WHEN the Yellow Pages came through my door the other day, I was shocked to see just how sparse it has become. Each year it gets thinner and thinner. I wonder how much longer will it be cost-effective to print?
Apparently, 80% of the goods and services that we buy are within a 15-mile radius of our homes and we now prefer to use the internet to find these local services.
In a recent Cisco survey, the number of smartphones and tablets in use by the end of 2013 globally, will outnumber humans.
According to eMarketer, it already has in the UK – with an estimated 83m device connections.
If you combine the growing number of GPS-enabled devices being used to search the internet, our local buying behaviour and our tendency in the UK to use Google more than any other search engine (around 70%), the end result highlights the growing importance of Google+ Local directory pages.
Almost since the dawn of the internet, online service directories have been available. Yell is the Yellow Pages online alternative.
There are many others from our old friends Thompson Local and BT, as well as hundreds and thousands of online-only options.
With so many to choose from, how do you choose? Do you go for the free listing or an advertisement?
Statistics show that the majority of our online searches include a geographic search term, for example “hairdresser Huddersfield”, “builder Honley” etc.
When you do a place specific search for a service, the first set of results you now see with Google is their +Local results; a map and a directory of businesses that offer that service.
The clever bit is that when you do a search from a GPS-enabled device, you don’t even need to type the town or city. In most cases, Google will show you the + Local results as they already know roughly where you are.
With more people using devices than ever, it makes sense for all businesses to have a Google+ Local presence. It’s free and is by far the quickest way to see your business on the first page of Google.
Setting up is easy and you get some great statistics that show you how the page is working, how many visits you get and what they searched for to find you.
This is huge competition for the Yellow Pages and the others. I think the future continues to look uncertain for the local advertising stalwarts.