- SEO Complexity Increases – Google is making search engine optimization more complex. It will be increasingly difficult to keep on top of the almost constant changes that impact rankings, something we already saw in 2012 when Google introduced Penguin and Panda. Marketers in 2013 will need sufficient data in order to overcome these obstacles and successfully build small businesses’ online presence on Google.
- SMBs with Mobile Websites will triple – More local businesses will adopt mobile-optimized websites as consumers conduct an increasing number of local searches on their mobile devices. The percentage of SMBs with mobile-optimized websites could spike from about 7% to more than 20%.
- Facebook Paid Ads continue to be a Flop – Paid advertising on Facebook won’t work for the vast majority of local service businesses because most consumers don’t take action when they see ads for plumbers, lawyers, or landscapers in their Facebook friend feed. Facebook will be more effective as a retention tool, though its new “nearby” search tool may make it a player for retail-based local businesses.
- Sales will be the new leads – The number of sales, and not just leads, will become increasingly important in measuring the success of small business marketing campaigns. The ability to connect local marketing efforts to actual bookings will result in more accountability for vendors who sell to SMBs and help to prove the value of marketing spend.
- Google remains the dominant horizontal player for local search, but consumers will increasingly go vertical – Google continues to be the most used search engine and, after introducing Google+ Local pages in 2012, will continue to help small business owners drive an online presence. However, more single-market companies such as ZocDoc (healthcare) and Uber (cab transportation) will capture increasing and significant attention from consumers.
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