On yesterday’s date one year ago I posted my first article related to local search. It’s name was “Why Google Places” and the blog was called googleplacesoptimized.wordpress.com at that time. Both titles could pretty much tell you what I was planning to write about (mostly due to my inexperience). The first time I’d ever heard of “local search” (because it has close to no significance and visibility in the Bulgarian version of Google, so I hadn’t really had the chance to see it) had been just 2 months before that post. It was closely related to my previous job, and it seemed like a very interesting subject to me.
Let’s revert the blend back to the middle of February 2011. As a diligent employee, hired simply because of their passion, and because of lack of qualified low-paid labor force around, I realized that I would not achieve anything unless I start learning. Fast. That’s why I started searching for information online even before my first ever working day. I encountered a lot of sites that I follow ever since then:
Mike Blumenthal’s blog
Andrew Shotland’s blog
David Mihm’s blog
Steve Hatcher’s blog
Chris Smith’s blog
Greg Sterling’s blog
Linda Buquet’s blog
Miriam Elis’ blog
Matt McGee’s blog
Search Engine Land’s Locals Only
I soon realized that it was not as easy and as straightforward as I thought (and as I had been told), and that Google Places was not equal to local search, but was rather just one tool out of many. I also realized that it takes much more than an address in the center of the city and a few listings on local directories to get high in the local organic rankings. As I was not happy with the company culture, I decided to leave and go on my own. This happened in the beginning of April the last year (yep, just 1 year ago).
I didn’t really have a clear idea of what I had to do, neither how to do it, but as an adventurous person I just went ahead. The only actual knowledge I had about local search derived from the above mentioned sites, the official help files by Google, and a couple of forums – the already non-existent Google Places Help Forum, and the Warrior Forum (the second of these proved to not be really useful and the users there providing wrong and frequently even potentially harmful information).
A few months later I was “promoted” to Top Contributor for the Google Places forum, I was included in a few lists of local SEOs together with all the guys that up to then I was simply learning from (and I still am), and was accepted to speak at SMX West in San Jose. Lucky person, am I not? :)
How did you get involved with local search and/or online marketing in general?