's local search service, formerly called Google Local directory and renamed "Google Places" directory in April 2010. According to the press release, Google's rationale for the name change was to better connect Google Place directory pages with the place where local business information is handled (entered, claimed, enhanced and edited).

Google Places local business directory listings are completely free and aside from entering basic business information, Google Places also provides the option to add photos and descriptions and now the ability to add coupons and real-time updates to Place Pages local business listings. All Google Places local business submissions require verification by phone or postcard and this is the most daunting part of the local listing process.

Google Places local account holders can view dashboard statistics compiled for the past 30 days that include the number of impressions, or the number of times your local business directory listings was displayed.

Google Tags
Along with the name change Google had some other announcements including the renaming of their enhanced listings to "Google Tags." Google Tags is the paid counterpart to Google Places local business directory listings. For a flat $25/month fee, Google Tags provides businesses with the ability to highlight their local listing on Google from Google Places by noting what you think is most important or unique about your business. For example, your tag can highlight a coupon for new customers, a video about your store, or link to your menu. Businesses can track tag effectiveness via the Google Places dashboard.

Tags do not affect Google local or organic search result rankings; they just add more information to a Google Places local listing when it appears in either local/maps or organic search results.

But when a Google Places local listing appears in Google local/maps results, and especially in 7-Pack listing/Local Box above Google organic search results - Tags draw more attention to the business in question and increase its overall visibility in both local and organic Google search results. And it all became even more important after Google introduced so called "Place Search" in October 2010.

Google Boost
Along with the launch of Google's Place Search results, Google announced a new online advertising solution:" Google Boost". Boost ads are eligible to appear in the “Sponsored Links” section of Google.com and Google Maps search result pages".

Yahoo Local Business Directory
"Yahoo Local is a comprehensive business directory."
Though Yahoo has switched to Bing-powered organic search results, Yahoo has kept its local search service and continues to provide businesses with two listing options - Yahoo Local Basic Listings and Yahoo Local Enhanced Listings.

Bing Local Business Listings
Formerly Bing Local Listings, the Bing Business Portal allows business owners to create and manage their local business listings. Though there were a few bumps in the road, all listings have been migrated to the Bing Business Portal that offers new features and capabilities. As with Google Places and Yahoo Local, it's just as important to update your listing on the new bing local directory.



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