Everyone in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) worlds are talking about the new social media service…
While everyone is checking out its cool features and new worlds of communication it has literally just opened up, all of us in the SEO profession are asking:
“How will it affect local SEO?”
Let me first point out a few all but obvious strategic advantages Google Buzz has over its competition:
A.) Google basically is “search”. Google is the 800 pound gorilla, the cage he is sitting in and the whole damn zoo too. They are “it”. No one can touch them.
B.) Google Maps is by far the most used maps application on smart phones and desktop
C.) All Gmail accounts were automatically enrolled in Buzz
D.) All new smart phone users that use Android automatically set up a Gmail account
Now, I’m not saying that Google Buzz will take over Facebook or Twitter in the near future as a social media destination (it won’t), but from a local SEO perspective…Google Buzz in the very near future will provide more Local SEO benefit than Facebook or Twitter ever will.
I’ll break down the prior statement in just a second, but first I want to share some of my experiences so far to help you get an idea on how Google Buzz may impact your company’s brand and online presence in the near future..and how you can leverage it.
I tried Google Buzz shortly after they launched it. First jumping into it from Gmail I wasn’t really impressed at all.
Now if you are on the Android or iPhone (sorry Crackberry addicts like this ol’ Texas-boy have gotta wait) you get some REALLY slick features. Remember, that even if you are not attached to your mobile phone 24/7 (like the all those 20-something girls with their tiny fingers that can text about 80 words a minute and always seem to be on their phone…and those 30-something business men on that are checking email constantly) there are a lot of your customers that are…and that number is growing every day.
For the Android and iPhone users, you can set a layer in your Google Maps application that allows you to see all of the other people who are “buzzin” in the local area of your business. Imagine being able to see who is the area of your business, and possibly being able to connect with them in real time.
Because one of my long term clients, Rory Fatt, is the go-to-guy for restaurant marketing, I’ll use a restaurant as an example.
Let’s say you own a pizza restaurant…and in close proximity is a movie theater or shopping mall. You can track all the people using Google Buzz that are watching the movie or shopping at the mall in real time.
Request a connection with them, and offer them a “Free Appetizer” after the show or when they’re done shopping. How cool is that?
They can also leave “buzz” about your restaurant on your Local Business Profile’s mobile page. Basically a review that other people using Google Buzz can see.
This is an area where Google can CRUSH Facebook and Twitter, as the people who are already using Google Maps to search for local businesses will be able to see what other people are saying about the business (aka YOUR business), much like a review. You need to be on there to control the conversation as much as possible.
Ok, Brian…so what does this have to do with local SEO?
I’m gettin’ to it…
First let’s discuss what is already in place and then let’s speculate about possible next steps by Google.
I already covered that Google Buzz is built into Google Maps Mobile edition, that people can buzz about your business and that other people can see theses posts on their mobile Google Map, so it is pretty obvious (or just “obvi” as the cool kids say 😉 ) that you want as much positive buzz as possible about your business.
Also, if someone posts negative buzz about your business, you want to reply to their post to help bring them back in and save the customer. This also will tell other people that see this Buzz that you are concerned about your customers, you resolve complaints and that you are “social media cool”.
Yes, if you thought you were avoiding social media, this is reason #2743 to get involved…and get involved fast.
Now, let’s speculate what a few next steps for Google might be.
It seems obvious to me that standard Local Business Profile Pages will soon incorporate the “Buzz about this business” feature. They’ll probably will also have a section on the Local Business Profile Pages which says something akin to “What’s the Buzz about this Business” and lists public Buzzes about the business.
I would also think that Google would want to add a layer in their desktop Google Maps which allows Buzz users to add that same layer.
All this increased interaction will likely improve your ranking, as Google sees that your business is more actively engaged with your customers and your Local Business Profile will have updated content added on a regular basis.
I’m guessing that unless you have a Gmail account you probably haven’t even looked at this yet…but I encourage you to check it out if you have an iPhone or Android. Very cool stuff is on the horizon for local businesses. Get a jump on your competition…or at least keep track of what people are saying about you and your business.
Thanks to Kevin Getch and his post Google Buzz: How Will It Affect Local SEO for contributions to the post.