Moderator: Greg Sterling, Founding Principal, Sterling Market Intelligence
Local is Greg's baby. Greg explains that local is about tying online to offline. Greg will be posting Q&A from Google on Search Engine Land.
Mike Blumenthal, Partner, blumenthals.com is up first. I really respect this man, so I am excited. He first shows a Hitwise chart showing marketshare between Google, MapQuest, Yahoo and Microsoft.
Google projects maps info into not just Maps, but also into web search, smartphones, sms, voice, iphone, desktop and so on.
He analyzed 25 data points in a hundred businesses to determine what factors influenced local search rankings. Here is his presentation from SMX Local. He goes through some of the patent, going through really technical stuff such as: - distance from center - business name - business category - content - explicit anchor text - score of web site - # of links referring to business - highest score of those links - total # of web page citations - geo references - reviews
Location Prominence score is the new local PageRank.
Research contributors: - David Mihm - Miriam Ellis - Tim Coleman - Dave ORemland - missed the rest of the names
Here is Mike's presentation.
Tony Wright, CEO/Founder, WrightIMC is next up.
Predictions: - 26% of small and med sized businesses plan to incorporate video on their web sites in the next 12 months - 40% SMB respondents said they intend to add customer reviews to their sites - 30% will add links or place ads on social sites or blogs.
He then showed the search heat map.
Watching for Source Consolidation: - Industry consolidation cannot be at the cost of local relevancy - There must be a consolidation in data providers. Implementation is too cumbersome in the current environment. - Deal a day industry. The only thing harder than implementing on so many properties is keeping up.
Neat Things: - Sekai Camera "Air Tagging" is very cool
Google's New e-Fluence Score: - Talked about in Business Week - Google rates social media users on their influential abilities - HUGE impacts for local/mobile search - Using manual tools like Trackur and other SEO techniques.
Review Nation: - Everyone is reviewing everyone - Reviews influence buying behavior - Negative reviews can put you out of business - Zillow, ServiceMagic, etc. - Monitoring your reputation is more important for local businesses than anything
Craig Greenfield, Director, Local Search, Performics is next. He said the most significant change in this area is the AdWords policy change with the URL policy change. This impacts businesses with many locations.
Make sure your lead gen program is in line with your operators marketing abilities.
FYI, the whole time, his presentation is not being displayed on the projector. Someone should tell him... Or maybe he doesnt have a ppt?
Make sure your address information is clear on your web site and all up to date on the yellow page sites.
Steve Espinosa, Director of Product Development, eLocal Listing is next up. You are going to start seeing specific profile pages for each industry, so small businesses wont have to pay big bucks for a web site, they pay for a premade landing page.
Evolution of the Profile: - A/B Testing for you on this site - Complete conversion tracking - SEO for both local and natural - Evolve with current tracking
Yahoo Local Listing Tips: - 5 Star Reviews - Yahoo Enhanced Listings - Keyword in Business Name
This will drive 1.8X more calls per month.
Trusted Sources: - Link to your local listings - Anchor text the link with key phrase matching the key phrase you placed in business name - Google is more like to rank a source like Yahoo Local rather than your web site.
Video: Enquiro showed companies received 2.2X more attention on the results page if they had both adwords and natural listings. They found that 3.34x with click through when a video is on the page.
Videos can be attributed as a web citation in Google Maps if properly linked and indirectly connected to Google Local.
Tips: - Research your vertical and find out where Google looks for information - Google pulls data from trusted sources - InsiderPages.com, CitySearch.com and OpenList.com - Yahoo Upcoming, Meetup.com and Google Coupon are good web references
The title tag of the web reference is getting a lot of weight put into it.
Bonus Tip: Free phone tracking via Google. Create an audio campaign, get started and then stop. Then go to "call reporting" and then Google will log everything for you. Create tons of these numbers for free.
I love that tip! Wonder how long it will take to go bye-bye.
Eric Stein, Director, Local Markets, Google is last up.
Google will continue to open up maps. By providing those types of tools, they can help solve problems of search. He said he has to take away that audio trick, but they might open it up another way. Too many small local businesses dont have a web site. It is up to SEMs to help these small businesses market themselves.