How to Register Your Website for Local Search

If you run a local business, you probably want to submit your business to the search engine’s local-search indexes. First note that your business may turn up in the results even if you take no action. The major search engines pull data from a lot of different sources.

If you have a business that has been picked up by some kind of business directory, your business has likely ended up on the local-search indexes of the major search engines. For instance, if your business has a business phone listing, you are almost certainly included.

Being in the index doesn’t mean that you can rest on your laurels, though. Just because you are in the index doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily rank well. In any case, there are lots of local-search directories, not just the major ones, so you still have work to do.

For instance, Google, Yahoo!, and Bing let you add information about your business directly to the local-search index, increasing the likelihood of being found during a local search and increasing the amount of information that’s seen when your information is viewed.

Also, you may want to consider the upgrades that some of the search engines sell and that may help push you above your competitors.

The Big Four Go Local
Site Description
Google Maps/Google Places Free, including the ability to add video and pictures; if you have more than ten locations, you can submit a data file. To the user, the service appears to be called Google Maps. However, in communications with businesses, Google is branding the service Google Places.
Yahoo! Local Free or $9.95 per month if you want to add pictures, a “tagline,” and a business description.
Bing Local Search Free, including photographs.
Ask Local Ask.com doesn’t have its own “local” index; it uses data from Citysearch.com. A basic listing is free.

A quick word about Yahoo! Yahoo! gets organic search results (and PPC ads) from Bing. However, Yahoo! still manages Yahoo! Local results itself. That is, the system is separate from Bing, and so your listing in Yahoo! is managed separately from your listing in Bing.

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