In an effort to promote their own user reviews, yesterday Google made a major change to the Google Places listings, their local business directory. Prior to the change, viewers would see reviews that Google pulled in from third-party sites such as DemandForce.com, InsiderPages.com, CitySearch and many others. Search Engine Land did a great job of explaining these recent changes in this article.
Local search marketing is an affordable and effective advertising tool for local businesses to attract new customers. About 70% of households use the Internet to find local products and services either using their computer or their mobile device.
According to Google Inside Adwords, Google’s official blog for news, information and tips on AdWords, one in three mobile search inquires are made by people who are looking for something in their local area.
The first step in building your business’s online presence is to claim it on the local business listings sections of the major search engines. These sections allow you to list your local business for free. Local business listings (LBLs) are available through Google Places, Yahoo Local and Local Listing Center on Bing. Be sure to follow the business listing quality guidelines on each site.