(A guest post…) Local search is a chance for businesses to connect with their community and gain local prospects. As the foundations of local search remain vital- things such as local listings, local on-page SEO factors, etc.- new developments are beginning to emerge as many of the biggest players online – i.e. Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare – are now designing plans that will have a significant impact on local search.
At its recent Chirp conference, Twitter announced 3 new initiatives that could potentially change local search forever: Points of Interest, Promoted Tweets, and Annotations.
Points of Interest allow users to see tweets from or regarding a certain place, as Andrew puts it “twecking in”.
Promoted (paid) Tweets will appear at the top of the Twitter search results for certain searches.
Annotations allow developers to add arbitrary metadata to tweets.
The potential implications for each of these could run the gamut of “no consequence” to “game-changer”.
It seems that the Points of interest could be one of the most crucial. As Andrew points out, it seems natural that Twitter would have profile pages for local businesses that would correspond to the tweets about them. If there were, in fact, profile pages and these become indexable by the search engines, this could provide a great opportunity for local businesses to be involved in the community and conversation about themselves and their industry.
And, as real-time search comes in to play, these profiles could be shown with tweets- more visibility and real-time conversation. It doesn’t get more real than that.
If each of the mentioned initiatives takes shape as predicted, a slew of new opportunities could become available.
Along similar lines, applications like GoWalla and Foursquare are also gaining popularity and providing more areas for local businesses to create a presence and connect. Andrew Shotland also wrote about the increase in participation in these “check-in” sites and how it could affect local SEO.
Programs like Foursquare provide real, user generated info about local businesses. And in a world where customer reviews are prized and trusted, there is a lot to be gained by positive word-of-mouth about your business on these sites.
The implications for SEO are also on their way- the use of common terms to describe a place could become important keywords.
All of these opportunities work together to help small businesses gain visibility online effectively and work to grow their business. It will be vital to stay on top of the issues as the change and take advantage of every opportunity at your disposal. Get online, get more leads and grow your business.
Have any experiences with local search developments? Please share!
This is a guest post by Emily Thompson, the Online Marketing Coordinator for Kutenda Internet Marketing Software. Kutenda provides the tools, training, and resources small businesses need to grow their business online.