3 Ways Location Will Change SEO

    by Kipp Bodnar

    Date

    March 9, 2010 at 8:30 AM

    As South By South West my location Interactive approaches, social media applications across the web are revving up their development and marketing. This is the event that only a few years ago helped to propel Twitter into mass adoption. Leading up to this year's conference, location-based social networks seem to be generating the most buzz . Applications like Foursquare, Brightkite , Google Buzz, Yelp and Gowalla all have the goal of connecting people who are online to offline locations where they can meet old and buid new friendships. While these types of services may be the next big sector of social media growth, they will likely also have a significant impact on inbound marketing.

    Location-based social networks offer a new set of data for inbound marketers that will impact search engine optimization, customer relationship management and lead nurturing.

    Today let's focus on ways that location-based data may impact SEO

    3 Ways Location-Based Applications Will Change SEO

    1. Add Relevancy To Real-Time Search -- It has been reported that Google is working on taking its search technology real-time . User generated content from blogs and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are acting as catalysts for these changes. The problem is that Google's search engine has been built on showing you the most relevant result, NOT showing you the most relevant result at the exact second you search. Google is working to make real-time search more relevant and will likely use data from the social web as well as data from location-based applications to do this. If you are a Gmail user, you may be also using Google Buzz. Some of you may even be using Google Buzz on your iPhone and letting Google know where you are having your conversations. It is this type of location data that Google can pull from Buzz that will help Google make real-time search more relevant. These changes will impact how prospective customers find your business .

    2. Provides an Added Context for Social Search -- Late last year, Google introduced a new experiment called social search , which is the start of helping people discover information from others they are connected to online. Location provides valuable context for social search. Imagine you are planning a trip and researching hotels and restaurants and a search engine was able to give you results of places that your friends have been to and even rated.  This information can change the way many people make decisions because social search with location provides information and reviews from trusted sources instead of anonymous user reviews.

    3. Makes Mobile Screen More Important -- When people use location-based applications and social networks, they are likely using them mainly from mobile devices such as iPhones , BlackBerrys and other smart phones. As location-based technologies grow in popularity, they will continue to drive adoption and use of mobile devices. As more people use smart phones, mobile searches will increase, which will impact not only how search results are served but it also means potential customers will be looking at business web sites on mobile devices, some of which don't support flash.

    Marketing Takeaways for Location's Impact on SEO

    • Begin to examine and understand how location-based applications like Foursquare work and how your customers may use them. 
    • Connect with customers and prospects online in order to become a relevant part of their real-time and social search results. 
    • Set up a Google Profile and add your blog feed and social sites.
    • Audit the way business web properties are displayed on different mobile devices and check to make sure lead forms work.

    Do you use any location-based applications? If you use Foursquare, you may want to check out FourSquare Grader .

    Photo by: Chris Owens

     

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