Local search is being touted by many as the next big SEO market. This may or may not be true, as only time will tell, but I’m not betting any money on it. My hesitation to jump on the bandwagon declaring local search to be the next primary focus of SEO is because local search is just so stinking easy to get results for. Maybe it won’t always be, after all, SEO was once pretty darn easy as well, but targeting local phrases, while it can be lucrative, and in many cases (depending on the business) necessary, it is a far cry easier to achieve rankings for than terms targeted nationally.
None of this is to suggest that local search is not a legitimate target for any campaign. Not all local terms will prove to be easy, either. But there are many businesses out there where local search does not apply. If you are optimizing for a local car dealer, then local search can and should apply, but if you are looking for a particular product, who cares if its local. In fact, when doing my online shopping, I often look for non-local stores to avoid paying my state’s sales tax.
As for the next Big Thing, my money is on shopping search. There are a number of shopping search engines out there and I believe that it is entirely possible that product search will ultimately be relegated to such portals such as Froogle, Yahoo! Shopping, shopping.com and others.
This is potentially the biggest untapped market for SEOs, getting clients products top rankings in shopping search. In fact, this can potentially transform the SEO industry as such shopping sites undergo a completely different optimization strategy than service oriented sites. Pole Position Web is currently in the process of developing such strategies.
Is it important to know which will become the next great SEO market? No, not really. Quality SEOs should be able to analyze your market and target audience and build the most appropriate optimization campaign around that, whether it is general optimization, shopping optimization or local optimization… or a combination of all three.