Wow … Welcome to 2014 !
So what do I think is going to occur in the world of Local Search in 2014 ? The list is large but here are just a few of the things I think you need to watch out for in 2014.
- Local Search results becoming even more integrated with the main search results. We are already seeing that many searches are producing a majority of local search results. You may not even notice this when you search in Google however where you search from is affecting your results. Even in locations that seem to be fairly close, if I search for something here on the Central Coast and run the same search in Sydney the results can be dramatically different even if the search itself doesn’t have a local modifier ( place-name usually).
- Bing Local Search Results will become more accurate than they have been in the past. In Australia we can now add local businesses to Bing search results.
- FB Graph Search will become more widely used in Australia but will not rival Google.
- Google+ will become much more popular with local businesses. With tools like Google Hangouts being easy to use and an easy way to interact with customers I’m sure it’s popularity will skyrocket in 2014. There are just so many ways businesses can use the free tool, they could use it for customer service and educating existing customers, as well as conducting hangouts with potential customers to showcase the businesses product or service.
- Then there are Google+ new tools like Google Help released in November. A great tool for businesses to conduct help workshops or Q&A help sessions either paid or free. Imagine a plumber being able to give a help session about fixing a tap and answer individual questions in real time and charging for this without even having to leave her home. Or a music teacher giving music lessons on-line in real time to anyone anywhere in the world. It makes their student pool and therefore their earning potential a hell of a lot bigger. Using these tools can also help search engine rankings of the business connected to them.
Ok they are just a few of the things you should watch out for in 2014 but there are so many more things to come – the new Google Places Dashboard, making easier integration with Google+ profiles must make it to Australia this year ! (please Google please).