The folks over at Yahoo! showed that they care about more than size when they unveiled the new version of Yahoo! Local. The idea was to create a more user-driven set of local content for cities across the United States while taking advantage of Yahoo!'s existing mapping, news and directory content.
The new local pages feature recommendations from other Yahoo! users for local restaurants and businesses and even features listings of local events broken down by areas of town and event type. Other new features include:
John Battelle has some great insight on the new offerings in his blog. Among his points are that Yahoo! is wise in its pursuit of consumer-driven content in order to attract local search users. He explains that "Borrowing content from the Yellow Pages (or integrating related - but not connected - content from the broader web) can only take local web search so far. The architecture of participation is what's next."
He's right. While Google did a good job of getting some nice local search relating mapping options out there, it's companies like A9 and Yahoo! that are embracing the idea of TRUE local content. That is, content generated by locals. Sites like CityPages and CitySearch have done a good job of creating localized destination sites that share reviews and insight into the community, but they are lacking the search power that a company like Yahoo! can add to the mix.
The thing that I'm taking away from this new launch is the way that it may impact small businesses and the way that they approach local search engine marketing. There has been a lot of focus recently on local search. How do you target local audiences? PPC? Geotargeting? Localized content? I think the answer is an extension of what many within the industry have been pushing forever: build good content. Give your customers what they are looking for. Not just on your Web site, but through your business. Drawing traffic from a local search site like Yahoo! Local isn't just going to be about buying the right directory listing or bidding on the right PPC term. It's going to be about making your customers happy enough that they want to tell other people about you. You aren't going to buy or optimize your way to the top of these listings. You are going to have to earn your way there.
Isn't that what good small business marketing is all about anyway?
Take a tour of the new version of Yahoo! Local.
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Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.
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