I found this article and thought I would share. What do you think of the changes that Google has been making?
"Google has been very busy in recent months rolling out new features and updates that all show a renewed focus on search discovery for small businesses. And Alex Hawkinson, the GM and SVP of ReachCast here at ReachLocal, has done a great job shedding insight on what these changes mean – and what small businesses need to do about them – over on the ReachCast blog last week in a series of posts called Keeping Up with Google.
In Part 1: The Rapidly Changing World of Search Discovery for Small Businesses, he begins with a detailed analysis of Google Place Search: “a complete overhaul of the interface and presentation of any search results that Google deems to be ‘local’ and related to consumers trying to find businesses.” With a new layout, a new emphasis on organic ranking, and “hub pages” that aggregate info from third party sites around the Web, Alex makes a clear point that “any small business that doesn’t have an extended and up-to-date web presence including a Place Page will be at a substantial disadvantage.”
But that’s just the beginning. There are even more Google updates small businesses definitely need to be aware of, including: Tags, Google Instant, Instant Previews, HotPot, organic ranking algorithm revisions, and Boost.
The theme and momentum of all these updates in a specific direction is quite clear, according to Alex:
“Marissa Mayer, the long-term leader of the search business at Google, shifted in mid-October into a new role overseeing Google’s local products. There has been a lot of speculation about what this means, but the conclusion is pretty straightforward when seen in conjunction with the monumental changes outlined in this post: geo/local is a massive opportunity that has not yet been fully tapped.”
So what will you need to do to position your small business for success with all these new updates? In Part 2: 4 Critical Things Small Businesses Should Do to Keep Up with the Changes, Alex stresses the importance of ranking organically on the search engines, which requires a strong dynamic web presence. And with an increasingly bright spotlight on social media, the way you handle customer service – online and off – matters even more."
Angela Epley writes about online advertising, web presence, and digital retention for the ReachLocal blog, which focuses on small business online marketing strategies.