Have you ever gone to yelp.com and looked up one of your favorite restaurants only to find that there’s little or no information provided for it? Then, you quickly type and click your way to Google’s business listings to attempt the same search but to no avail. Makes you wonder what some businesses are thinking, right? How could a small business not afford to be on as many business directories as possible? Even more so, why wouldn’t a small business list itself on directories if a competitor, who is not so small, is on there?
In short, businesses simply need to make a conscious effort at getting listed on as many directories as possible. From large to small directories, they all play a role in the future of SEO. Why? Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc.) and SEO strategies are merging. Business listings are right in the middle. They are a combination of branding, social media and SEO – all in one location.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article on Siri, Apple’s new A.I. helper for the iPhone 4S. What is so special about her anyways, besides the fact that you can sing with her? Siri is capable of answering the majority of your questions, especially when it concerns a specific location (this is where we make the connection between the importance of business listings and the future of SEO). You see, Siri utilizes and analyzes the information found on business listing directories such as Yelp!, Google and Yahoo.
So, if I ask Siri to find me the closest restaurant (a broad search), she will use those directories to find me something. Now, if I were to get specific and ask her where the location of the best Chinese restaurant is within 20 miles of my location, she will respond based off of analyzing:
- The type of restaurant
- The location
- Consumers’ reviews
“Consumers’ reviews” is bolded because this is the X-factor in this whole spiel. More and more, technology is trying to become more personalized. Integration of Facebook into Bing.com shows you that your friends like specific sites related to your search. For example, I did a broad search for “sports”. One of my friends “likes” Yahoo! Sports. Theoretically, if you share the same interests, your next decision is a no-brainer! Visit the same site your friend “likes”. Apply the same concept to a more accessible piece of technology (it’s unsafe to use your phone while driving), Siri.
Ultimately, would you rather eat at a 4-star restaurant with great reviews or a 2-star restaurant with reviews that are nastier than the food? Would you rather know exactly where specific sales are going on when by simply asking your phone or would you prefer running from store to store, wasting your time and gas? In this economy, we are constantly trying to find methods of doing things better, more efficiently. As a small business looking towards the future, understanding the importance of getting your business out there while encouraging customers to write reviews is vital.
Trust me, you don’t want to be that business that Siri (or other future A.I.) or browsing buyers don’t know of because you don’t exist in the virtual world.