Like many search marketers, I tend to devote my efforts where they will have the most impact. With a search market share of about 72 percent in February 2009, Google has earned most of my attention.
In contrast, Yahoo's share is just under 18 percent. These figures include local search market share, but it's difficult to tell just how big a piece of the pie Yahoo has in local search. Its local information is spread across three cross-linked platforms: Yahoo Local, Yahoo Yellow Pages, and Yahoo Maps. Google, for its part, concentrates its efforts within Google Maps. Keep in mind, Yahoo may be just as important as Google Maps in the world of local search. Why? Because the Yahoo family includes many niche portals -- including the three already mentioned -- that are widely used by those searching for what is very often local information.
Go to Yahoo Everything, a directory of Yahoo sites, to see all the special services, programs, searches, entertainment, directories, blogs, and portal sites that make up the world of Yahoo. Yahoo shares information across its network and its network is extensive. Think about that and I bet you'll begin pondering new ideas for using Yahoo more in your search marketing. Theoretically, if an ad for a car is placed on Yahoo Autos, it should show up in Yahoo Shopping, too. While this doesn't always work the way it's intended, you can see the potential power of everything Yahoo.
Yahoo Local is a portal site in typical Yahoo fashion. It has well done City Guides for metro areas and many small cities, towns, and tourist areas. The portal pages contain links to popular local topics like shopping, dining, and events, making it easy to browse for the information you want. Like Google Maps, businesses may create, edit, and enhance their listings. Also like Google, Yahoo local business listings appear within the blended search results when local intent is interpreted from a query. (Over the past year, Google has begun adding features to Maps in order to make it more of a portal site.)
Yahoo Local Maps
This platform looks and works much the way Google Maps does, allowing you to search the local business listings, get directions, and see locations on a map. It is part of Yahoo Local, so information is naturally shared between the sites.
Yahoo Yellow Pages
This offering is one of the most widely used Internet yellow pages. Here, you can submit your business for free, pay for better placement, and/or pay for a bigger, better listing on Yahoo Yellow Pages. You can also make certain your Yahoo Local listing is as complete as possible and Yahoo Yellow Pages will draw from it as, perhaps, its most trusted source.
Essentially a local portal, Yahoo Travel Guides include themed vacation ideas (beaches, honeymoons, golf, etc.), photos, hotels, things to do, maps, along with reviews and recommendations, and the ability to book flights, hotels, cruises, and more online. Yahoo Travel creates daily travel picks, depending upon your preferences. It also allows you to plan your own itinerary, save it online, and share it with others, if you choose. You can view the public itineraries and travelogues of other travelers to get ideas, see photos of their adventures, get their commentary on where they stayed, what they did, and anything else they wish to share with others.
You can pay for placement in Yahoo Travel and depending upon the type of business you have, this may be worthwhile. At no cost, you can add attractions to the Travel Guide pages and upload photos to Flickr that can appear in the guides.
Depending upon your niche, other Yahoo sites, such as Shopping, Autos, Finance, etc. may be able to contribute to your local search marketing efforts. Most allow paid advertising through Yahoo Sponsored Search, which may be appropriate for some businesses. Also, check out opportunities to get targeted attention in your area of expertise through Yahoo Answers and Yahoo Groups. Those social media sites get prominent links from the pages of industry portals and can rank well in relevant searches, as well.
Go to Yahoo Everything and check out your options for increasing your presence across all of the Yahoo sites. Then, try out some of them to see what works for you. Like me, you may be inspired to spend a little more time, money, and effort marketing on Yahoo again.
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Mary Bowling has been involved in all aspects of online marketing since 2003. She has a special interest in Web site usability and in search engine optimization, including optimizing all types of media for search engines. Mary has also developed specialized expertise in promoting brick-and-mortar businesses on the Internet through local search marketing. She is currently doing independent consulting and working with seOverflow and Maia Internet Consulting in Denver, CO, optimizing and marketing a wide variety of businesses and nonprofits online.
Her accomplishments include speaking at Search Marketing Expo and Search Engine Strategies conferences on a variety of topics, conducting trainings and webinars for Search Engine Strategies and Search Engine Workshops, authoring popular white papers on local search and SEO for WordPress Blogs and speaking at SEMpx' s Searchfest.