Location-Based Search and the Future of SEO

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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