Everyone’s buzzing about the new social media launch from Google dubbed “Google Buzz.” While millions of people are checking out the great new features it brings and new worlds of communication it has literally just opened up, all of us in the search engine optimization 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:
- Google is darn near synonymous with search, what I am saying is they control the gateway!
- Google Maps is by far the most used maps application on smart phones
- All Gmail accounts were automatically enrolled in Buzz
- Oh Yeah… and all new smart phone users that use Android automatically set up a Gmail account
I know you are thinking, they are devious geniuses… and I would have to agree!
With that said I don’t see Google Buzz taking over Facebook or Twitter in the near future in the social media realm but from a Local SEO perspective Google Buzz in the very near future will provide more Local SEO benefit than Facebook or Twitter will. I will clarify 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 (yesterday).
I have been “buzzin” since they launched Google Buzz yesterday. First jumping into it from Gmail I was seemingly unimpressed. It wasn’t until I jumped on from my mobile phone through the updated Google Maps application that my brain started reeling! You can set a layer in your Google Maps application that allows you to see all of the other people who are “buzzin” in your local area. Though this does bring up many privacy issues (that we are not going to discuss right now, but you can choose not to share publicly), it is really cool!
When you search for businesses in Google Maps and you go to their mobile place page there is now a button that says “Buzz about this place”. You can Buzz about a business you like, you don’t like, etc. This is an area where Google is leagues a head of Facebook or Twitter as people who are using Google Maps to search for local businesses will be able to see what other people are saying about this business, much like a review.
So how is this all going to affect local SEO? Good Question!
First let’s discuss what is already in place and then let’s speculate about possible next steps by Google. Deal? OK, so we already established that Google Buzz is built into Google Maps Mobile edition, that people can buzz about businesses and that other people can see theses posts on their mobile Google Map, so it is pretty obvious that we want as much positive buzz as possible, right? Makes sense. Also, if someone posts negative buzz about your business, you may want to reply to their post to help bring them back in and salvage whatever went wrong, this also will tell other people that see this Buzz that you are concerned about your customers and that this is most likely an isolated incident. Yes, if you thought you were avoiding social media, your not anymore!
Now, let’s speculate what a few next steps for Google might be. I was writing an article on the future of search and what is interesting to me is that what I was speculating would come about in the next 3 years is partially here with the launch of Google Buzz and much more will follow in 2010. But, back to our speculation… It seems obvious to me that standard Google Place Pages will soon incorporate the “Buzz about this business” feature (Feel free to share your thoughts below if you agree or disagree). I believe they will also have a section on the Google Place Page which says something akin to “What’s the Buzz about this Business” and lists public Buzzes about the business (Again think of these as reviews). 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.
My last speculation! I promise!
I have been participating in one of Google’s lab studies with Social Media & search, but haven’t been super impressed by it and actually stopped participating a little while ago. The premise was that search results would incorporate information from your friends on social networks in the search results, so your friends posts from Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, etc. What is all but obvious to me now, is that they were running that lab test to determine how to best serve Google Buzz results along with “the other” social media platforms in search results most effectively. So, I believe in the very near future we will start seeing this lab released as a full blow feature or at least one that can be selected to show local social information on what you are searching.