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Universal Search Gives Small Businesses Visibility

There are new opportunities for small business to gain valuable online exposure as Google expands universal search results (the insertion of multimedia content within the search results pages including maps, videos, images, PDF files etc…).

Now, small business can get free page one exposure by optimizing for the new media Google is including in the search engine results pages. Here is one example of universal search results on Google- in this instance Google is inserting map results at the top of the results page.

Before universal search, if you owned a restaurant/lounge in Boston and wanted to show up on Google for a search for “Boston restaurant lounge”, you were in for a real uphill battle. The first page of search results for this query were likely a combination of food delivery services, restaurant reviews, a link to the chain restaurant Boston Market’s website and maybe even a Wikipedia entry on the Union Oyster House – the nation’s oldest operating restaurant.

Either way, it was going to be close to impossible to get your 3 page site to pop for that search query. You would need to develop deep content that includes the high value keywords, used at the optimal frequency. You would likely need to create several pages and come up with an interlinking strategy in order to create enough content surrounding the important terms to help increase rankings.

Now that you have content, you would still likely need to create some additional linking opportunities to get up on the first page. You could try using an RSS feed press release with embedded anchor text links for the high value search terms that point back to your site. After all of this work- you might be able to get on page one, but of course there are no guarantees in SEO. But, the real challenge lies in the fact that most small business owners are too busy running their business to expend resources on this scale.

But- there is now hope for the small business owner thanks to universal search. One way for small business owners to get up to the top of the search results page would be to optimize their site in Google Maps. No need for content and link development; anyone with basic knowledge can simply add their location to the map, and then claim and customize their business listing in the map. Google will let you upload images, hours of operation, a description of the business and a link pointing back to your website- all without media expenses. You can also help your cause by offering incentives for your regular customers to log on and write a favorable review of your establishment.

Once a business owner claims the business and uploads the information and tags based on high value keywords, the business will begin to show up in map results. And now that Google is showing map content at the top of the standard search results, that means your small business could get the top listing on the page for searches on high value terms. Now, when people search for “Boston restaurant lounge” on Google- new and existing customers have a chance to find you.

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