U-C WEBS' founder Nardo KuitertBy Nardo Kuitert, U-C WEBS
[Published in The Wellington Advertiser, October 2011 for the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce]

The search engine world keeps changing and changing. Compare a Google search results page from a few years ago with what we see today. Gone are the days of a simple and rigidly organized results page. A Google search results page today shows things like videos, press releases, topical Twitter streams and a map with localized search results. All these changes were made by the search engines in order to provide Internet users with more relevant search results.

And the behaviour of these Internet users keeps changing over time. Web 2.0 sites like Twitter became the news besides reporting it (remember Egypt, or Iran?), and have become an online barometer of what’s happening in the world. So the search engines started to inject Twitter feeds and other web 2.0 properties into the search results.

Another trend worth mentioning (again) is Local Search. People are searching for anything online these days – I read somewhere that 20-30% of all searches have local content. Google is reporting that 33% of mobile searches (on a cell phone) have local intend, and Bing even reports a 53% local mobile search share. Local is the new global… And “Local” these days can be found… online!

So what does that mean for you? Well, you probably want to found where people are searching. Apart from making your own website found, you will want to make sure that people can find you in other online hotspots. Examples include local online directories (do a search to locate the ones relevant in your area) and the online directory of your Chamber of Commerce. These Chamber Directory sites get a lot of direct traffic (not search engine related) because people know that they are filled to the brim with local business information. I am a Director for the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce, so I’ll use their website (www.cwchamber.ca) as an example. Look for the Business Directory link in the orange navigation bar. The Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce website allows you to enter your own elevator speech – or more! Just click on the Member Login link on the Chamber website (top right corner), enter your user name and password (ask Chamber staff for your login information if you have misplaced it) and you can start writing your online brochure. You can also upload your logo. Chamber staff will be more than happy to assist you with this. The listing in this Directory is a privilege for Chamber members only, of course, but with Local Search exploding the listing on the Chamber’s website alone will be worth the admission!

For more information: contact your Webmaster, or contact Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce Director Nardo Kuitert at [email protected] or 519-787-7612.