Oh my, how the world of local search has changed over the past 16 months. Heck, how it’s changed over the past month! It used to be that by localizing your content, claiming your site, and scooping up local citations, small business owners put themselves in a good spot to achieve high visibility in the search results.
However, things have changed and they’ve gotten increasingly more complicated. As we approach 2011, I thought we’d take a look back at our 2009 post, Small Business SEO: How To Launch That Web site, to see what’s changed and what SMB owners need to know for the coming year.
Step 1: Do Everything We Already Told You
I know. In an ideal world, a rash of new things entering the fray would mean that others had been de-valued, allowing you to shift your focus. Unfortunately, that’s not so much the case here. Small business owners truly have their hands full in the new and improved world of local. And you can blame Google for that. What all of this means is that if you haven’t finished the list we created for you last April, well, it’s still waiting for you. And you’re late. Do localize your content, claim your listings and find places to earn citations that will help Google associate you with a particular area. However, once you’re finished, there’s more. So keep going.
Step 2: Claim Your Google Places Listing
In April 2010 the world of local changed forever. It’s when Google made its local intentions clear with the release of Google Places. Just as Google had always prided itself in organizing the world’s information, Google Places looked to organize the world’s businesses. To date, more than 50 million places have been created. If yours isn’t one of them, you’re behind. This is something you can’t ignore.
Step 3: Check In to the Other “Places”
Google Places isn’t the only new addition that small business owners should be aware of. There’s been a lot of activity by social sites to get in on the local craze and to create resources for small business owners. While the numbers aren’t necessarily here (yet) to make these a huge priority, I would encourage small business owners to at least set up a presence and look for any potential.
Step 4: Focus On Reviews
If traditional search is all about links, then local search is all about reviews – getting them, making sure they’re good ones, and acquiring them from a bunch of different sites. This, in itself, is nothing new. Small business owners have been aware of the importance of reviews since Yelp, CitySearch and TripAdvisor first became popular. However, in 2011 reviews are going to take on a whole new level of importance. Why? Well, again, we can blame Google.
You can read the entire article over on BusinessInsider.
If you are a small business owner and looking for on online marketing strategy please call Rhonda at 928-595-0847 for a free consultation.
If you have any questions please leave them in the comments of this post and I will be happy to answer them for you.
Here’s to your online business success in 2011!