As you may recall, I've written several updates on the task of getting my client onto Google's first page for the term "skip hire leicester". For quite some time his site was 6th in the natural rankings, but because of Google Places, his listing was actually appearing on page 2.
After some time and a number of content tweaks, his site is now appearing on page one of Google - his other site is now 4th in the local rankings as well.
While this can be considered a relative success, his site is not number one! However, the difficulty that the local listings presented us is an increasingly common problem. Google is continuing to innovate with the first page rankings - to the extent that its rumoured that soon only 7 'natural' listings will be shown on page one. This means first page rankings will become even harder to secure.
In response, many are looking to safeguard their position by using Google AdWords. However, alternative strategies are also emerging, with the focus more clearly on using social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc) as ways of gaining traffic.
The viability of social media depends upon the nature of your target demographics, sector, etc. However, it's becoming increasingly clear that a Google only marketing strategy is increasingly risky.