2012 was a difficult year for many businesses who are still using old-school search engine optimization tactics. The "sawtooth" was in full effect, as Google algorithm updates Panda and Penguin attempted to clamp down on suspect SEO business practices. These algorithms are far from perfect; many undeserving websites were caught up in the crossfire, however, it has become clear that attempting to game the system is no longer worth the effort on any level.
When it comes to search engine optimization, honesty and trust is truly the best policy going forward.
1) Give something really huge away (trip to Hawaii, Napa Valley, 5 iPads or $1,000 in iTunes) or that's extra relevant to your consumer base (maybe it's a month of free rounds of golf), incentivizing a random drawing or the 5,000th follower on your Twitter or Facebook. Make sure to use a platform like Votigo to manage this legally and with precision — Make sure you have Ts & Cs and indemnification covered! You don't want to be paying shipping on an iPad to Germany.
Local Search Optimization (LSO) is the investment you make in the most precious real estate your business can occupy; the first page of search results.
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." - Leonardo da Vinci
Some of these strategies are basic. Some are advanced. Some are VERY advanced because they are so simple. It is hard for many of us to get back to basics to leverage the power and simplicity of the fundamental social network structure rather than relying on the sophisticated platform solutions that may exist to tie them together, causing automation and speed yes, but perhaps dehumanizing our engagement efforts to highly personalize. There is power in granularity and personalization. With the surge of social media evolution, people have become caught up in the cool widgets and technology for technology's sake mentality, often at the expense of the basic details. "The devil's in the details" as my mentor Kevin O'Connor, founder of DoubleClick, always likes to say.
Visually stunning infographics are cropping up at a record pace all across the internet, as Jeff Bullas highlights in an insightful recent post. We have gathered some fantastic ones on the topic of Local Search here to show our appreciation for the designers, so please visit the respective blogs provided at the links attributed to each below.
A Natural Evolution of Local Search
LSO is the natural evolution of SEO based marketing in response to an increasingly hyper-local world of online search, and while the Web 3.0 Social Local Mobile (SoLoMo) transition from the social Web 2.0 hasn't fully kicked in, with all its glittery futuristic mobile payments, QR codes and geofences magically triggering digital coupons, it is true that your customers are searching NOW more than ever before on the go from their mobile devices and are increasingly interested about places closer by, in a more immediate timetable and what customers, (NOT business owners) have to say about them. Local Search Optimization is about fostering digital trust, access and immediacy for your brand.
Citations, those all-important mentions of your business name and address on the web, are not all created equally. Instead of just racing to claim every listing and place your business NAP (name, address, and phone number) will be accepted, let's take a minute to understand what's happening with citations.
What are search portals and why are they so important to your business?
The online landscape has changed to a local focus. There are really only two primary search engines in 2012: Google and Bing as Yahoo is powered by Bing. (I'm going to give honorable mention to DuckDuckGo, (pure results minus ads), Blekko (a slashtag and trusted site-based search engine) and WolframAlpha (a wicked computational answer engine) to be fair here as these are awesome search resources too). Because there are only two majors and there are so many second tier directories, aggregators, databases, social networks and Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), it all becomes one big jumble for our local search optimization efforts. So this term is something we coined to simplify it for you. Let's just define it this way. Search portals are the best places "you want your business to be on the internet."