As I’ve mentioned before, there is always something new to learn about getting found on the internet. I stumbled across this article discussing the future of search engine optimization on a local level. You should read the original article here: Looking Ahead: What’s Next In The Evolution Of Local Search?.
Allow me to sum up Eric Enge’s excellent points about how searching for local stuff is changing and may change in the near future:
- Google is recognizing the importance of local search results. So much so that they are putting the map for these results above their advertising. (Now you KNOW it must be important for that!)
- It is increasingly important for local businesses to be aware of the fact that their customers are looking for them online and that Google is going to give them some answers. If you’re not in the game, you can’t win.
- Social Media is playing an increasingly important role in search results. My experiment moments ago showed that I could actually sort out only social media mentions of my search terms. (Note: It actually didn’t work really, but if Google put that sorting feature in there, I’m assuming they plan to make it do SOMETHING.) So if someone is looking to see what people are saying about your business to all their friends, they can probably find it there too.
- Mobile searching is a growing trend – yet another reason for the burrito shop to be online so when a hungry horde of young people are searching for munchies, their shop will show up and get that business.
Great points about local searching. RelyLocal is never going to replace Google. (Gasp!) No, the goal of RelyLocal is to provide a conveniently searchable directory of locally-owned and independent businesses in the Victor Valley so that local consumers can go straight there, find what they need and feel great about building the local economy.
That doesn’t mean RelyLocal isn’t focused on search results. The listings themselves are searched and indexed by Google and are designed to be found by local searchers. And the social media promotion on Facebook, Twitter and WordPress creates hundreds of links for local businesses, all of which Google is taking notice of. We also encourage all businesses to use whatever free listings they can and make sure the info that is out is correct, as suggested by the author.
Interestingly, I have had a couple conversations with members and (hopefully) soon-to-be members about some of these other sites. One literally had been trying for years to get an incorrect phone number changed and another had an incorrect address on her PAID listing with another directory. (Not to toot our own horn, but this is one of the benefits of using a service where the business owner lives in your town and has to keep you happy in case she runs into you at the grocery store. Ok, toot toot!)
I think the most important thing that this article stated though was this:
To build a sustainable local business, you have to start with the very basics: produce good stuff and promote it well. This will benefit you in many ways. It will produce links. It will produce reviews, and good ones at that. It will create mentions in social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. This is simply a must.
Face it, marketing won’t compensate for poor customer service, bad products or out-of-touch pricing. No amount of clever SEO tactics will have customers returning and telling their friends. You have to start with a solid product, service or experience. But when you get that right, you will find that your efforts are rewarded.
Curious about how RelyLocal is working hard for locally owned businesses? Check out our website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, or even pick up one of those old fashioned phone things and give us a ring!