Though sometimes it may feel like it, it’s not ALL Google, ALL the time in the land of search. There are other search engines that your customers sometimes use to find you. Engines like Yahoo. Or Bing.
Well, earlier this week Yahoo made it easier for searchers to find local businesses by displaying its local business shortcut even when a user doesn’t specify a location when they search. Starting this week, Yahoo will read between the lines and use a searcher’s IP or Yahoo profile to identify where they’re searching from in order to pull up relevant local results.
What does that mean? It means that a Yahoo searcher performing a generic search like ["plumber", "florist", "move theater"] will get the local business shortcut if Yahoo feels they meant to imply local intent. It’s something that tends to make life a bit easier for searchers and a feature Google and even Bing have been using for awhile.
See it in action, check out a search for [pizza] on Yahoo:
Even though it was specified that I was looking for pizza in my town of Troy, NY, Yahoo knows that’s likely what’s most relevant. Yahoo will also allow searchers to refine their results by cities or neighborhoods. In the screenshot above, you can see that Yahoo has already broken out the neighborhoods of Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Watervliet, etc. This is a neat feature and something I haven’t seen Google implement yet. Very cool by Yahoo.
Not everyone is a fan of the search engines deciding what is or is not local intent, but normal searchers tend to find it useful. As a small business owner you should start incorporating these town or city names into your site content in order to take advantage of Yahoo’s new targeting if you weren’t using them already.
As search becomes inherently more local, it makes it even more important for you to tell the search engines, directly on your site pages, where you’re located. It’s why you want to localize your content by not only putting up a local telephone number and street address, but by listing what cities and points of interest your nearby, as well. You’re also going to want to include this information in the various local listings that you fill out for your company. I think as the engines get more sophisticated we’re going to see a lot more of this neighborhood-level refinement – whether the neighborhoods are based on radius, zip code, points of interest or even user-defined neighborhoods.
What do you think of Yahoo’s new local refinement options?