I Think Yahoo Neighbors Could Be Huge

Filed in Local Search, Yahoo by Matt McGee on September 8, 2009 9 Comments

yahoo-neighborsAnother collision of local search and social conversation: It’s called Yahoo Neighbors, and I think it has the potential to be really big and really important in the local/small business space. That link points to my fairly lengthy overview on Search Engine Land.

Yahoo Neighbors is essentially a forum or message board for every town in the USA. It’s an opportunity to add a layer of conversation to any local search someone does on Yahoo. In a sense, it brings some of the conversational aspects of Twitter and Facebook and adds them to local search results (but obviously not as fresh/real-time as Twitter is).

I write about marketing on Yahoo Answers pretty regularly, and about the exposure opportunities that exist there for small/local businesses … but, in reality, Yahoo Answers offers very little for, say, a local business here in the Tri-Cities that only serves the Tri-Cities. There’s no “Tri-Cities, Wash.” category on Yahoo Answers. I’d be hard-pressed to come up with a reason for a local restaurant owner, real estate agent, or bike store owner to devote time to Yahoo Answers.

But Yahoo Neighbors is a no-brainer for folks like that, for all the same reasons Yahoo Answers is a no-brainer for other small/local businesses:

  • Exposure/mind-share/familiarity
  • Reputation management
  • Creating authority status in the community
  • SEO

I think that last point could be especially powerful. As I said in the SEL article, Yahoo Neighbors is obviously built with SEO in mind and there’s no reason to think these local conversations won’t rank very highly in the SERPs. They will. And those conversation pages will have a lot of local, long-tail phrases — most of which are very easy to rank for, especially in smaller cities.

I also like how the RSS feeds and email updates on Yahoo Neighbors can serve as simple reputation management tools. That restaurant owner I mentioned earlier should sign up for the RSS feed of the “Restaurants & Night Life” category in his/her town.

Add it all up, and I think Yahoo Neighbors could be huge … but it’ll take a while to catch on in areas like mine, with smaller population bases. And I can’t help but wonder if Yahoo has the patience for it to succeed in small town America.

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  1. David Mihm says:

    Agreed, this seems like a terrific social media vehicle for SMB’s, especially those who don’t have the time or the inclination to try to understand Twitter…although both would be better than one or the other, of course 🙂

  2. Donny Gamble says:

    Yahoo Neighbors is going to be big, it will just take sometime for this to happen. Partnering with Microsoft will help create new opportunities for both companies because I believe that they will help promote each others products and services

  3. Tim Conley says:

    One complaint I get from my clients is that they don’t have time for all the cool stuff they should be doing. What advice do you have to persuade SMBs to adopt new services such as Yahoo Neighbors?

    I would be happy if they would just start collecting testimonials to put into their Google Local Listing.


  4. Great idea, I see massive potential for this.

  5. Dan Connolly says:

    Thanks for this. For some reason I have ignored Yahoo as a resource. I guess I need to pay more attention to them.

  6. chris o. says:

    I often write about localization in our small business blog.

    I think we’re likely to see a paradigm shift on the net in the coming years; one that fuses the technological advantage of the net, with the intimacy of localization.

  7. Another great little way to market yourself. Yahoo answers has worked great for myself locating local customers.

  8. Oscar Medina says:

    An excellent article. Yahoo has been consistently providing better search results than the big G for some time now. I have Yahoo set as my homepage and more and more of my customers are doing the same. From time to time a post on Yahoo Answers draws my attention and I believe it is doing the same for others.

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