Matt Cutts Reinforces Hot Google Trends For SMBs

There are a lot voices for a small business owner to listen to. There are the people in your niche who are telling you the best way to do something, there are industry blogs, there are forums, and there are the other marketers whose success you’re trying to emulate. Sometimes, in all of that, it can be difficult to know which voices are worth trusting and who really knows what they’re talking about. However, there’s one voice whose advice is hard to argue with. And that’s the voice of Google.

While I was at PubCon Vegas last week, I had the opportunity to attend a keynote conversation that took place between Googlers Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal. During that talk, Matt outlined the key areas he believed business owners should be focusing their attention.

What three hot spots does Matt think SMBs should particularly be spending their time?

Mobile

During his talk Matt defined a cell phone as “a computer you carry with you everywhere” and that seems to be the growing trend. Our phones are no longer intended simply to help us make phone calls on the go. We use them to discover things – restaurants, mechanics, supply stores, etc. This is why it’s important that as a business owner you make sure your Web site loads properly and is functional via a mobile device. You may assume that your customers will be searching for you solely via their desktop but we can’t make that assumption anymore. Because more and more it’s proving false.

Social

You couldn’t walk anywhere during PubCon without hitting a conversation about social media, and that’s why Matt named it one of the top areas for business owners to watch. With the recent launch of Google+ Pages for Businesses it’s clear that Google wants to move to a more social Web. A Web that is less based on anonymity and more based on reputation because that’s how Google believes they’re going to make the Web better and add more accountability. You don’t necessarily have to optimize social for search engines, says Matt, but make sure you’re giving off the right signals both with your content and your social influence. Participate in discussions, share content that is relevant to your audience, make it easy for others to share your content. These are all things that will be becoming more important in the future. Social is not going to die.

Local

It should make small business owners feel good to know that the head of Web spam at Google sees small business owners and stressed this as an area of priority. Matt said that local is where the vast majority of purchases take place and that you need to create a strategy for promoting your business online. As a small business owner, you start promoting your business by building awareness through findability by claiming and verifying all your online listings.

Related to covering the basics and claiming listings, Matt also recommended that business owners sign up for Google Webmaster Tools to get email alerts about the health of their Web sites. If you’re not familiar with Google Webmaster Tools it’s a fantastic resource for businesses of all sizes to learn more about their sites and understand more about what Google sees.

With so much noise out there about what’s important and what direction small business owners should be looking in, it’s nice to hear Google give us some cues, even if they’re things we were already doing. Who doesn’t love confirmation that we were on the right track all along? ;)

How do Matt’s comments line up with your site strategy? Do you feel like you’re on the right page or will you be shifting any of your efforts?

9 Comments ▼

Lisa Barone


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

9 Reactions

  1. I love the push on local results. The recent changes have really helped out my new business/site rank well via my local listing.

  2. I remember when finding services in my local area were near impossible.

  3. I have to agree with Matt about cell phones being computers. Just look at the specs in the latest generation of smartphones; it’s like a laptop from 6 years ago.

  4. Thanks, Lisa. I love this post. There’s no question that Google mobile search needs to be high on the list for SMBs. At mTrax (mtrax.com), we’re seeing that about 95% of SMBs have not yet set up their first Google mobile search listing. And these are business owners who are always looking for ways to bring in new calls! Then you add on Microsoft and Yahoo. Mobile click-to-call is a no-brainer for most SMBs. And particularly so for plumbers, towing services, and other service businesses, as their per-call budgets can best accommodate the cost.

  5. Lisa,

    Gerat write up.

    Getting a Google+ page is a must. I know its early days but it has to take off…right?

    Andrew

  6. All three of these areas I have been catching up on and trying to place a big push in. The mobile industry is not going away and will not be going away in to the for seen future. As far as the localization goes, well lets just say that if you did not already have some sort of local presence established then your way behind the power curve. It is highly suggested to get local placement established unless you have the expertise and funds to compete with the larger companies because they are getting the bigger push organically as far as can tell.

    As far as social media goes well first of all there are just to damn many of them and I think it is best to chose the main one’s and drive in traffic from them and not worry about the rest of them so much. Post sales and interact with the users goes a long way’s, but I will say something else about local placement, do not forget how important reviews are for your local placements. Google made some changes to how may reviews they allow a few months back and not much has been said about local reviews recently, so do not let it escape you that these are great benefactors.

  7. Only a year later and this is still true but different platforms have different levels of importance. Google Local merging with Google+, Penguin etc etc.. I wish we were told about those!

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