Optimizing Local Search

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Have you tried Googling for pizza in your town recently? If you frequent the organic rankings like yours truly, you’ve noticed that between paid advertisements and the local business results, the ‘true’ organic rankings are appearing beneath the fold (Which means they don’t exist right?). So, it looks like unless you’re Bazbeaux’s, (which I might add has the best pizza in town), it’s pretty tough going for you.

With the optimization of the local business results still being rather unclear, other than David Mihm’s guide, at what point do businesses try to buy their way to the top of the local business listings? Furthermore, with the decline of traditional PPC revenues, why doesn’t Google charge for this space? Don’t get me wrong there are best practices in local search, but it’s not as cut and dry as web SEO is.

I think small businesses trying to grow their operations through the internet are better suited focusing their efforts elsewhere. Yats, a hip, cajun, quick service joint with a couple locations around the city has made social media sexy for small businesses.

On Facebook Yats has been able to develop this online persona where people find it strange when Yat’s isn’t updating their status or letting them know when the next event is. They’re not slacking on their tweeting either.

(68 comments! All of their status updates are a call to action, and generally receive no less than 20 comments!)

(Almost two thousand followers isn’t too shabby!)

Moral of the story: play where you can compete. If you have beaten your head against the wall to make your business rank at the top the local business results for over 6 months, give up, focus your efforts elsewhere.

Having a strong social media presence that keeps your customers interested and excited in your business will bring a much higher ROI than being on page two of the local business results or the organic listings.

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