Back in the ‘Good Old Days’ (that’s about 5 or 6 years ago in internet terms!) Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) was a pretty simple straightforward business:
- You created a nice looking website, posted some content about your business to the pages and added a few descriptive images
- Paid an SEO Guru a few bob to add some ‘killer keywords’ to the meta tags and that was about it!
Then life became a bit more difficult – people wanted to see websites which had good quality content that was actually relevant to what they had searched for and added value to them. Search Engines became more and more important to the success of your website – if your site wasn’t on page 1 of the search results you might as well not have it at all! So the quest was on to win favour with the search engines.
Even after you had squeezed every last bit of value for your customers from your own web page content more was required. It became important for other like minded websites to link to your site because this was viewed by the search engines as a recommendation or a referral for your website. Eventually Google and the other search engines would see that your content was excellent, relevant and informative and that you have many links to your site from other websites. They would reward you by moving you up their search results pages and you begin to see more visitors coming to your site from the search engines.
The above is still a good basic SEO strategy for many national and international businesses. However for those Surrey & Sussex businesses who provide products and services purely to local customers an enquiry through the search engines from a prospect in Aberdeen may not be that exciting. This is where Local SEO strategy is important.
Google Places is the newest variable that significantly affects the ranking of a local business search result. ‘Places’ is Google’s free directory listing for every company in the world. It used to (and still does sometimes) appear with an assortment of other companies for a certain area for which the search was relevant.
Back in October of 2010, Google introduced a “blended” search result for most searches they perceive to have local business intent. The use of a blended search is intermittent, depending on the industry and the geography, but is slowly becoming more and more prevalent. Eventually it is likely to become universal.
Local Search is much more complex that simply having a Google Places Page for your business however.
In our next post we will be looking at the factors necessary for a successful local search strategy. Don’t miss it.