What Is Ahead For Online Marketers In 2011: Local Search

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The upcoming year is bound to be one that is full of challenges and opportunities for online marketers. To help our readers navigate throughout these treacherous waters, we asked some of our most popular contributors for their thoughts on what will be ahead throughout 2011 in a variety of different arenas — SEO, PPC, Conversion, Local Search, Email Marketing, and Social Media. Each week for the next six weeks, we will present their thoughts on one of each of those fields to help you get off on the right foot in the new year. Three weeks ago we read suggestions regarding Search Engine Optimization (SEO), two weeks ago the topic was Pay-Per-Click Marketing, last week’s topic was Website Conversion, and this week, we explore Local Search.

As we head into 2011, what will be important to pursue with local search?

Andrew Bernero of Relevancy Media — “Make sure your business locations are added to Google Tags and Places to help maximize exposure.”

Bill Slawski of SEOByTheSea – “The first step is recognizing that the focus of local search isn’t ranking web pages based upon locations, but rather businesses to locations. The three primary ranking factors in local search are (1) how relevant a business is to a query, (2) how prominent that business is within that location – focusing upon mentions of the business that include references to the location of that business (not links to the business website), and (3) the distance of a business to a center point on the map shown for a particular query.”

Guy Hill of DroidINDUSTRIES — “I think “local” is still a mysterious, vague concept. If it means “targeting” (at the state/city/zip level), fine. Beyond that, some local search advertising vehicles should be tested… but local means nothing to me on its own. Local is part of targeting, and that’s a part of good search marketing in particular.  If you’re marketing brick-n-motor local business, you might have different experiences. I mostly work with national/international clients … they make local sales, target local sales, but as a part of a comprehensive plan.”

Hallie Janssen of Anvil Media, Inc.

  • Mobile search will continue to dovetail with local, becoming increasingly important in 2011
  • Google Places will continue to expand both in usage and complexity, and optimizing Places listings should be a top priority
  • Constantly monitor reviews and encourage customers to review your property

Magnus Nilsson of BraveNewMe — “The combination of the engines giving local results higher prominence with the uptake of smart phones for mobile search is proving that physical outfits need to seriously consider their local SEO efforts in 2011. Sites should also be mobile friendly to capitalize on this traffic.”

Patrick Hare of Web.com Search Agency — “Aside from claiming local listings in Google and Bing, it will also be important to consider visibility on location-based apps and GPS listings. Many Internet Yellow Page (IYP) submission services are already touting their connections to GPS tools.”

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Watch for next week’s entry which covers what is ahead for online marketers in 2011 as far as email marketing is concerned.

About the Author

Frances Krug has worked in market research since graduating from UCLA with an MA and CPhil in Latin American history. As an editor and online content provider for the last 7 years, she currently is Associate Editor at iNET Interactive, where she also directs Search Marketing Standard's email marketing program.

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  1. Search engines are even starting to include local search profiles in their results pages. Profiles on local search sites like Yelp and Local.com can rank in addition to a company's actual website. And with consumer reviews playing such a huge roll, the more positive feedback in more places can only help a business.