Without a local business listing on a search engine, small businesses are missing out on potential customers.
That means a lot of small businesses are missing out on sales. A December 2014 report compiled by data analytics company Oxera, on behalf of Google, concludes (PDF) that just 37 percent of small businesses have a local listing on any search engine.
Those numbers mean that the four in five people who search the Web to find a business’s operating hours, phone number, or other vital data, aren’t getting that information on a majority of local small businesses.
So, Google has introduced a program in beta it’s calling “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” that aims to get small businesses listed on search engines.
With the help of Startlogic, Google is even offering a free website and domain for one year for businesses that participate.
Google has actually had its Get Your Business Online team operating since 2011, but obviously its reach has been limited so far.
As part of this new initiative, Google is working in 30,000 cities across the country to get more local small businesses listed on the search engine.
To back the importance of getting local small businesses listed online, Google says its new data shows that people are 38 percent more likely to visit a small business that’s listed online. And further, 29 percent of people asked said they are more likely to consider buying something from those businesses listed online.
Google’s new program is a multipronged effort. According to Soo Young Kim, Google’s head of marketing for Get Your Business Online, businesses and the people who enjoy local businesses can help.
First, Google has created a custom website for each city it’s targeting. At these sites, local businesses can find the resources they need to get listed online. That includes a diagnostic tool that shows businesses how they currently appear online, according to Kim’s post on the Official Google Blog.
On the street level, Google is linking up with local chambers of commerce and other small business groups. The company is giving these groups resources to help their local merchants. And these groups will be encouraged to hold seminars and other meetings to help guide local business owners getting their businesses online.
“These local partners know the challenges for local businesses more than anyone — and they recognize the value of getting businesses online.”
And, finally, businesses that are slow to get themselves online may get some help from loyal or impressed customers. The public, by visiting their city via the “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” website, can support their favorite businesses by listing their information online for them.