In an article I wrote for Search Engine Land this week, I talk about the growing importance of social networking in the online local search experience.
Today, online and mobile consumers are increasingly turning to “local-social search” products such as Yelp, Twitter, Facebook, Google and others to search not just for basic small business information, but for ratings and reviews as well.
This fundamental shift in how local information is searched and shared requires small businesses, advertisers and local search companies to embrace social search, or risk facing the consequences. Small businesses may suffer significant harm—or miss important growth opportunities—if they don’t engage in the online conversation. Advertisers could lose out on opportunities to promote products and indentify micro-target markets. Additionally, local search companies could lose customers who want more social-networking-friendly listings.
You can read my full piece at Search Engine Land here.