Focus on Local

The Focus on Local Search Today

 

In the world of escort services, the majority of potential clients in hotels are looking for your listings and websites from smartphones and tablets.

Important Update on 9 July 2012 @5:30pm EST:

An actual Google employee has clarified the policy on escort service listings in Places / Maps:

We treat escort services like any other service area business – if the address is faked or isn’t marked as hidden, the listing will be removed.

Locking this thread to discourage further negativity about this topic.

The thread that you will find this response on is here:

Hi Jade saw you locked the escort service thread can you please clarify the issue?

So that entire fiasco mentioned on the Blueprint Blog was a few renegade Map Makers with an agenda. Just make sure to check the box to “hide my address” in your Places dashboard.

End of this uodate.

You will need a local address to list your business. There are a variety of mailing stores that sell boxes with street addresses or you could use a “virtual office”. The “virtual office” is not expensive, but is a monthly charge. Often for $50 a month you can get the street address, access to copy and fax machines, and mail forwarding services if necessary. With many you can also purchase conference room time by reservation which is a great idea for conducting your interviews. If you interview in the conference room, you’ll have the copy machine right there to copy contract agreements and driver’s licenses. Important note: Do not confuse the “virtual office” with the leased office that is most often required to obtain a business license.

Your first focus should be on listing your business with a variety of local search websites. I listed several in the books, but today the most important local search websites, other than the big 3, are listed below. List with these before you tackle Google Places, Yahoo! Local, or Bing Local, but make damn sure you use the same address to match the business name and telephone number when you list in all local searches:

yellowpages.com – (click “Advertise with Us” on top bar)

local.com – (click “Advertise with Us” on top bar)

ezlocal.com – (click “Business Owners” in the top right corner)

superpages.com – (click “Add Your Free Listing” in upper right corner)

MapQuest – (create your account – free or premium)

yellowbook – (scroll to bottom of the page for “Advertise” links)

 

A Discussion about the Benefits of Paid Listings

 

What I have noticed in life is that with any major change, someone benefits and someone loses. As a result of recent changes with Google Maps / Places, most with an escort service are losing. Hopefully this advice will help stop the bleeding. If you are unaware, I have discussed the changes in more depth in this blog post, but do not allow it to alarm you yet:

Escort Services on the Internet: The Future

The good news is that Apple recently (mid-June 2012) announced a new service called Apple Maps that is currently a work in progress. Below I discuss how Bing Local and Yahoo Local are fed listings and that is the only way to end-up listed in either one. Well, it will be the same with Apple Maps. There is a list of companies that feed Apple Maps, but these are the main three:

Acxiom

Localeze

TomTom

The only one that it looks possible to list directly though is Localeze, and that is only if they do not show your listing in a search, but Localeze is fed by Yellowpages.com and Yellowbook.com as well as other local listing services. If you followed my advice in the book or on this page above, they should show your business listing.

I am compelled to change my advice on the topic of free listings vs. paid listings. I wouldn’t go for any package that charges per click and instead stick with a set monthly fee for premium listings. If you want to be ahead of your competition when it comes to local search, you will end-up spending some money each month.

To list with the big 3, go to:

 

Bing Business Portal

Yahoo! Local (enhanced listing is now $9.95 a month)

Google Places for Business

Bing offers free local listings for businesses and there is no option of enhanced listings as with Yahoo! Local. The big 3 could charge for enhanced listings one day and it would be a great value for the business owner, but Google, Bing, and Yahoo still have some work to do. From what I have been reading, Bing has been working on its local search platform. The other local search websites mentioned also offer enhanced listings for a price.

It used to be called Bing Local, but it has undergone changes for the better and is now a useful local search service. Read about how Bing Business Portal works, though there isn’t much of a help forum at this point. They do mail you a postcard with a PIN to activate your listing, or at least this was required when I claimed a listing.

In my opinion, Yahoo! Local and Bing Local are worth the 15 minutes it takes to set-up listings, but when it comes to anything adult, well, neither seem to know what they’re doing. Both are somewhat anti-adult and you will find senior companion type businesses next to the few escort services that make it in. Maybe it all depends who specifically reviews your listing because there is no solid reasoning for some of the listings deemed “unacceptable”. I have had party entertainment listings denied as “unacceptable” and escort service listings accepted and really the websites were all similar. What the hell? A personal issue with bachelor parties? In all cases there was no nudity on the websites.

You see escort businesses with listings in Yahoo! Local and Bing Local. So how do they get there? One way to get in Yahoo! Local is through Express Update or through City Search as both feed Yahoo! Local. Express Update has a free listing option.

 

A Discussion about Google Places Today

 

In the original Blueprint book, Google Places didn’t exist – it was Google Maps back in July of 2009. It was later that Google started Places and there’s a discussion in The Complete Blueprint for an Escort Service on the topic as it was not published until May of 2010; Places has undergone substantial changes since. Just make sure to check the box in your Places dashboard that states, “Hide my address”!

Understand that I am no expert on Places. This guy is an expert and is often on the Places Help forum helping others:

Understanding Google Maps and Local Search

It looks like Places is changing once again and I am seeing most listings provided by other sources. I do advise Blueprint readers to implement other means of listing and advertising your business as discussed in the books. Work on your websites and try to get them to the first page of relevant search results. Do not make your business depend on Places.

 

Google Places Update  (23 March 2012):

Don’t Serve Clients at Your Business? Hide Your Location – or else

The above linked post is from Mike Blumenthal’s Blog that is linked on this page. This is all news to me. As far as I am aware, if you do not show your location you are tossing the geographical proximity out the window. Regardless – read the post and seek further information if necessary.

Two other posts on the topic that are helpful:

Hide Your Google Places Address or to Heck With You

The Non-Place Use Case

 

Important Update: July 4, 2012:

 

Make sure to check the box in your Google Places dashboard to “hide your address” because we all know that you are not actually serving customers at your location.

I will update this page when necessary. Last updated 9 July 2012 @5:30pm EST.