Not all that is local business, is local

Disguise fail 294/365

When is a duck not a duck? When it’s listed on Google as a local duck.

We now tend to use Google searches more than we use the yellow pages or 411 (does 411 even work anymore?) However, those “local” searches can be heavily manipulated.

This NY Times article () talks about how in a very popular category, locksmiths, the search results are absolutely poisoned with companies that aren’t local, but appear local in order to get local leads. The company listed isn’t the one that may come out and because the company isn’t really located locally there isn’t much you can do about it.

For a new business, Google is great. Within minutes you can get listed and be searchable at no cost, while with the yellow pages there’s a delay of up to a year and quite an expense (for us, the Yellow Pages ad is our largest and most expensive item in our marketing budget).

This lower barrier of entry for Google is also its source of manipulation. Within a few hours a company can set up virtual, seemingly “local” phone numbers that all ring a far away (sometimes offshore) call center that will quote or say anything to get your business.

As mentioned in an earlier post (link) this is sometimes how the computer repair companies run their business. International call centers take phone calls and route the job to the lowest bidder regardless of quality or ethics and apparently the locksmith industry is no different.

One of the keys is to read reviews on Google Places, Yelp and ljworldmarketplace (but even those can be manipulated [link). Lately, I tend to ask these questions on Facebook and Twitter. This way I know who is giving me the recommendation and I’m more likely to trust it.

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