Although the landscape of search engine optimisation changes drastically from year to year, the question of whether SEO is necessary for local businesses remains constant. The tactics and strategies may change and adapt to Google's new features, but local businesses still need to focus on SEO if they want to attract new customers on the Internet. This isn't an overnight change or a one-and-done shift in digital marketing strategy, but rather a constantly adapting strategy that can remain relevant despite new features and algorithms made by search engines.

A recent Search Engine Watch article explains why SEO strategies in 2014 must be a combination of the old core SEO tactics along with new ways to adapt to Google's changing local search. The article explains that it's important to first solidify the basic elements of SEO, such as keywords, content, and link building, and then focus on elements that Google now puts more weight on, such as user reviews:

“My point is that we need to watch the converging of our old silos into the new SERP display. SEO has taken on a converging role with other mediums which impact SERP display. For example, you've created optimised local listings for your local business, but know that the display weighs even more heavily on reviews, have you done your job at local-social integration.”

SEO strategies from three years ago aren't going away, but are now serving as the foundation of new SEO campaigns. In order to have a modern SEO strategy, companies must build upon their core strategy by focusing more on Google's new favourite SEO factors.

To start, companies must improve their user reviews in order to land a good spot on Google's Carousel search. Simple but effective strategies may include encouraging loyal customers to leave positive, but genuine reviews and possibly responding to negative reviews in an open-minded way. Location is also important in Google's new local search, so be sure to include an embedded map so potential customers can locate your business.

Searching online I found the following Infographic from Owen Prescott to helps explain SEO for 2014 & how you need to change your Strategy.

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Online Strategy
If you don't have a website, writing blog posts as a guest on other websites forms an excellent way to attract potential customers to your business. 

If you do have a website, posting keeps you in touch with your target audience. In either case, use the following guidelines to format your writing for better readability.

  • Shorten the text. Your audience cannot spend a leisurely hour perusing your post. Their schedules are as busy as yours. They want to get the information they need quickly and move on. So, limit your blog posts to between 250 to 300 words long. If you must go to 500 words or more, split your writing up into two or more posts and add a link to the other parts in each post.

  • Divide the block. One solid wall of words is not only intimidating to read but difficult to understand. Divide your writing into paragraphs no longer than five or six sentences long. Add headers to indicate changes in ideas or emphasize important points. This makes your post quicker to scan.

  • Use lists. If you talk about more than three things, break them out into lists. Use bullets to delineate items of equal emphasis, such as a list of parts. Use numbers to show importance or a procedure that must be done in sequence, such as a “how-to” on fixing a faucet.

  • Add images. A picture can literally be worth a thousand words and helps attract the eye. If you can't take your own photos, buy them from stock photography sights such as iStockPhoto or ShutterStock. Don't forget to explain to the reader what they are seeing by either explaining it in text or including a caption.

A nicely formatted blog post denotes professionalism and conveys the message you want to send more easily. For more online strategy tips, please contact us.

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