Foursquare and Yelp: The New SEO SEO used to mean “keywords” and, well, that was about it. Eventually Google started to use more sophisticated formulas and algorithms to turn out results, and SEO started to depend more on a science of striking the right balance of keywords and phrases. Now, SEO is a much more intensive and all encompassing part of your marketing strategy. It’s simply not enough to have the right keywords anymore, now you need to have the right keywords in the right place, you need to improve your rank on sites like Yelp and Foursquare and get good reviews on Google Places. Keywords simply aren’t enough anymore.

If you have a small business, here are a few marketing tips to getting what you need out of sites like Foursquare and Yelp:

  • Engage With Your Reviewers

    The more you engage with your reviewers, the better you’re going to do on these sites because people like to know for certain that their voices are being heard by the people who need to hear them. Thank the positive reviewers and ask for an opportunity to make it up to the people who had a bad experience. Customer engagement does not occur in a void.

  • Link But Don’t Pressure

    Letting your customers know that you have a listing on Yelp and on Foursquare is a great idea. Begging them for a review at every opportunity is not only obnoxious, it’s discouraged. Take the time to link to these sites in your signature, mention your Yelp presence in your newsletter, but don’t beg your customers for reviews or they’ll think of it as an unwanted obligation.

  • Develop a Multimedia Presence

    Including multimedia in your corporate profile on these sites is a good way to kick start engagement by simply adding a little more color and life. In fact, you may simply consider this to be a part of completing your profile, making it feel more robust and substantial. People don’t always want to contribute a review if it’s going to be the sole piece of real content on the site, so building a real presence on these sites means that your customers don’t have to do that for you.

The more you use Foursquare and Yelp, the higher your SEO ranking is going to climb when it comes to Google results for your niche. SEOis about more than just using the right search terms in your content now. Today, search engine optimization means creating the kind of results that people actually want to find, not just the results that Google will give them. This means making use of sites like Foursquare and Yelp to get the word out about your business.

This is the trick to marketing in the new decade: your customer base is your new marketing team. It’s your job to give them a message that they can run with and a product or service that they can get behind.

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