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SES 2008 – The Evolution of Local Search

  • By calcoastwebdesign
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  • 22 Aug 2008

The time has FINALLY come; we are livin’ la vie da Local!!!!!

Panelists:

Michael Boland, The Kelsey Group
Ian White, Urban Mapping
Peter Hutto, Local.com
Joel Toledano, Krillion
Steve Espinosa, eLocal Listing

Peter Hutto was up first – he said he’s excited to help bridge the gap between search behavior and offline behavior. Peter’s all about the local platforms and directories, there are currently 16 million visitors a month on local.com, and growing.

So how can you move beyond just those local directory listings? There are a few key ways..

Engagement: videos, user generated ratings and reviews, Q & A
Technology: all major local sites have re-written their alogrythms in the last 6 months, keep your website up to date accordingly.
Functionality: shopping and mapping features, so we can get there or buy easier online of course 🙂
Google: playing the SEM and SEO game

Because local is the new kid on the search block, it has some core challenges:

  1. there’s a fragmented market, and so many local faces, who is best?
  2. there’s lots of point solutions, again, who is best and what is standard?

Good news: nobody has the answers yet, and there is actually plenty of time to still figure it out! Here are even more questions local poses:

  • What are the best local shopping solutions?
  • What do consumers really want?
  • What is the compelling service that local.com and others should offer?
  • How can I monetize local shopping?

Hmmm…that’s a lot to ponder and research. Luckily Peter has done somee of the homework on the players and solutions to the above questions for us 🙂

  • Oodle – local classifieds
  • Krillion – find local retailers with the product you want. This rocks for the Christmas shopping arsenal 🙂
  • NearByNow – tells local mall store inventory. I just tested Laguna Hills Mall (in CA) nose rings …and Claire’s didn’t come up. Should I buy these ones from Hot Topic, lol?!
  • StepUp – spying on **um I mean learning from** the competition helps.
  • Kriyari – shopping 2.0 – online malls with tons of reviews and UGC. This will help you get the right product the FIRST time. Just in time for the holidays!
  • Shopping.com – offers different products listed neatly with prices from different websites and manufacters. Does anyone need solar lighting for their yard? Or pink flamingos? Seriously now, someone pays $90 for a pink flamingo???
  • Thestorebook – offers customer-centric local retailer promotions. Businesses can send specials and flyers to their local target market!

Next up Ian creates a wave of snickers with his “GOOOOD Morning San Francisco”. Um ya…we are in San Jose, but good morning anyway, Ian 🙂

Time for a quick plug…Panamap is a fun map you can get when you are traveling to a new city, its made by Urban Mapping of course, you should check it out and you’ll be in the know everywhere you go!

On to the good stuff…let’s talk stats.

What percentage of searches are local? 40% of queries are inherently local.

Further breakdown:

  • 8% of where your dollar goes as a consumer is within 10 miles of your house.
  • 5% of search terms use a US city and / or state
  • 2% search terms use informal space (ie neighborhoods)
  • .05% search terms use ZIPs

So….we’re looking at about 7-8% of total search queries are local. There is still lots of room to grow!!!

A ‘lil marketing history so we can put this in perspective:

Q. When did User Generated Content start?
A. around ‘79 with Zagat the restaurant rating guide.

Q. When was the first traceback?
A. with direct mail tracking codes from the 60’s

Q. What was the original local search? (besides the town gossip)
A. The good ‘ol Yellow Pages in 1857

Takeaways:

  1. Take a lesson from the past to understand user behavior now
  2. Get the data right (business listings, spatial, inventory)
  3. Permit bidding on long tail geo-modified keywords, they WILL convert!

Joel was up next, with Krillion.

What does Krillion do? They are a real-time location based product search, and they enable consumers to quickly find and buy what they want locally.

Who do they work with? Leading manufactures and retailers, of course.

Who do they reach? Search engines!

72% of consumers research online, but 95% + purchase offline. So your online pushes can SIGNIFICANTLY lift your in store sales. Store owners….are you listening?! Um Krysta! 🙂

But WHERE is the consumer doing this so-called research?

  • Manufacture sites (Mercedes Benz, Canon, you know)
  • Retailer sites (car dealerships, online stores, local stores)
  • Search (the big 3 – Google, Yahoo, MSN)
  • Shopping sites (overstock, ebay)

So its a good idea to SPREAD your info everywhere!!!

Krillion has a product locator and that is the main key and call to action which accelerates IN STORE sales. Also the real-time in store availability is KEY, people KNOW they can get it NOW. And we all know they want it now.

Case study: Panasonic, Krillion powers the “where to buy” section

Panasonic had a static dealer locator, mission info, and a dead end before. NOW, they have streamlined the process by offering a real time product locator (here’s who has it and where its at) What does that do for the consumer???

Results:

  • Clickthroughs at 70% to the store – HOLY – these aren’t lookers these are buyers!
  • Far exceeded in store sales goals
  • Alternative Opportunities. If the product isn’t available locally it suggests something else similar. Before the website said not found…SERIOUS? to a consumer that = go away! Not only will this help sway people to buy SOMETHING, it has the potential to upsell the order. Good thinkin’

What’s next for Krillion?
Integration with 2 major search engines in the next 6 months
Iphone for local shopping…ooooooohhhhh

Lookin good! Next up we had Steve.

He suggested we need to try to stand out locally by writing a review for our own local business. Add your keyword in your business name if possible. Create the Yahoo enhanced listing (we have a package for that!). If you enhance your Y! listing you’ll get 1.8X more CALLS. In a nutshell, get your business on there, get keywords in there, get verfied, get calls. Did I mention we have a package for this?? For $199?????

More good tips that are going directly into our manuals:)

  1. Link to your local listing from your website
  2. Anchor text the link with key phrase matching the key phrase you placed in business name
  3. Google is more likely to rank a source like yahoo local rather than your website especially if your site is new. Yahoo is ALWAYS a backdoor to Google. We’ve been getting our clients in the backdoor for years…are you there?
  4. Also don’t forget to optimize for video!
  5. Create a separate page for your video on your site. Surround it with a description and link to your youtube page with anchor text being the keywords you would like to rank for
  6. Submit the same description to each video site (Yahoo video, Utube, Google video)
    Include your keywords in the title and the business name in description, not the other way around.

Fun fact: There was a Video impact study by Enquino which showed companies received 2.2x more attention on the results page if the company had adwords AND an organic listing on the same page. This is why you need both organic and PPC results.

VIDEO ups it even more, 3.34X. So get that video indexed!

What are web references? How do Yahoo and Google rank local listings? They are scanning the web and seeing how many times these keywords and businesses are mentioned. YAY YAY YAY that means our sponsored blogs for the Chamber and LeTip are gonna rock. They already do.. for example we got people on page 1 for Orange County dry cleaner who are not even clients, just fellow chamber members we blogged about.

Ok Jarrett, we gotta get a local directory in voicemybiz.com. Can we???

Web Citations tips and tricks
Citations is also a web reference…when someone mentions your business. A citation in this format is a GOOD thing, its not like a traffic citation, lol. AGAIN this work for our pay-it-forward networking blogs… the phrase or biz name doesn’t have to be linked… it just has to be mentioned. SWEET!

How Google Local works
When you submit to Google maps (local) and you give them a URL, they crawl the URL and FOLLOW the outbound links. Google thinks if you have a site, this is your business info, and they expect your links out will be relevant. A good strategy then is to add a link to your Utube page on your homepage so they index that too. So link, link, link to all your other local listings so they will see them easier.

Free phone tracking!!!!! Via Google!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did I die and go to heaven???
Here are the steps:

  1. Go to Google.com create an audio campaign. Hit get started now and act like you’re gonna make a POST pay campaign
  2. When you see the link that comes up that has call tracking and call reporting click it. Don’t PAY! Just get to the section for the phone tracking and fill out everything and get your reports and email Steve with a huge thank you. I seriously think I am going to hug this man. Another local advocate – Whoop whoop!!! I am so going to implement all your advice. Our clients love you.

Meredith was up next, she’s with Google! Damn the above probably won’t work long LOL

Meredith talked about cross marketing clients who advertise in radio, phone, TV and print and how they were able to expand Google advertising into that online space.

We all know how important it is to be there when the customer is looking for us. But if you limit to just those who know you, what about the ones who want to know you???

For those with AdWords accounts… in your account you can place ads on print, audio, and TV right from Google. REALLY? Ok gotta get that going on. You can manage your campaigns in the same interface, love it!

Case study: Blue Nile

They ran Google print ads and tracked using a unique url and a unique offer. 29% increase in those areas where the print ads ran.

Then they tried a new ad format with a consumer response tag, to test the market. What happened?

  • It drove 6.5% more revenue.
  • Google keyword search drove the most responses
  • Readers spent 90% more time on website and visited 2x as many pages

Another case study was GolfNow. They connect golfers to unsold inventory at specific local stores who are willing to sell it at discounts. Hmmm….glad hubby doesn’t know about this site 🙂
They did print and audio. 29% increase and 34% increase in their target cities. The GolfNow testimonial said this usually takes 3-4 years to get to a new city and we made huge strides in 1 month. Sweet, take a year or two off and you’re still ahead of the game lol. They also automated ads based off weather, and it worked good.

Case 3: Hanley Center

They wanted to increase enrollment for the rehab center. They ran google TV ads, radio ads, to reach certain demographics and geo targets. The call to action on the website was to download the brochure. What happened?

  • Brochure requests increased by 40%
  • TV campaigns showed what markets were most responsive
  • Their Feb. was a record month due to this

More about cross marketing in Google. Google grabs a ton of anonymous data and tells you how many impressions your ad had, they will tell you what percentage of people stayed to the end of your ad, all this goodness that’s so important.

Also go to Google analytics and it will report back on TV, Audio, and Print too! Ah, Google, I still love you. You want me to succeed. Analytics is going to be a huge one stop shop for Vow2Save!!!!!

Questions:

I’m hearing conflicting info about keywords in the title? Is it ok or is it spam?? As long as you keep it consistent and don’t be too spammy its ok.

We run an ad agency for Doctors and most of our guys can’t afford or want to afford our services to do this for them? This is a huge issue for a lot of local people? What are the high impact things they can do?? Give them Steve Svin top 10 seo or sem tricks. Optimize one listing and give it to a provider that will get it out to everywhere (like localize, axiom)

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