Believe it or not, a number one listing on Google doesn’t have the same effect as it did only a few short years ago. There are a couple of reasons for this including social media’s growing influence on search results, real-time results and even the ability of the search engines to change their results based on your past behaviors.
Depending on who is searching you may now show up first, fifth or worse yet you may not even be found. The results are now so personalized that they take into account things like where you are searching from, what’s currently happening in the news and even what websites you’ve visited in the past. And with the launch of Google Plus, Google’s new Social Network, expect social media to influence search results even more in the coming months.
There are so many things that are now affecting the search algorithms that simply looking at your current position doesn’t really tell you much.
So what can you do?
Instead of spending all your time focusing on keywords, backlinks and what tricks may or may not be working this week, it’s time to look at your overall online marketing strategy. Now, this doesn’t mean ignoring what works, it just means you need to start marketing smarter.
The future of search is going to be highly personalized. Search engine results will increasingly rely on metrics like the user behaviors, locality, and even your social networks will start to influence the results.
While this may sound a little overwhelming, I think it’s actually good news for smaller local businesses. Because search is starting to become more localized, I think local companies finally have a real chance of competing with their larger counterparts. But there are a couple of things that you need to start focusing on.
First, I would start to invest in local search.
By competing locally, and targeting higher converting keywords you now have a real chance of beating out the big guys and obtaining that elusive number one spot. By focusing on local search, you can take a high-value keyword like “shoes” and have a fairly good chance of dominating that results page.
Second, it’s time to look at your social media strategy.
For the last couple of years, the major search engines have all started to look at how they can use social media to influence their search results. From looking at what’s trending to looking at who is in your social circles and what they’re talking about, search results are becoming social in nature.
With this in mind, you need to have a solid localized social media strategy.
Third, Stop worrying about the search engines.
Yes, you need to invest in search, but if you do a good job with your overall online marketing strategy, the search engines will find you. By focusing on your message, targeting the right prospects and developing your overall online presence, you will start to see some real, measurable results.