Move over, Yellow Pages. . .
If You Seize the Moment Now, You'll Come
This is a very exciting time for small local businesses; the public is shifting from using the Yellow Pages to searching online.
All the big Internet search engines are scrambling to capture a vast market ignored until recently -- people doing "local searches", looking for information or services from local businesses and professionals.
Of course, "local search" was around a long time before the Internet, but it was challenging at times to flip through the yellow pages to find what you were looking for.
Why Yellow Pages Can't Compete
Today doing a local search query on the Internet will get you the same results in seconds, with new features on the horizon to make local search even more user-friendly.
Currently local search provides interactive maps, proximity matching, and user-contributed reviews. A searcher can type in the the service they're looking for and see at a glance how far away a business is, how to get there, and how that business is rated by folks in the "neighborhood".
The yellow pages simply cannot compete with such a rich, fast user experience.
There are nay-sayers, but a recent comScore press release states that approximately 109 million people performed a local search online in July, a 43-percent increase versus July of 2005. Of those surveyed, "41 percent of those conducting a local search were searching for something in their home area."
Yes, more people are still using the yellow pages of their local phone book than are using online search, but it won't stay that way.
Young adults today predominantly use the Internet for information, and increasingly more older adults are shifting their activities online. As the current generation of Internet users and the quality of local search mature together, the Internet will completely eclipse the yellow pages for use in finding local businesses and professional services.
Get Ready for the Future Now
This is especially true given the current fast-developing trends in personal communications.
For instance, computers are now being built into kitchen appliances. You can go to your kitchen computer and quickly look up a recipe, type in your shopping list, or search online for a mortgage broker to help you pay off your mortgage early, an investment advisor to help direct your Roth 401k, or a hair stylist specializing in multi-color weaves. These are in high end homes now, and will be adopted by the masses in the next few years as costs drop.
When that happens, it's goodbye yellow pages.
And that's just the beginning. A survey of over 20 leading authorities on the internet reveals the firm conclusion that technology and the web are merging at an ever increasing pace. With the availability of real time local data, local search will become a larger percentage of what people use the internet for.
Top on the list for this technology is mobile units. Web enabled phones are becoming the norm, and the amount of people who access the web through a hand held device is growing at a very fast rate. Blackberry and iPhone are everyday words now, and soon will be used as commonly as the cell phone is today.
Google and other search engines are partnering up with many Internet Service Providers to provide Wifi access and deliver "location away" ads. Pretty soon our phones will be able to receive ads from local businesses when we are in the vicinity.
You see, while we don't usually carry the yellow pages with us, we do carry our phones. Coming is the day when people will sign up to receive notices from local businesses for events, helpful service reminders, or "blue light specials" good for a certain amount of time or a certain number of people.
Meanwhile, local search from our "web phones" will soon make it easy for us to type in what service we are looking for, get a list of providers, find addresses we want, associated phone numbers, hours of operation, parking availability, directions, a web page for a business at that address, and more. It's a tremendous improvement over what a phone book can provide to a technology driven society.
You can bet that the businesses at the top of the local search list on those web phones will get most of the clients. As a smart professional, you will want to position yourself for this while you still can.
What to Do Next
Go watch our video on how you can get local leads streaming to you from the internet, by getting your website to rank on the first page of Google for phrases people type in when they are "hot to buy" the service you are offering.
You'll be stunned at how easy it is to get well qualified potential clients seeking you -- quickly, and inexpensively.
Check below for the other parts of this article, and join our membership for free to receive our exclusive report on effective website marketing, "Go for the Google Gold! How to Get Your Website to the Top of Local Search Results and Use It to Persuade the Right Potential Clients to Choose You".
© All Rights Reserved 2008-2010.