What is going on in the Local Search arena? There is already a good amount on inventory available in local search. Local search data comes from two different content areas. The offline derived local content, which is list compilation vendors, business mailing lists, sales lead generation, and other direct mail. The next local search data is internet derived local content. 20% of websites out there have a local address designated somewhere on their site. Google for example takes a unique approach by spidering the web looking for local content and then verifying this information. Justin Sanger from LocalLaunch! adds an additional content area and that is user-derived local content, or content provided by the user, business owner, or customer. There are also competitors out there can provide content that dictate how your listing is displayed. Some of the local offline players in local content. They are Acxiom and InfoUSA provides the data to many of the search utilities. What you can do is have people search locally and get a bunch of paid advertisers. With local search there are a good number of variables to consider, such as proximity. There is a good push by the providers to enrich their content.
Local results sets changes in the content. Offline content has constraints, this we know. Local search is pure search requiring rich and structured content beyond standard contact information. Content for qualitative, comparative, local buying decisions including the following: proximity scoring, rich & structured data, user reviews, business ratings, and mapping features.
Business profiles is user generated meta data is a source of rich content, revenue, and “spider food” for pure local search. Many are free such as Yahoo, Superpages, and A9. Additional traditional keyword analysis should be employed. SEO should be factored in. Accurate, consistent, and distributed business content will have long term impact on your business. More content means a better user experience. Justin says that much of the local information is dependent on us. He says InfoUSA has a large team of telemarketers just to verify data. He next goes into business profile examples from Yahoo. They are implementing user reviews (Google isn’t doing this) and an extended company profile for a very small fee. He recommends to go to Yahoo and find your business.
Considering ratings and reviews. He says he often has people come to him saying that listings can be changed by someone else. With paid search you control the ad and the listings. Ratings provide this extra level of information. Yahoo also allows you to search by user review. There is time in the marketplace to take advantage of this. You can provide a lot of advantages by considering local search.
The new group, is Small Medium Enterprises (SME’s), he says this a great group. 60% of SME’s conduct 75% of their business from customers with a 50 mile radius. 22 million small medium sized businesses. Problem or opportunity is 3% of SME’s are using paid search. There is a challenge here. SME’s have less than 6,000 a year to spend on marketing. Controlling margins and dealing with SME’s is difficult. This requires product simplication, scale, automation, customer support structures, capitalization, and relationships.
There are also new sales requirements sales. We need to remove the complexity of paid search products. They don’t understand pay per call, SEO, algorithms. Must bundle the products and sell them. For SE’s establish local sales channels and embrace agencies. Example: Feed on The Street Sales Force. Going from traditional yellowpages ads to selling clicks.
About the local marketing mix. Pay attention to enhanced profiling offerings, internet yellowpages (IYPS), Local PPC. Cleanse your data! Other areas include pay per call, local web page development, user review and ratings strategy, and local authority identification. He talks about authority sites gets thrust to the top. When you think about the local search, its more than SEO. Find out who is rankings and the top and get your clients in there.
About depth and horizontal coverage. Is there room in the local marketplace? Yes definitely. He thinks there is room for players to aggregate this and expand this information, because search engines can’t do it. For the same reason vertical search is so hot. Segmentation is about specialization. SE’s inability to rich experience across verticals. Understanding a vertical/geo-targeting is critical. Really incredible presentation, the best I have attended today or seen yet on the industry of local search.
Next up was Patricia Hursh from SmartSearch Marketing, who is going to present ways on how to promote clients locally and present a few case studies. One of her clients is a large local ISP. They need to pre-qualify visitors using zip codes. They approach search advertising 3 ways, local (ip targeted), national, and national w/ local keywords. The ads they are standard, with the only addition is the term “national” to “local” when locally targeting. They concluded from the study that they could reach more people with a IP-targeted local campaign than a national campaign with local keywords. At least in this category, average CPC for the local campaign is less than average CPC for the national campaign with local keywords. IP-targeted ads deliver the best conversion rate and the best online cost/order.
So why do national advertising? It turns out the client loves the national ad for getting good visibility and its inexpensive. Also, if you are only doing IP-targeted campaigns. People searching from outside your specified locations such as people moving into the area, researching options for someone else, and traveling. Running all three campaigns works well. What about Overture – Local Match? Well its great for companies without a website. Works well for business wanting to drive calls or foot-traffic into a store. Currently targeting is based on a specified distance from a physical business address. What they found was the Overture works well for people who want people to walk physically into their store and get that foot traffic. The way they target your ads is the physical address, and surrounding radius. Some comparisons: If you don’t have a website you only option is Overture. If you don’t have a local address you only option if Google Local. If you want to reach the entire state you only option is Google. To summarize, they found that Google and Overture are completely different products. Overture serves ads based on people indicating location.