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Siri – a new search engine?

According to Apple, Siri is the new voice recognition app built for the iPhone 4S. Whether you own one or not, as a small business owner, it is important you learn about it now.

Siri allows iPhone users to get directions to the nearest library, check the weather, or help find a taxi to the airport. If you are a small taxi company who is using paid search to generate new business, are you getting the top results when Siri is searching for the keywords you are bidding on? The short answer is probably not.

In the US, Siri is using Yelp.com’s database to generate a list of businesses nearby. This could cause problems for small merchants. First, areas where Yelp is not widely used, its database can be skewed and incomplete. Small businesses can also be at the mercy of angry customers and incorrect or negative reviews.

The question now is what can small businesses do in the mean time to make your site accessible to Siri and for mobile?

 

Optimize for mobile.

Optimizing your site for mobile browsers has been a suggestion to businesses of all types for a while now.

According to Michelle Hartley(switchfast.com), Your location and phone number should be prominent on the first page. Additionally, if you are offering a specific special that day, highlight it on the first page, not buried three pages in. The most important information you would like your consumers to see should be the easiest to access.

 

Establish a presence online outside of your website.

Verifying your website on Yelp and Google Places can have a huge impact on local SEO. It might seem obvious, but it is important that information in local directories is identicalSpend some time making sure local information is correct in local directories like Citysearch, Yellow Pages, and local.com. For restaurant owners,  dining sites like Urban Spoon, MenuPages, and Yelp can help you reach a wide audience.

Apple’s use of Yelp places adds an additional emphasis on the service and its database. Love it or hate it, merchants have to deal with Yelp. They have built an extensive, accurate database of restaurants and retailers that consumers have come to rely upon. Maintaining the business end of Yelp will help you keep consumers updated and show them you are involved in the space.

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