Originally published on Technorati
SEO’s aim has traditionally been to cultivate a global Internet audience anytime, anywhere. However, Facebook’s recent initiative to improve its local search capabilities – partly in response to Google+ Local – shows the re-emergence of localized directories as a way to connect businesses with a targeted niche within their communities.
YouTube has a similar approach to local, in which viewers can select which country version of YouTube they want to watch. This localized approach appears to be widespread on social media sites such as YouTube.
An April 2013 editorial by Brafton observed that Facebook’s Local Search app “clearly indicates that local businesses can be found through the feature. Today, the local search tool helps Facebook members find business recommendations based [on] geographic boundaries, specific queries and social referrals.”
The emphasis on local has created service adaptations from solutions providers based on the evolving “voice of the customer”. Some, such as Texas-based BizVizable, are focusing exclusively on local SEO as a niche. The company also provides related services such as web design, pay per click (PPC) services, social media advisory, reputation management, and reporting analytics.
On March 20, the company’s blog stated, “Many websites are now focusing on local SEO and optimizing their website to rank high in the SERPs for local keyword phrases . . . . [There] is usually little competition for local keyword phrases in different niches, yet these same phrases can provide massive amounts of targeted traffic locally.”
The explosion of internet marketing in recent years has also led to business opportunities for entrepreneurs. B2B and B2C digital marketing is increasing by 10 percent each year. Many techies, in the tradition of craftsmen from the Industrial Age, purchase professionalized software and other online tools which are then used to provide consulting or outsourced services to corporate clients.
Google and Facebook are two of the most popular websites on the Internet, followed by Google-owned YouTube. It’s no coincidence that all three have been incorporating localized search technologies that enable users to find relevant places near their own communities.
Local search results are filling a void created when people stopped using the mammoth, paper-based Yellow Pages directories that were popular prior to Google’s dominance as a search engine.
In 2013, Search Engine Journal provided the following caution to businesses who are thinking of purchasing local SEO services. “Local SEO is probably one of the toughest on-line marketing strategies to implement.” The SEO advisory site added, “This is partly because of Google’s strict local algorithm” where link building is merely one of several factors in determining SERPS.
In this age of mobile platforms, local SEO could make or break a mom-and-pop shop, especially those not located near prime, high-traffic real estate. Despite the challenges these businesses face in ranking high on local web directories, market forces are mandating small businesses to obtain street credibility within their own communities. At least Google and Facebook are saying so, and we assume these two giants are pretty darn good at listening to their users.