It’s crazy to think that 10 years ago someone would find a business or service by flipping through hundreds of pages of a business directory. Categorized by the genre of the product/service, there was nothing that differentiated businesses in terms of customer service rating or “live reviews”.
Today, it’s a little different. The emergence of online business directories like Yelp, BING, Yellow Pages and, of course, the dominant Google has revolutionized the way businesses expose their brand.
Here are the differences between platforms:
Founded in 2004, Yelp was implemented to help people find local businesses. This year, in 2018, the search engine had just over 109 million unique users. Yelp is a specific directory where you can upload photos, leave reviews, and find information about a local business. Yelp saw a majority of success in its earlier years of operation, still has a decent following, and is still considered by many to be a secondary option next to their arch rival, Google.
Made by Microsoft, BING used to be called “MSN Search”, which I’m sure most reading this are familiar with MSN back in the day. Unlike Yelp or Yellow Pages, BING is a full service search engine rather than just a business directory – which makes it naturally more popular. “Bing Places” is a directory for local businesses to be exposed to new clientele. Bing integrates Yelp data into their listings, so users can see what people are saying about the company through Yelp reviews. The biggest difference between Bing and Google is BING’s video search. According to a study by Greg Sterling (www.searchengineland.com), Bing controls thirty-three percent of online searches.
Yellow Pages is pretty much like the grandparent in your family. You respect their experience and wisdom because they’ve been around since 1886, but you’re not too keen on taking advice on new technology from them. Since 2002 Yellow Pages has seen a decrease in their following from 119 million people using the “old school” unglamorous yellow book per week to 80 million total people using the platform per month. While the website claims they have 20 million businesses registered, we can think of better areas to promote your company.
All hail the king! The term “Google it” went viral for a reason. According to Live Stats the search engine processes over 3.5 billion searches per day and now over 1.2 trillion searches per year world wide. This is obviously huge for local businesses. The platform launched their business directory called “Google My Business” in June of 2014. There are many benefits to creating a free profile for your business because of the visibility your company will receive on the web.
To conclude the comparison, love or hate Google, it’s the best option for your business to succeed in the digital era that we live in. Almost every cellphone, smartwatch, smart glasses, tablet, computer and smart device have Google integration, so access is easy. Other directories will always be good secondary and third options, but the traffic numbers Google brings to a local business are unignorable.
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