Recently, I have been talking about local Internet marketing and the rapid developments in the area. Well, as we start 2011, there is a strange sound in the local Internet marketing space—silence. There is a temporary lull in the frantic pace of change and innovation in the Google local search results. Whether you are a large retail chain or the Mom and Pop shop on Main Street, local is the new black and the rapid pace of innovation in local search can be too much for even industry pros to stay on top of. What is happening at the start of the new year, however, is actually great for the SMB crowd and the Internet marketing industry as well. It has actually been quiet. There hasn’t been a major change or something that makes everyone run around doing the “search marketing sky is falling” dance in this first week of the year. So what does one do with a rare moment of relative silence in this space?
Get caught up with all the recent events by updating your local presence. Here are the tasks should be on your short list for local search as we start 2011:
Verify your Google Place Page. Just verifying your Google Place Page doesn’t necessarily help with ranking, but it is an important step to utilizing other services that Google is offering. A business can also directly answer reviews about their business that were done in Google Maps if the have verified their page. That alone is worth the effort.
Take control of your online data. Most businesses are not aware of just how many places on the Internet have their business data (name, address, business classification and more). Check out services such as Universal Business Listing and Localeze.
Perform basic search optimization for your Web site. Fresh content, specific keyword focus, unique title tags with keywords and using H1 tags with keywords. These are the absolute basics and can do wonders on the local level.
Consider Google Tags. Tags are a new way to make your Place Page listing pop. Run promotions and get attention for just $25 a month (right now there is a 30 day free offer coming from Google).
Start following local Internet marketing blogs. Follow the Google LatLong blog and Google Mobile blog. Follow Mike Blumenthal’s blog about Google Maps. Stay on top of things.
This short list can be put into action pretty quickly. My suggestion is that you do it ASAP because before you know it there will be something that changes or is added to the equation. If you don’t take the time now you could fall further behind.
It’s time. It’s 2011. Local Internet marketing truly matters. Make sure your business benefits. If you don’t, your competition will gladly take the business you leave for them.
Image by Steve Wilhelm via Flickr
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