If you have a consumer business, you’re likely listed on Citysearch, IAC’s review site that lists 14.5 million businesses, 5.4 million of which are rated. But over the years it has gotten clogged with ads, hasn’t kept up with the social nature of competing review sites such as Yelp, and has focused more on owner and editor reviews than user reviews. Now all that is changing.
Citysearch, which feeds its content to partners such as Google, Yahoo!, AOL, MSN, Superpages, and more, has revamped its site and now focuses more on user content, includes a strong social element with Facebook Connect, and targets consumers at the neighborhood level. So what does that mean for your business?
More Local Opportunity
Focusing on neighborhoods instead of cities is one way your business can get more views on the new Citysearch. Instead of competing with a whole city’s worth of other businesses, you’ll have more of an opportunity to rise to the top of search results and featured business lists on your neighborhood’s home page. The local focus should also tailor your ad-buying options, letting you buy sponsored search results and other promotions for a more targeted demographic.
More Word-of-Mouth Advertising
Citysearch’s new social platform lets users log in with Facebook Connect, linking their Citysearch activity with their Facebook account. If users want, they can share their reviews on their Facebook news feed, letting all their friends know about the experience they had with your business.
Facebook Connect brings a new level of transparency to Citysearch. Facebook users tend to use their real names and information, whereas Citysearch has traditionally been filled with anonymous reviewers. By adding more accountability to reviewers, and letting you know exactly who is reviewing your business, reviewers may be more apt to write positive reviews, and you shouldn’t see as many problems with businesses trying to game the system with fake reviews. Furthermore, you should be able to better respond to reviews, both positive and negative. By seeing who on Facebook is reviewing your business, you may be able to gain some new fans for your business’s Facebook page.
More Balanced Reviews
The old Citysearch business profiles showed information from the owner, editor, and users, in that order. This lets businesses fill their page with information and promotions, rely on editor reviews, and push customer reviews nearly out of sight. The new profile shows this information side-by-side in a three-column format. Users can also vote customer reviews as helpful or unhelpful, bringing the best content to the top.
Citysearch has improved its search function, a core feature of the site’s utility. There currently aren’t sponsored results on the beta site, which clutter the old site, and the search results look much more inviting, including a photo and short description along with the business name, category, location, and rating. The results also show chains as one listing, noting the number of locations in your search area, helping tidy up your search and highlighting locations a user might not otherwise find.
As the new Citysearch evolves, there will likely be more features that can help customers find your business, review it, and share it with friends. There are also a slew of new mobile features being rolled out to help customers find you while they’re on the go.