Yahoo! has announced improvements to Yahoo Local Maps. They’ve added more data and made the maps easier to read.
Yahoo says there are more changes to come, but here are some of the changes so far:
- New Neighborhood Data
300 cities with new neighborhood data added throughout North America, from Palo Alto, to Chicago, to Toronto, etc.
- More data in Eastern Europe
- New highlighted interest points like: schools, rest areas, ski resorts, etc.
- Additional shaded relief levels worldwide
- City label density increased for better usability
- Lighter map tiles – with an average of 30-60% reduction in size
Hopefully some of those changes in the future will be to improve the local business listings – adding more and refining the searches. I’m still a fan of Google Maps, because I think it’s easier to use and the results are more relevant. For example, I typed “restaurants” in Yahoo Maps and there were only six listings and one was a place that rented chocolate fountains.
Submit Your Local Business to Yahoo, Google, and MSN
If you own a local business, you can come up higher in local search results by submitting your business to Yahoo, Google, MSN, and others. Here’s where to submit your business to Yahoo Local, Google Local Business Center and MSN’s Window’s Live Local.
The Web is the New Yellow Pages
People using local search are often motivated to action – they search for a local restaurant because they want to go eat at one. They might be locals or they may be in town for a convention or on vacation. They may be searching on their PC or cell phone. Conversion rates for these types of searches are pretty high – I’ve heard 52%.
Grassroots Marketing to Get Local Businesses Online
Google has taken to the streets and hired locals (like me) to add local businesses to Google Maps. Many local dentists, optometrists, spas, photographers, and other local businesses aren’t aware of how important local search is to their business. They’re often unaware of how many potential customers they lose by not being on these listings.
Small businesses may not realize how easy it is to add their business to search results – and its free. I like Google’s grassroots approach to getting more businesses online. Since most small businesses have small advertising budgets, it’s the way most do their marketing anyway.