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2011 was one of the biggest years of noticable change for Google search in 13 years.
First it was the Farmer update, then the Panda update, and the most recent Freshness update.
On top of the major updates, Google continues to make numerous tweaks to Google Places and Adwords which is keeping Internet Marketers on our toes.
Winners in 2011: Local Businesses with well optimized Google Places Listing, well optimized website, and a content marketing blog.
Losers in 2011: Large national websites doing business locally, large information websites using duplicate content and relying on 3rd party content, 3rd party lead providers, poorly optimized local business websites, poorly optimized local business Google Place pages.
As 2011 comes to a close, Google has released an interesting video, where in just 6 minutes they cover the evolution of search. They basically explain the evolution of Google's core search product from its revolutionary PageRank algorithm to its latest movements towards real-time, local, and social search results. It is an interesting timeline of the major changes to Google search.
Is Your Car Dealership Ready for Local SEO in 2012?
The video below by Google called "The Evolution of Search" gives an overview of how far search has come over the past 15 years and gives you a strong indication as to where Google is headed. If you are Car Dealer trying to increase market share online, you should take a few minutes and watch this interesting video.
Regardless of what phase in the buying cycle a person is in, there is a set of specific keywords that will be placed in the Google seach bar to find the info they need.
What changes is how Google determines who will show up on page one for a specific keyword phrase!
It really quite simple... the more keywords you rank for, the more traffic you receive!
The buying phase they are in will influence the keywords and types of searches they will perform.
Every SEO strategy starts with targeting your primary keywords. However, there are also hundreds of additional keywords that receive traffic. Searchers are not robots and will not type in the same keywords for every need.
Example: Searcher A may be looking for the exact same thing as Searcher B but will type in a completely different search phrase during their search. Your ability to target multiple keywords will enable you to reach both of these searchers.
Some keywords searches bring up videos and images, and news results on page 1 of Google. Targeting these keywords with a video or image can result in a major increase in traffic.
Using SEO on videos and images can give you an edge over your competition. You just have to find the keyword phrases that trigger a Universal search vertical and go after it!
Google thinks Universal Search is an important part of search and you should also!
The new changes at Google have increased the need for Car Dealers to look at a content marketing blog as a way to provide more relevant and fresh content to Internet searchers.
Let's face it, you probably have little control over how many changes you can make on your Dealership website. Changes are expensive and you can only target so many keywords.
A properly managed Content Marketing Blog allows you to generate keyword rich content, images, and videos on the fly. Think about a website that targets searchers by zip code, city, and specific needs.
Whether it is someone looking for a specific make and model car to buy, or a person looking for an oil change coupon in a zip code 10 miles away, they can find it on one of your locally focused and keyword targeted blog pages.
Effective content marketing is about creating hundreds of pages with specific keywords versus a small 5 page blog that only targets your primary keywords.
Make no mistake about it, Google in its quest of the perfect search will continue to make tweaks to their algorithms in 2012. How you react to what Google wants will determine how much traffic you can generate from these changes.
Regardless of what algorithm changes Google makes in 2012, the message it sent us all in 2011 is clear. They want fresh, relevant content, and lots of it. The days of having a poorly optimized website and Google Places page are over.
What's your plan of action in 2012? Are you looking at Google Universal Search? Is Content Marketing on your list?
Local SEO Specialist
AutoNet Media INC