Local + Social – The Future of Promotion
This session of Search Engine Strategies San Francisco 2011 Day 3 focused on two of the hottest categories local search and social in online marketing. Right from Geolocation social media with FourSquare to Local Search Marketing with Google Places, this session offered various strategies for maximizing visibility on the local search and social web.
- Anne F. Kennedy, SES Advisory Board, International Search Strategist, Beyond Ink USA
- Benu Aggarwal, Founder & President, Milestone Internet Marketing
- Gregg Stewart, President, 15miles
The session was initiated by Gregg Stewart, who addressed the delegates by asking a question, what type of local businesses are in the audience? He then says that he will be discussing what is local space and and why it’s important. For him, local is ripe fertile ground that is usually at the end of the sales cycle. If you look at the importance of local search, you will find that almost every local search is mapped.
Gregg states the following points:
- Google place pages are viewed by millions of people.
- 20% of search are local oriented.
- While 83% of consumers of shop online at least weekly. There is a lot going on here.
- So 64% of small businesses think social media is not necessary.
Further, Gregg says that “social is a higher sales funnel” and for finding out local information and content, consumers from across the world are increasingly using more sources. When you start to look at local and the social dimension. Facebook for example, 1/3 of users access the site via mobile. So what is the local search foundation best practices? By raising this question, Gregg explains by saying that, “You need accuracy, distribution, signal strength, and enrichment”.
Some of the other things that needs to be taken into consideration are as follows:
The business name: This represents your business exactly as it appears in the offline world. For your business name do not include marketing taglines in your business name. Rather, you should include phone numbers or urls in the business name field. Also, don’t use keyword stuff.
For categories: You should provide at least one category from the suggestions provided in the form as you type. Categories should be specific, but brief.
Do not: You should never provide categories about what your business does or what it sells, but what your business is.
Custom attributes and description: This gives you a chance to tell about your business. To help ensure that consumers are able to find your pertinent business information, it is important that your business listings are distributed across multiple channels.
Gregg then says that after you distribute all your accurate business listings amongst the different channels, it becomes pertinent that all your listings should appear in a similar format. Explaining this, he said that for correcting an inaccurate local listings at the source,local requires a proactive approach . In discussing place page listings. Gregg also says that it is amazing how few business have claimed their place pages. He states that is one of the biggest opportunity for businesses to take control of their place pages and ways to optimize their pages. Whereas, if we look at the social part of local search, reviews and ratings are a component of that.
Putting forth his point Greg then shares his views when he looked at the ComScore data. The most revealing thing was when consumers were asked whether yellow pages were important? Most said yes, but they couldn’t find it. This implies that there is a problem of content. Question are citations still a local search signal?
Quoting the review from TripAdvisor, opentable.com, etc. Google removed these from the listings. Why? Not quite sure though the data is still there but it is very difficult to find. Gregg says that business do not abandon the reviews and ratings information. He also sates the following:
- Reviews are one of the most important optimization techniques when it comes to local listings and position rankings.
- Only 6% of consumers are leaving content out there.
- Users are lazy, ask them for a review.
- In terms of special promotions, this is helpful too for local search.
Gregg Stewart summed up by saying that basic business listing information is so very important.
Next in line was Benu Aggarwal who initiates by asking the audience some questions. Benu affirms that for local understanding your goal is very important. Further, explaining she says, that if you saturate all search engine buckets, it will be an ideal scenario for any platform. Also, she talks about crafting a platform for which you put out your business information. By saturating this information, one can leave a great impact on your local search.
Benu then puts up a graphic of a marketing funnel to explain the audience. The graphic displayed social at the top, web & mobile in the middle, and local is at the bottom. She then asks, So why do social interactions might not work? For example you put up a social media page. But it goes wrong because all your focus was just on creating the facebook page. It also proves that you had no strategy!
Benu, gives the example of Six Flags Fiesta Texas. She shows the facebook page for this place and explains that Six Flags had about 30 websites. They looked into analytics to find out what people where using to find them. Who were their users? After discussing with the example of Six Flags Fiesta Texas, she recommends to always geotarget, as it is very important and also you can use QR codes which works well.
The idea behind this is to:
- Convert local users into mobile users
- Encourage users to write reviews about the property
- Give them ways to connect with you
Benu concludes by putting up a flow chart that highlights content calender which is considered important and helpful to organize the information:
- Competitive & Marketing Analysis
- Perform Research & Create Social Marketing Strategy
- Creates Calender
- Design Channels & Push Live
The session ends here and proved beneficial for the audience. They can now use various strategies as discussed by eminent speakers of this session and maximize visibility on the local search and social web.
About the Author: Nav is the founder and CEO of Page Traffic, a premier search engine company known for its assured SEO service, web design and development, copywriting and full time SEO professionals. Navneet has wide experience in natural search engine optimization, internet marketing and PPC campaigns. He is a prolific writer and his articles can be found in the "Best Articles" section of many websites and article banks. As a search engine analyst , he has over 9 years of experience and his knowledge is in application here.