SEO

Growth and Development of Google’s Local Search

On day one of SMX West in Santa Clara, I will be speaking on Local Search and Blended Results. While that panel will be focused on the generation and optimization of local search listings — I have a much broader knowledge of the local search products offered from Google. Owing Google some love, this is a more forward looking view of Google’s Local Search offering.

I’ve covered Google Local here on Search Engine Journal in the past — and if you need a primer on that product, I would certainly recommend reviewing that post.

Google’s Local Business Center (or “Google Local”) represents a wonderful opportunity for any business to market themselves.

And — as the leader in providing search results, Google is in the most powerful position to control the emerging local search landscape. Despite being highly critical of Google in the past, even I have to admit there’s a lot of good things about Google Local.

With this as our base, let’s take a dive into Google Local and explore what the future of Local Search looks like!

Truly Verified Listings?
One of the major problems in Google today is the abundance of duplicate or out of date listings. Kudos to them on being as aggressive as they have in mining data and making it available to users out there looking for this information.

While inaccurate information may hinder those conducting searches, I cannot help but think that 1-800-GOOG-411 helps here too. The more people use and understand these services, the better off the product will become. With that, the more the index will be cleaned up — and it’s really a win-win with both Google and their users (and business owners too!)

Integrated Local Search Ads
Paid local search opportunities are abundant, especially since it’s an area that too few advertisers leverage. While I have never been a paid search expert, it’s clear to me just how important local ads are — when they’re relevant.

Looking forward, local ads will be driven to become more relevant and more accepted. People love interactivity, and you’ve got to admit — maps are pretty cool when they’re there unexpectedly.

Social Involvement
In the spirit of giving credit where it’s due, Yahoo’s Local results are an amazing thing.

They tie local search, in depth reviews and personal profiles together with ease — and the result is a wonderful blended experience that is both engaging and seamless at the same time.

This is where Google is slacking most to me, but that can be easily replaced. They need a strong social networking environment to first compete in this area — and that’s where I would expect the major movements to be.

They’ve already blown OneBox results out to 10 listings — and they’re certainly monetizing local search. It’d only be fair to now get people more actively involved.

If you’re interested in learning more about local search, then please join me next week at SMX West. I’ll be speaking on the panel covering Local Search and Blended Results on Tuesday Feb. 26.

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