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We knew it was coming sooner or later. Google has begun to allow users to upload video directly into the Local Business Center. Companies such as TurnHere and eLocalListing were already uploading this content for their SMB clients via direct partnership, but this essentially makes it possible for more firms to do it with less friction.

The LBC is a sort of low hanging fruit for local advertisers to get into Google’s index and update or improve Google’s basic listing data (add hours of operation, specialties, service area, etc.). This has lots of SEO benefits, particularly in light of the new Google Local 10 pack, which is a clear sign Google is favoring local results in its universal search evolution.

Of course, local intent has to be determined by Google before the 10 pack is served. But if 20 percent of searches are explicitly local (comScore), let’s say Google gets that same share, meaning 20 percent of its 5.8 billion monthly searches (1.16 billion searches) will get the 10 pack. So businesses that can optimize accordingly, using the LBC, can take advantage of this.

Video opens up this opportunity even further. In addition to local, video is increasingly favored by Google algorithms. The combination of the two in LBC offers powerful and free SEO capabilities to any small business. SEO aside, it’s yet another low barrier way for SMBs to advertise with video — a traditionally cost prohibitive but valued branding medium.

During our SES video session on Monday, eLocalListing’s Steve Espinosa showed the audience a few examples of this, which then received a considerable block of Q&A airtime from interested marketers. But with the larger universe of SMB advertisers (those that don’t attend shows like SES), awareness and willingness/ability to self provision is a real barrier to adoption (as it is with paid search).

As a result, this will mostly be utilized by SEO/SEM firms or video vendors that upload content to the LBC on behalf of small-business clients. Expect Yahoo! Local’s comparable listing product to do the same soon.

(Screenshot: Care of Mike Blumenthal’s blog)

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