Diving into the Layers of Local Search
Is local search broken? Amanda DiSilvestro at Search Engine Watch thinks it is—but fortunately there are things you can do to fix it. In her article, “The Future of Local Search: 5 Layers of Local,” DiSilvestro says you must understand the importance of several critical issues (or layers) in order to have a successful local search strategy.
Data: The currency in local is a lot messier than the currency for SEO (backlinks). Name, Address, and Phone number, referred to as NAP, is the currency for local—and it can be confusing.
Takeaway: This information isn’t easy like it is when working with a URL, so NAP needs to be synced across all platforms and sites. Work on citation building and monitor your ratings and reviews. Check all of your business listings (Yahoo Local, Google Places, etc.) as well as distribution networks and make changes as needed to keep your NAP information consistent.
Algorithm: What consumers want when searching for a local business is proximity and relevance, but we’re not quite there when talking about the algorithm. They want a rich data experience, but today’s reality doesn’t really support that.
Takeaway: The future will be a lot more personalized than it is today. Today we’re putting out mass information, but tomorrow it will be customized better. Algorithm does vary by platform and device, so you need to put a greater focus on data and how you’re distributing your content and message.
Interface: Interface means understanding which devices your brand is being activated on, and you can’t take a one-size-fits-all solution.
Takeaway: It’s also important to realize that there are many different emerging technologies such as Google Glass and other wearables. Responsive web design is going to be incredibly important in the future as all of these different devices begin to grow in popularity.
Transaction: We’re seeing rapid growth in the adoption of self-service check outs and devices that help you check out a customer on a cell phone or tablet. With things like GoPayment, more businesses are starting to turn cell phones and iPads into cash registers.
Takeaway: New transaction methods give us the ability to improve customer service, become more efficient, and increase our ability to capture data. The better you can understand how these new methods of transaction work, the easier it will be to improve your local business.
Delivery: There isn’t much new in the way of delivery, but we’re getting smarter.
Takeaway: You should focus on street by street, and then neighborhood by neighborhood, not market by market. Use delivery as a differentiator in order to really win in the future.
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