Small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) might want to review their search engine optimization strategy  (SEO) as the new year starts. Many SEO users feared that the changes Google made last year would negatively impact their placement on the search engine results pages. But, new research from Bright Local, highlighted by Myles Anderson who wrote a guest column for SearchEngineLand, shows that SMBs should focus on Google if they want the best results from SEO.

Bright Local’s research was all about finding out which search engine gives the best findings in the local market for three keyword categories: Generic, service and long tail.  The firm’s study also considered 3 different market sizes: large, medium and small.

The study findings show that Google gives 40% of its space to local results and 19% to local businesses when a keyword search is performed.  When a search is performed on a specific service a business might provide, 33% of Google results return a local business. However, in a long-tail search,  Yahoo performs slights better with 31% of its results showing local vendors.

As a result, analysts encourage SMBs to optimize the generic terms they select in SEO and to pay attention to “Category selection in your Places for Business dashboard.” Anderson points out that Google likely displays more local results than other search engines because of the algorithms it uses. For example, the company aggressively “uses other location factors (such as IP address) to determine location” as it produces results pages.

Are you paying close attention to how SEO is working for your business? Do you feel that your placement is best on the results returned when consumers use Google’s search engine?