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Why you should care about Yelp if you own a business with a local market!

I admit I’ve been avoiding Yelp for a while now.

After all, why the hell do I need another social site to deal with, I barely get on Facebook anymore. When you work 8-10 hours a day on a computer, seeking relaxation on Facebook isn’t in the plan. As long as you don’t operate a business trying to market locally, no problem…

Say what?

Ah, you haven’t heard the interesting facts about the new iPhone voice search feature called SIRI have you? Don’t feel bad, not many business owners have, here’s the deal. SIRI is this very cool new voice activated search feature built into the new iPhones. It’s being advertised on TV constantly. It turns out that people really like it. So what? Well here’s the kicker. When someone does a voice search for a local business or service, the search results come from Yelp, not Google! All that hard work you’ve put in to get a presence online for your website is now missing 20% – 30% of the mobile search market.

It’s probably not a coincidence that Yelp is based in San Francisco. I also find it interesting that I have two consecutive posts about Mr. Jobs. Not that I post that much, but still. It seems that Mr. Jobs was still full of interesting concepts right until the end. Apple and Co. have been in a battle over several markets, but I think they realize the huge stakes involved in search and information serving, especially in the local markets.

Until SIRI, local results were served almost exclusively by Google. You played by there rules or hit the highway. Now Yelp will be a player in the local markets. You can see efforts from Google to dominate this market, but no matter what they do, they won’t reach SIRI searches, very clever Apple!

To be fair, iPhones only control a part of the smart phone population, but do you want to throw those customers away? Probably not. Anther nice feature of Yelp is that after you claim and verify your business listing, you  can reply to reviews on your company, both the positive and NEGATIVE ones! That’s a good thing!

If you don’t have time to do this, hire someone. Merry Christmas!  🙂

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