Listing Your Business Online: The New Yellow Pages

You Just Had to be There

Not that long ago, neglecting to put a business listing in the Yellow Pages phone book was tantamount to business suicide. You just HAD to be there.  Today, the fingers still “do the walking,” but they are not alone. They have the company of a mouse.

You know, the mouse that’s plugged into the computer.

Of Mice and Men

Aside from the fact that there are more people on this planet than there were 20 years ago, before this whole Internet thing happened, we certainly seem to have more problems. Health issues are rampant, education, politics, the list goes on. There are a lot of problems that need solving.

How do you solve your problems? I’m willing to bet it’s the same way most people do, they reach for that mouse and do a quick search online. I’m not teaching anything new here, just pointing out it’s a habit most people with access to the Internet have. They use it to solve problems.

I remember once my wife spilled hot candle wax on our carpet. Or maybe I spilled it.  Either way, there it was, bright red wax on a beige carpet. My first instinct was to pick at the wax until I got it out of the carpet. Realizing that would probably take the better part of an hour (with dubious results), I opted to spend 5 minutes online first.

So, would you like to know the secret to getting out candle wax from a carpet in a few minutes with just about zero effort? A paper bag and an iron. Yep. Just place the paper bag over the stained area, pass the hot iron over the paper bag, and the paper soaks up the hot wax. Done.

Gotta love it. And your customers will love you too if you can solve a question like that without jumping down their throat to sell them 5 things before they can say boo. But that’s really a topic for another day. Today’s post is about using this penchant for internet problem solving to your advantage by listing your business on this new “Yellow Pages.”

Google Places: The New Yellow Pages

Technically, the Yellow Pages is also online. Their site, at the time of this writing, gets over 240K unique visitors per month. Not bad. However, it doesn’t hold a candle to the number of unique vistors Google gets per month. Here’s a graph showing the big search engine gorillas at this party, courtesy of, based on the number of unique visitors to each site per month:

Comparison of Google to Yellow Pages

When it comes to unique visitors per month, Google is top dog compared to The Yellow Pages.

Nothing wrong with being in two places at once on The Internet. By all means, create a business profile on as many sites as you can.  But today we are going to focus on Google Places. Here’s a short video with some case studies of actual application:

Google Places: Case Studies Video

When I first came across Google Places, I tested it by listing the Burbank Inbound Marketing Club, a weekly class where I teach local business owners to implement enterprise social media. Within a few months the site had thousands of impressions. An impression is where the Places page showed up on search requests.

Not only am I able to track the number of impressions, but I am able to see the search terms used to reach my Places page, the number of people who actually clicked on the listing (called an Action), and the locations they clicked from when asking for driving directions.

Google Places Map

This data can be useful for a local business as it’s a type of consumer analysis. If a high number of requests came from one area for a restaurant, for example, the owner might consider opening a 2nd location where the requests are coming from already.

To create a business listing on Google Places is pretty easy, if you are already familiar with the internet and have already done your search engine optimization (so you have your keywords worked out already). There are some pitfalls to be aware of, which I will cover in another post.

If Google Places seems complicated, best to hire someone who knows how to optimize websites for search, and who can tie your Google Places listing together with your website or any other online presence you might have. Otherwise you might inadvertently put yourself at a disadvantage, or at the very least, not take advantage of all the features that are available on the site.

Happy listing!

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