We are in the embryonic days of local search and it is confusing. Confusing to the small business person as Anita Campbell pointed out in her blog and confounding to experts as Bill Slawski pointed out in his piece on the idosyncracies of Google Map’s Local Search data. There are many who wonder if Google’s passive marketing is enough to drive the use of this “transformational” technology.
But in all of this confusion there is opportunity for the SEO specialist or small business marketing consultant or developer. In these early days, the firm specific knowledge that you build, understanding these technologies and helping clients leverage the local opportunity will provide you with a service that you will be able to profit from for the foreseeable future. The investment that you make in understanding the nuances of Local Search now will pay off many times over the next decade as you help your clients gain an advantage in their market.
Google and Yahoo are focused on the multi billion dollar local ad spend and their Local Search products are the thrust of that focus. Google is taking its mission to monetize â€œall the worldâ€™s informationâ€ to your neighborhood.
Monthly, perhaps even weekly we are seeing new hardware and software technologies that are pushing local data into the hands of consumers. If you just track Google’s developments (Google Local, SMS messaging, Google Earth, 520-FIND, Mobile Maps, Mobile G-mail) you see refinements in both sophistication and rapidly expanding hardware platforms for distribution of Local Data and an increase in the rate of release.
Our job now, as I see it, is to help small businesses take advantage of these technologies to reach their customers and to cut through the confusion. What do you think?