A quick thought on the yellow pages: Even a hot-air balloon won't save them.
I know it's hard to imagine a world without that big book in your drawer, and I know that sometimes it's more effective than a search engine at finding a local service, like a plumber. Or a roofer. Or a jumpy-house for your daughter's birthday. (You didn't forget, did you...?)
But Local Search from Google, Yahoo and MSN will replace the yellow pages, because it's getting better. Better at presenting all the plumbers in your area, instead of a random few. In the past local search has fallen-short because we're not getting the results we want...so we turn to the big yellow book.
But the advertising revenue is too great for the search industry to ignore, so local results are becoming more relevant, more useful, and the search-method of choice.
Where is the local-search opportunity for your business? If you deliver a product or service within a specific regional area you still have time to beat the competition. How?
- Build a clear, smart, professional website.
- Optimize it (i.e., search engine optimization, or SEO) for specific, local keyword searches.
Just showing up in Google's "Local Results" is not enough to win the business. A one-page website created by a friend is not going differentiate you from the other guys.
I still believe local search is the biggest opportunity for small business on the web.