Matt McGee has moved on to other projects, but his Hyperlocalblogger site was the best around for concrete tips for independent local journalists. One of the best resources he developed was a series on search engine optimization for hyperlocal blogs. It’s a 5-part series, and well worth reading if you’re looking to get into the local news business online.
Today, Google turned on “real-time search.” That means you can see Web results from minutes ago — and the search results will appear as they become available. And it includes results from public Facebook pages.
So what does that mean for local businesses? It means you have an easy way to drive business based on timely offers and discounts. For example, my local sports booster club just updated its Facebook page with a special offer for T-shirts celebrating the school’s new soccer team. The offer showed up right away in Google search results, even for people who are not logged into Facebook.
How about other uses? A local bakery could offer free muffins to the first 10 customers in the door. A restaurant can post daily specials to Facebook and it will be cross-promoted on Google. It offers you an opportunity to extend your immediate reach beyond Facebook and Twitter, and into the realm of search.
As Google integrates real-time results more fully into its search tools, smart local businesses will be looking for ways to take advantage of it with time-sensitive offers.
Update: I just noticed the real-time search page includes a new feature — location-based search. Combining location with time-sensitive information opens up even more opportunities for local business who get creative with their promotional efforts.