Just how big is the Internet? According to WorldWideWebSize.com, there are about 1.7 billion indexed webpages as of April 2014 alone. Despite this staggering size, the Internet is not a mere jumble of random data—far from it. For people the world over, it is a vital source of information, whether they are keeping up with the latest news headlines or looking up screening times at a cinema.
To find the information they need, however, almost all Internet users utilize search engines like Google. In much the same way that Google updates its algorithms, the way people use search engines has also changed over the years. As this article from Forbes.com points out, more and more people are using search engines to find local businesses in their area:
“The Google Places Stats and Facts page says that “20% of searches on Google are related to location.” According to comScore, 56% of mobile phone users use their browser for local searches, raising the importance still further for small and local businesses to establish themselves online.
There are about 250,000 new claimed listings on Google a month (Mike Blumenthal’s 2011 estimate), and the implications are tremendous. The need for your business to have Google & Bing optimized business listings is vital for your success in 2014.”
Timothy Eng, a veteran Perth marketing consultant, says that local search is still a burgeoning field and will see many developments in 2014 as it becomes an integral part of search queries. Below are just a few of the trends he expects to arise this year:
A New Major Player
There are currently four main aggregators and providers of local business data: Neustar, Infogroup, Acxiom and Factual. However, experts like David Mihm predict that location-sharing platform Foursquare will soon become a fifth major player as it already provides local data to big companies such as Pinterest, Instagram and Uber.
Ratings and Review Matter Even More
When Google launched City Experts (a group of trusted local reviewers) last year, the search giant demonstrated its efforts to ramp up local ratings and reviews. Moving forward, Google will continue to gather such data from local consumers to help others decide if they should do business with a certain company or not.
More Consumer-Oriented Platforms
As local search matures, expect to see more platforms that cater to consumers specifically, such as Dimmi (for restaurant reservations) and goCatch (for hailing taxis). Naturally, these social media sites or mobile applications incorporate both local data and reviews to guide other would-be consumers. Hence, it is important to hire a social media marketing Perth like West Point Media that can establish your presence on these customer-oriented platforms.
(Source: The 5 Top SEO And Online Marketing Trends For 2014, Forbes.com, December 21, 2013)