Local Search on Cell Phones will Derail Yellow Page Directory Usage

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Local Businesses have Been Slow to Capitalize on Search Engine Notice

Yellow Page directory usage has been falling for years. But most merchants who've always relied on their directory listing for new business have not taken the necessary steps to promote themselves online as well.

Local Search by search engines makes the Internet a vital component of more and more retail sales. Buyers can find convenient sources of products or services (the time-honored role of the Yellow Pages) with queries that include a geographic element.

They narrow their search by adding a specific city, zip code, region (Pike's Peak), county, etc. Only nearby businesses appear in the results. Suddenly, even the smallest business (without a website) has a chance of being easily found online.

The Public's Buying Habits Have Changed

Over 25% of all search-engine queries are for Local Search results; and that percentage is growing quickly. Last year, both Google and Yahoo committed to expanding the value of Local Search results they deliver. People want them and are driving the trend. Small businesses that don't get aboard risk being left behind (and unfound).

Increasingly, customers go online first to find product information and sources - even if they intend to spend their money locally. Instead of opening the fat Yellow Page directory (which is months out of date, since it's only updated once a year), they "let their fingers do the walking" online.

That could be Internet Yellow Pages (IYP), a search engine query such as Google or Yahoo, or visiting a specialized online directory. There are many demographic reasons why people no longer make the Yellow Pages the first step in their buying process. They still want to research their options, but are often looking for different information than Yellow Page ads provide.

Get Local Search Results on your Cell Phone

Add convenience to the search, since Google brought out Local Mobile Search in March, 2005. Google Local lets callers find everything from restaurants to retail outlets using their mobile phone. This option is available in most American cities. People can access the mobile web browser on any mobile phone or device that supports XHTML (WAP 2.0).

Visualize yourself driving down the street, and you decide you'd like sushi. You park and enter "your town" plus "sushi" into a Google search on your cell phone. Within seconds you know your choices. You can even get driving directions, maps and "click to call," if you have a question.

Now, that's miles ahead of finding a payphone and digging through the directory, assuming there is one.

Conduct a Local Search from your Cell Phone

- Type

- Enter your local search query in the 'What' box

- Enter your location in the 'Where' box

- Select and hit the "Google Search" button

- Scroll through your search results

- Locate a business's exact location

- Get driving directions to your desired location

- Place a call directly to a listed business

Callers can also get Local Search results by going to the Google home page on the phone's web browser

Business Owners Must get Listed so they'll Appear in Search Results

Given the widespread use of cell phones, Google's new feature will create an immediate impact. People on the go (and who isn't, anymore?) will have less reason than ever to look in the printed Yellow Page directory.

What to do? Yellow Page Sage provides step-by-step how-to, so your business gets found when suitable buyers are looking. Make life easier for yourself - and customers relying on their cell phones to decide where they should spend their money.

It's time to develop your marketing strategy beyond what the Yellow Pages can deliver. Be sure your operation is easy for people to find, whether they use a print directory or the Internet. Get your share of the free exposure that Mobile Local Search will be able to send your way.

?2005, Lynella Grant

--Dr. Lynella Grant Author, Yellow Page Smarts: Make more money from your directory ad in tandem with your website Smarter ways to attract more YP customers. Local Search resources Off the Page Press (719) 395-9450

--Dr. Lynella Grant Author, Yellow Page Smarts: Make more money from your directory ad in tandem with your website Smarter ways to attract more YP customers. Local Search resources Off the Page Press (719) 395-9450

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