In reading on a lot of trends about Local SEO and the changes that Google is doing and what the other engines are doing to improve local search, I keep waiting for the big “click” of resonance to happen in the marketing, but I’m not seeing it yet.
For those of you who remember when a day before “blog” was a newfangled term and “twitter” didn’t even exist yet, the year 2000 was a huge buzz year for the death of local businesses finally hit the media. Suddenly, consumers were given two options:
1. Go to a store or
2. Leisurely search for the item you want and have it shipped to you
I remember little news packages where they tried to incite people to rise up against Internet commerce with “Can the local mall survive?” and “Brick & Mortar stores obsolete? what does this mean for local economies everywhere?” For myself, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy because it intrigued me enough to stop working on multimedia CD-ROMs. I fired up my dial-up connection and did my Christmas shopping from my office chair. The future was here!
That was 2000. The following years started to be less glossy as more copy-cat “e-tailers” came onto the scene. Competition is a good thing but it turned out not to be the best thing. Remember Froogle? Launched as a product comparison project for Google in 2002, it seemed a no-brainer. However, Froogle never left beta and actually got dumped.
Why? The underestimation of the power of desperate people wanting to gain a money online. Read this as a peak into the sheer determination people will go to defraud a system to gain something – anything – no matter the cost. To sum up, the exploitation of shopbots, phishing sites and bogus items brought the trust of the system to a lurching gate. Froogle also piped in eBay listings thereby bringing all of e-bays woes into froogle’s lap and increasing the problem
for honest sellers and buyers alike. A simple idea to cash-in legally by sitting on a load of Tickle-Me Elmo dolls can turn really ugly and a lot of finger pointing can happen. So this hullabaloo happens enough times to enough people and an opportunity for reputable eCommerce sites seize an opportunity while the attitude to eCommerce changes ever so slightly.
So where does that leave us?
1. A handful of widely known and branded eCommerce websites.
2. Large Retailers with eCommerce options.
3. Local SEO
Relevant Searches mean “finding you stuff where you are right now in life.” If you live in Toldeo and desire a certain product, Local SEO will bring the product that is in a Toledo store up on a search result before the same product that is in a warehouse in Miami.
Basically, we are continually being conditioned to “want it now” and the value of time over the value of a shipping charge has tipped. Now the possibility of finding your desired item is 6 minutes away, not 2-3 days away (4-5, it’s over a weekend.)