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Location-Based Search and the Future of SEO

  |  December 15, 2010   |  Comments

Catch up with the mobile consumer by carving out more digital and social "real estate."

The geo-social revolution, led by Facebook Places and Foursquare, has once again made search, and SEO with it, a location-based game. Geography has long been an important concern for search engines, as they began incorporating it into their ever-growing list of relevance factors some time ago. However, much like with all other aspects of the search world, the social media revolution has changed everything.

Where the search query location was important before, the focus has now shifted to the search user location. Increasingly, there is growing value in knowing your user's location in order to serve up the most relevant search results. Smartphones with GPS and Internet capability have made this possible and effectively made search mobile. Coupled with a social media and "apps" addiction, the search user is becoming increasingly reliant on their mobile device and as a consequence, mobile search.

As with everything, Google is intent on being a first-mover, demonstrating steps in this direction with Google Realtime. The latest and greatest feature of this social media search engine integrates geographic filtering to updates from the social media universe. Mobile search represents up to 10 percent of all Google searches and that number will only rise. Therefore, Google will increasingly be looking at geo-social factors to help determine rankings on the search engine results page (SERP).

For brands like ours, this means catching up with the mobile consumer by carving out increasingly more digital and social "real estate." By leveraging your location in Facebook Places, Foursquare, etc., and optimizing with keyword-rich descriptions, you stand to make gains on the SERP, where dynamic, social, and geographic factors are increasingly being incorporated.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Crispin Sheridan

Crispin Sheridan is the Senior Director, Global Search at SAP. As part of the digital team, he established and leads the search and testing practices at SAP. Crispin is responsible for paid, natural, and mobile search and all online testing. Search and testing at SAP are fully centralized and globally funded and run under a hybrid in-house and agency model.

Crispin has proven that search learnings and keyword insights work hand in hand with social media marketing and together can effectively drive B2B lead generation. Furthermore, the development of the SAP.com Test Lab has contributed significant success to SAP's digital marketing efforts.

A frequent guest speaker at conferences, including SES New York, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Delhi, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, Crispin was appointed to the SES Advisory Board in December 2009. He has also been a guest speaker at the e-Metrics Summit and ad:Tech, and is a member of Google's B2B Technology Council. You can follow him on Twitter at @crispinsheridan and read his monthly SEO column on ClickZ.

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