SES Chicago: New Rules for Local Search

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I sat in on a breakout session this morning at SES Chicago entitled “Local 2.0: The Evolution of Local Search.” Gregg Stewart from TMP division 15miles moderated, with two local SEO experts presenting, David Rodecker or Relevant Ads and Curtis R. Curtis from SharksFly Marketing.

According to the speakers, many of the old rules of local SEO are changing, driven by a range of factors, including the emergence of social media and advances in geo-location.

Rodecker noted that the use of geo-modifiers in domain names, once rewarded, is increasingly a non-factor or even detrimental. This is largely due to advances in how search engines identify user location. Rodecker noted that in his work with clients, he has seen wide variation in ranking between those with and without a geomodifier. Often the pages best optimized for a category saw better results than those optimized for geography. This was not a welcome message to some SMBs in the room  that had gone well down the geo-modifier path.

Both speakers made it clear that local online marketers need to find a long-term solution to using call tracking numbers without undermining themselves from an SEO standpoint. The search world puts a premium on on consistency, and call tracking numbers undermine this with a different numbers in each of the various online ads an SMB places.

Rodecker recommended using images and javascript as workarounds for call tracking numbers. While Curtis agreed, he was quite adamant in asserting that “call tacking is one of the things you want to avoid.” Given that much of BIA/Kelsey’s data suggests SMBs place a premium value on calls as a leads source, this is a serious issue for local marketers.

The speakers were also clear that the local ecosystem is not all about Google anymore. Bing is an emerging local player, and Facebook is already a local juggernaut, with 2 million online businesses and climbing, a number that is fast approaching the estimated 4 million SMBs on Google. Add to this the emergence of location based services like 4 Square and Twitter and the local ecosystem looks more and more like a multi-headed monster.

The room this morning was packed, mostly with small businesses or agencies that represent them, and the messaging was directed to those having to grapple with the constantly moving goalpost that is local SEO.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. kristina finch

    Hey Charles,

    Thanks for the post- I facebooked it and Tweeted it. As always, very interesting blog. I think it’s very important to make SMB’s and small companies know that SEO may no longer be the rosetta stone to online success. There are so many avenues to take and it will constantly change- to stay with the times, we must not get fixated on one path alone, but we must be dedicated to several paths at all times.

  2. TiVi Mania

    I facebooked it and Tweeted it. As always, very interesting blog. I think it’s very important to make SMB’s and small companies know that SEO may no longer be the rosetta stone to online success. There are so many avenues to take and it will constantly change- to stay with the times, we must not get fixated on one path alone, but we must be dedicated to several paths at all times.

    Thank for share :)T

  3. TiVi Episode

    Great post, I facebooked it and Tweeted it. As always, very interesting blog. I think it’s very important to make SMB’s and small companies know that SEO may no longer be the rosetta stone to online success. There are so many avenues to take and it will constantly change- to stay with the times, we must not get fixated on one path alone, but we must be dedicated to several paths at all times :)

    Very useful for me

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