Natural Search Blog


Verizon to Spin-Off Verizon Information Services & Superpages.com

Verizon’s official announcement regarding the spin-off plans came out just a short while ago. Verizon Communications Corp. is spinning off the business unit that I work for, Verizon Information Services, and its local information website, Superpages.com.

The new company’s name is “Idearc Inc.”, and it will operate under marks of “Idearc” and “Idearc Media“:

idearclogo

 

I’m not allowed to make any sort of forward-sounding business statements in relation to this until the spin-off is completed, due to the usual SEC rules. This is one of the common-sense limits one must place on one’s self, if one is an employee who happens to blog in one’s personal time! 🙂 (Wow! That sounded inhuman and recursive, didn’t it!) While I am an employee of VIS, I’m not speaking here in any sort of official capacity for my company, and any interpretations I place here are completely my own viewpoint. Obviously, nothing I say should be used in making stock purchase/sale decisions!

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Tips for Local Search Engine Optimization for Your Site

Increasingly, businesses are becoming aware of Local Search, and how optimizing for this channel is vital for those that have local outlets. Each of the main search engines has focused effort on their local search tools as the best strategy for continuing growth in online advertising, and the subject has become sufficiently important enough to merit a special Search Engine Strategies Conference devoted to the subject tomorrow in Denver. The importance of Local Search is further underscored by stats issued in a press release today by comScore, showing that Local Search continues to gain in marketshare.

So, how exactly could one optimize towards Local Search?

Read on and I’ll outline a few key tips.
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Print Yellow Pages Vs. Online Yellow Pages / Local Search

I was noticing that Paul Haahr, an engineer I met at Google Dance last September, mentioned on his blog in January that he doesn’t like traditional print yellow pages. He consideres them to be something of a dinosaur, and his attitude is clearly communicated by his habit of leaving them to be turned into a pile of gray sludge by the rain on his doorstep when they’re delivered to his neighborhood. (I’m okay with him neglecting his directory in this way, since it’s an AT&T phone book.)

As a longtime employee of Verizon’s yellow pages directory company, I probably should act completely horrified at Paul’s disparagement of the well-established printed books, but I have to agree with his take on the matter. Print yellow pages don’t give me all the info I’m wanting any more, and the book has become something of an annoyance. It takes up space in my house, and it seems like the new replacement is always showing up about the time that I’ve only just gotten around to shelving the previous one. Online yellow pages and internet search sites have given me everything that I need.

Paul’s take on the matter is so amusing to me because it strikes a resonance with my own feelings about the whole thing. It’s a bit ironic to me (and it feels slightly disloyal!), because when I started at SuperPages nine years ago, I couldn’t really conceive of throwing away my phone books. Back then, we almost couldn’t imagine people choosing to use our online YP, because it was faster to look stuff up in the books rather than trying to use our online service!

But, stuff’s changed a whole lot. People have continuous and speedy connections to the internet, and our site responds back to queries a lot faster than in the old days. I can’t even hope to find everything I want in the print directory any more — it can’t tell me what theatre, store, restaurant, etc. is closest to my home or office. Since I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, I’d likely have to page through about 10 small city directories and perform distance interpolation on a map to figure out which businesses were closest to me! Fun (and geeky!) exercise, but I don’t have time for that.

Considering all this, why haven’t print yellow pages disappeared altogether? For that reason, why do merchants still spend significant amounts of their advertising budgets to have presence in the books? Are the printed books still a good business proposition? Surprisingly, they are indeed still worthwhile — read on and I’ll explain.

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