As you may recall last month’s (June) blog,,  launched my three-part series on Local Search by reviewing the impact of Reviews on local marketing. Now, July’s Blog discusses the local marketing impact of Social Media as we continue look for ‘a method in the search madness’.

Last month, I mentioned that search engines have changed their techniques so that they deliver more localized search results to users, especially those on mobile devices. Continually maximizing your Local Search options will help improve your business’ SEO performance.

While reviews and searches are elements of local marketing, Social Media is another.  Local marketing is all about local targeting and Social Media is all about local targeting.

A Nielsen study revealed that 85% of customers find local business information online. To find out about nearby businesses, customers also turn to their favorite Social Media tool. Also, consider that Social Media users are active consumers and creators of online content.

Social Media is one of the ranking factors known to be taken into consideration by search engines. Social Media is still growing in impact and importance, as people continue to create social accounts and post or repost everything they read. Social Media is a great tool and can help with lead generation, building relationships, or meeting industry thought leaders, and it is search engine ranking factor!

People trust word-of-mouth and recommendations from family and friends, which makes Social Media sites extremely valuable in local marketing efforts. Accessible ‘apps’- like Facebook, Foursquare and Yelp! – permit customers to quickly see what their Social connections and other customers have to say about a business.

Many business owners wince at the mere thought of having to use Social Media in order to improve search rankings (where their business shows up on an Internet search results page) for their website. However, it can be a great way to maximize your online visibility.

The new Graph Search feature from Facebook lets users search for businesses according to both location and friends’ recommendations. An example might be: “Restaurants in Portland my friends have been to” or “Bike shops in Portland my friends like.”

The search results are based on how many people within a searcher’s Social graph already “Like” a business, as well as how much activity a post generates. Grow your Social Media base with unique and engaging content to drive search results and attract more people to your business.

3 Ways that Social Media helps with rankings –

Although it can seem mystical to some, there is a method to the Social Media ‘madness’ in an online local marketing strategy. I’ve listed three easy ways that Social Media can support your local SEO and SMO (Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Optimization) efforts.

  1. Social Media sites have been proven to increase the speed at which new pages (new content) on a website are indexed. So be sure to post meaningful, unique information frequently and consistently.
  2. One of Google’s ranking factors considers the “freshness” of a topic. Reports show that Social Media sharing can trigger this “freshness” ranking factor and give you a temporary boost in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
  3. Social Media sites such as Facebook and Pinterest provide an easy way to share images and info-graphics. If you embed links into images, and they are shared from Social Media sites to blogs or other websites, you can gain natural back links (people or businesses that link back to your site).

There you go: Social Media broken down into three simple effects. Social Media is not a mysterious answer to online rankings, nor is it the only place to advertise online. I have met some business owners who believe they do not need a website since they are using Facebook – to them I would ask, do you remember MySpace? Social Media should not be the only marketing channel (tool) a business uses. Don’t limit your visibility or success – spread your efforts over the many channels available.

To have an effective web strategy, you can’t afford to ignore any of the local marketing tools. Check back in here next month as I wrap up this three-part blog series by covering the impact and importance of Content on local marketing.

Please share your thoughts or concerns on local marketing with us!

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