Monthly Birmingham Local SEO Roundup May 2011

If you weren’t able to read every important blog post related to local SEO in May 2011, that’s okay, because I’ve compiled the best here. Enjoy, and if it helps, Tweet or Share it!

First the most important thing to happen in local search in May (might have actually come in June but why make you wait a month?) The 2011 Local Search Ranking Factors is out! This is the Bible of local SEO.

Google Wonders…

An interesting message in a local results page makes David Mihm wonder whether Google is moving towards getting its data on local businesses from searchers instead of third party sites.

Regardless of the internal algorithm that determines when this prompt is going to be shown, to me, this is a clear showing of the cards as to where Google is headed. The company’s underlying mindset is to crowdsource without cost as much as it possibly can.

If David’s right, that means it will become even more important to get your customers online to interact with your local listing. Get used to communicating with them and encouraging them to find you and review you online.

Andrew Shotland reminds local business owners to get their customers to review them on a variety of sites in A Little Light Reading On Google Maps Ranking Factors. Read more about getting customer reviews in my post, which includes an e-mail template for review begging.

Friday the 20th’s SEOMoz Whiteboard Friday had some great tips for local businesses. The video began with an interesting statistic. Apparently 95% of searches on a mobile phone are for local data. I’m on an Android, and my usual behavior is to go to my Google Maps app and search for what I want, let’s say hair salons or coffee shops. I’ll click on pinpoint based first on proximity to me. Then I’ll check to see whether the listing provides me enough information to make a decision. The video seems to indicate it’s important to optimize your site for mobile visits. I disagree. I only click on a website in the local listing if the listing is incomplete. And that’s always a terrible user experience. To me, a visit to your website from a mobile phone means your local listing is failing to provide adequate information. Fix your listing, so people can go straight from your listing to your location.

Mike Blumenthal is beginning to see testimonials from small business’ websites beginning to show up in Google Places listings. To get credit for your great reviews in Google Places, you need to mark your reviews up with the hReview microformat.

Chris Silver Smith (great name!) has a super article up at Search Engine Land with 10 Unorthodox Ideas For Local Citations & Links. First he goes over what citations are and why you need them, then he gives some great, off-the-wall ideas for getting them. Solid.