With the help of some good friends (Thanks Greg, Rory, Matt), I find myself in the midst of Search Engine Strategies - London, and will be providing session coverage during the rest of the week. After the wear and tear of an elongated commute across the pond (weather delays), I'm frankly happy to just be here.
To get some of the local flavor, I'm sitting in the Local Search session, listening to Hunter from Qype, Web 2.0 review site which boasts multi-lingual capability. In a comparison of local 2.0 sites and directory sites, he concedes that Directories remain a good place for small businesses to advertise. However, the expectations of users for 2.0 content (video, maps, etc.) may drive the change (convergence?).
The real question on the table is "how can local search compete?" Perhaps the best answer came from Andrew Klein, Spotzer, who said that the way that local search players can best compete with Google is by "becoming a 'trusted advisor' for clients." This differentiates them in a positive way from the large media companies.
More to come . . .
Look for more this week. Happy to be back online.