One of the biggest shifts in the Search Engine World is happening in 2011. Google has significantly changed they way it presents results, giving the Local Results much more relevancy than ever before.
Not too long ago Google “leaked” the info that at least
20% of all the Searches that they process are related to Local Search
Meaning at least 20% of users are adding location to their searches. This is no surprise to me, an avid internet researcher, but it indicates that the shift is happening.
Every time, more and more people look for Google’s recommendation on local services. This opens opportunities for businesses of all sizes to increase their visibility and therefore their customer base even if they don’t have a website yet.
The most important Local SEO Assets which will bring you the most return on investment are:
- Local Search Engine Profiles: Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing Local
- Local Directories: Yelp, Citysearch, Superpages, MerchantCircle, and others.
- Paid Local Advertising: Google Adwords, Bing Adcenter.
- Location Based Social Networking Websites: Foursquare, Facebook Places (View a comprehensive list http://bdnooz.com/lbsn-location-based-social-networking-links/ )
- Local Coupons / Deals: Groupon.com, LivingSocial.com, Yipit.com, Slickdeals.net, Craigslist.org, etc.
Using these web properties will increase your business exposure, and a local marketing strategy that includes them will certainly increase the chances of its success.
The list above shows only a few examples websites per category, but a comprehensive list will definitely be much longer, which can make managing these assets a daunting task, but I am confident that a little organization can and will make it much easier to manage:
- Use a separate email address for your Social Presence Profiles: This is a must, especially if you have someone else managing your social profiles: in-house assistant, SEO firm, outsourcer, virtual assistant, intern, etc. I recommend creating a Gmail address for this task. I love the power of Gmail, it allows you to control your emails just as you like them: you can establish as many filters as you need, based on subject, from, etc. to as many emails as you want. The key here is to keep this SEO tasks in a business only email, so you don’t have to give a stranger access to your Google Docs, Email. Analytics, and so forth. You will be in control and not hostage. This is especially important as it relates to Google Places, which -as of right now- can only be associated with one email address.
- Keep all local profile information in a spreadsheet: By doing so, you will have everything you need in one place: I would recommend you create a Google Docs spreadsheet, as you could share it with anyone you need to, and it will only be available to you. The key in doing this is consistency: add every single detail you might need to reuse when creating / managing all of your local profiles.
This is for now. In upcoming blog posts, I will be giving some tips on using Gmail filters and how you can use it in an efficient and secure way to manage your local SEO Assets and your online marketing activities in general.