Local Search Marketing Tactics

Aug 22, 2007 - 3:10 pm 2 by

Session Overview: This session looks at ways search marketers are tapping into an audience using local search engines, online yellow pages and other local search methods.

Moderator: * Chris Sherman, Co-Chair, SES San Jose

Speakers: * Patricia Hursh, President, SmartSearch Marketing * Justin Sanger, President, LocalLaunch! * Matt Van Wagner, President, Find Me Faster

Let's get the party started with Chris - Show of hands for what type of marketing budget folks have - small, medium and large budgets - pretty even.

Marissa Mayer made the comment that Google has a large opportunity in local and more specifically mobile. 82% of local searches contacted a local business 60% making a purchase.

Justin Local Search is a trillion dollar marketplace - whether you talk mobile, mapping or any aspect. Advertising opportunities are unrealized and significant.

The hype is about the fact that it's worth so much. Stats show us that a trillion dollars will be affected by local search. Some 93% of local search conversions take place offline.

Question is how you track local campaigns, but make no mistake that the market is here.

2.2 billion monthly queries with local intent. All behavior is inherently local - restaurants, shops, restaurants. The internet is learning to augment that behavior.

Local results real estate on Google has grown over the last several months because of demand and user experience.

SME's are starting to move ad dollars into search marketing. - They represent 98% of the 22 million US businesses. - 5-6% of the SME base have adopted online marketing! Targeting for these players - Local search tools - Paid inclusion - IYP's - All of this is confusing to the SME's Six Steps that a small business can use to take advantage. These are the most important steps to realize your place in the online marketing world. 1. Content control and dispersion 2. Empowering ratings and review channels 3. Riding the coattails of the authorities 4. Understanding Google references 5. Simple and structured optimized pages 6. Local link building and strategic IYP purchase The beauty of the local marketplace is that it doesn't have to cost a fortune!

Content Control - Driving the marketplace is content. - All of the local search sites want to add local business and resource content. - Think beyond your website -- Think about how your content can live and breathe on each of these unique locations. -- Start with the base content, meaning the basic information and optimize the profile. -- You goal is to ensure that the majority of places online know you exist and know what you do. -- You content needs to live and breathe in this environment - The structured content catalyst -- Drives local search -- Drives positive local experience -- Reach new business prospects Riding the coattails of authority - Becoming more difficult for companies to optimize for a local search against the local directories. - Use these directories you can increase your own visibility - Your job is to ensure your business is there! - IYP are not dying - there are dominating very specific searches. Empowering Ratings and Reviews - User generated content is a critical driver for your business online. -- Qualitative content in the form of user reviews and ratings should be embraced - You can propagate social reviews and ratings for your business. Kick start it yourself. - User reviews help determine rank in the search engines. Provide incentives to your customers to rate your service. - Search engines are polling review and rating sites to provide local search content. These can support your business profile online Google Reference - Study Google Reference to find out what authorities Google is relying on. Optimized Web Pages - Make sure your pages are structured and can be crawled. - Follow the very simple best practices -- Complete address information -- Global footer -- Mix up your address construct -- Mix up state names and abbreviations - Each address derivative is an opportunity to tell something a little different Local Link Building - Use Google references - Find out who the authority is locally and make sure your information is clean and available. - Use solid linking including geography and vertical

Patricia Tons of searches, highly fragmented, 22 million confused businesses.

6 Tips for local search advertising - staying focused on PPC and local advertising. 7. Integrate - use more than 1 way of targeting 8. Focus - look at the decision criteria of the searcher 9. Capitalize - get local and challenge the big guys 10. Drive - get the user to come in or pick up the phone 11. Understand - the options for ad placement 12. Utilize - local can be useful for big brands too

Integrate - Multiple Marketing Methods - Tested 3 concurrent PPC campaigns -- Geo-targeting -- National campaign with local keywords -- Branding campaign - used branding message - But why? -- Got cost effective cost per acquisition in all 3 campaigns -- Test all the methods and follow the ROI. Focus - Decision criteria - what are people trying to do in search? - Target the proximity of the search - Immediate availability - Price or discounts - Referrals and opinions - Experience and ambiance Local Speak - If you are a local restaurant competing with a chain - focus on the local aspects of your business. Choose your history and local flavor. Drive - bring them in - Google Maps -- Focus on local products like map, driving direction, ratings and hours. --- Ex: Local business ad in Google maps --- Ex: Google local business coupons -- Get in to local business ads --- Check to see if you're in the directory - if not get added. --- Easy to create ads and show them on maps after that. - Yahoo! Local -- Use Yahoo! Local listings -- 3 options - basic, enhanced and ?? -- Recommends featured ad (if you can afford it) --- Great thing about it - it's easy to manage. Understand your ad positions - Your ads will show up in the Yahoo Search results in a proximity based search. - Google will do the same thing. Local Search for Big Brands - Valuable for big brands, national chains, dealers and franchises. - Use national integrity combined with local message. Summary - There is more than one way to reach the local search - test them. - Ad products offer a variety of options places and prices - do your homework. - (missed one - went by too fast) - Test measure & refine

Matt The best lessons are learned through screw-ups. "Did I really do that" Focus on paid search for locals

Case Study: Local College Goal: Increase MBA enrollment Situation: very local, turf is well defined Unique local challenge: very narrow geo-area makes it difficult. Test: Set up 2 campaigns - Set up a geometry around the area -- Zip code & geo targets - Set up a national campaign -- IP results are not always good which is why they used the national campaign - Both campaigns had "good local scent" Oops, they turned on content - Email started flooding in from overseas. Originally thought to be a mistake. Turned out to be a glitch in the local algorithm. It turned into a conversation starter about new international programs. Lessons - Don't bother with zip codes. - It's ok to be wrong and admit it. - Lucky is good. Case Study Two: Care Providers Goal: Connect Families with Nursing Home & Care Providers Situation: National provider - local clients, intimately local problem, lots of keywords, it's a big country. Unique Local Challenge: deliver ads that will help solve a problem. Create a manageable campaign as a national company without local offices.

Test - Wanted to paint a campaign across every state - Forget the national campaign after states were running - Keyword list grew by 51x - Google and MSN had geo-targeting options Went Live - As soon as the national campaign was turned off - the traffic fell off, conversions fell off, client was furious. To Fix - National campaign was brought back online -- National and locals competed - Realized that the national had really long history -- Down bid the national and up-bid the state Lessons - Keyword + State outperforms keyword+st - Be careful using abbreviations - Good keywords for local campaigns -- Near Boston -- In Boston -- Boston area -- Western, area, east, west, north, south. - People search on county names when thinking broad. Counties are very powerful terms.

Q and A Q - Is there a way to find "best of" and "top 10" in newspapers and local web site to make it easier for us to get into them? A - Matt - You have to know you territory. A - Justin - Great question - very ambitious. Check the papers, trade associations and local chambers.

Q - How you see tourism being affected through local search? A - Justin - Tourism has been profoundly impacted by local search. 80% of all business takes place within a 20 mile radius. Target the entire national because customers can come from anywhere. A - Patricia - See much better response rate on local ads versus national based on extra line of local text in the local ad. A - Justin - Utilize geo-qualifiers in your ads and keywords to target your users.

Q - Is there any way to track the value of local search when your listing information is being displayed in the SERP A - Justin - Yahoo! Enhanced will show impressions of your listing. The best way however is to get into call tracking. You have to go through great lengths to find out and track the information. A - Patricia - Assign some value to visibility. Some products can help you define a visibility score. A - Matt - How many search on your key terms? If you are, stop doing it. You are establishing a negative behavior for your IP address and Google will rotate your ad out or down. Start using the Google ad preview tool instead.

Q - Do you have any tips for optimizing a city search listing? Are there ways of utilizing city search and other tools to optimize listings. A - Justin - City Search wants to get better data because it reduces their cost of acquisition. Treat the profile pages in these services as you would your own site. Follow SEO best practices.

Q - Can you tell us your experience building out keywords using various types? A - Patricia - It varies quite a bit from campaign to campaign. Broad match can save you time, but be careful because it can be used to broadly and cost quite a bit if money. Tactics have included inputting a keyword in each of the 3 match types and study the results. A - Matt - Use broad match for research and then start to move things to exact and phrase as you refine your campaign.

Q - How can I cope with small maps on the search results that don't include my service business? A - Justin - Maps don't matter for service business as much because most service businesses come to the home. You still need to be advertising, utilize different tools. A - Patricia - If you're serving a whole region, set up a paid campaign to serve the region.

Q - Have any of you targeted wireless ads to local search? A - Matt - Check out David Dalka's blog as he is tracking the space. A - Justin - Best answer is to deal with the Internet in its current form - use Google maps, use content tools that create mobile content. Look into Google mobile syndication. Make sure you are out there as these companies move more and more to mobile.

Q - How do you deal with the idea that local is more work for less result versus a national campaign? A - Justin - The beauty of the local customer is that they have a very identifiable customer and the incremental value of a customer is significant.

Q - When you look at primary data sources - InfoUSA, Axiom, etc. - What if you've never been in an update cycle for them - how do you address the challenge of that delay? A - Justin - There are some tools but not many. You have to keep fighting. Keep doing what you're doing. A - Patricia - Stacey Williams has put a great presentation together about getting your data into all of those directories. Don't forget that you can also go into Yahoo! Local, Google Maps and others to tell them. Q2 - The engines seems to weight the data sources more heavily. If you're not already in the primary data source, you have to wait. A - Justin - More and more the engines are relying on the site/business owner to be the de-facto source of the information.

Q - Do I need to be concerned with duplicate content as I am updating my profile everywhere? A - Justin - No, it won't. They are geo-vertical directory pages, therefore the content being displayed is there along with other results so the page is unique. A - Chris - Agrees that it won't be a problem.

Q - Is there the possibility that the services will see different call tracking numbers as a less valid result. A - Justin - Yes. The call tracking numbers will be replaced by the next authority. Spend the money, log in to Google business center. Pay the money to manage your listing.

Q - Should I have the same phone number in a Google Base and Organic Local results - I want to track the campaigns separately. A - Justin - Sure if you want to be able to track performance across these different channels, then yes you may want to use different phone numbers. Especially in those areas where you have a local advertising outlay.

Provided by Steve Krull.


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