DOs & DON'Ts of Local Search by 15miles


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15miles, the Local Search division of Geary LSF, presents the Dos & Don'ts of Local Search in the first webinar in a series following the launch of the 6th Annual Local Search Usage Study.

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  • Your moderator today is Dan Stiehr, Director of Client Services for 15miles. Dan is based out of St. Louis and is a Local Search expert.Presenting today is Gregg Stewart.Gregg is a SoLoMo expert and digital advertising thought leader. As North American President of international digital advertising agency, Geary LSF, and founder of local-search agency 15miles, Gregg’s expertise in interactive advertising is extensive. Additionally, Mr. Stewart contributes regularly to Clickz and Search Engine Watch, and for six years and counting, has co-published the renowned ‘Local Search Usage Study’ revealing groundbreaking trends and data in the local-search arena.
  • Each year, 15miles, alongside Neustar/Localeze and comScore, conducts a study that seeks to understand how consumers are finding and interacting with local businesses. We presented the initial findings from the 6th annual Local Search Usage Study in a webinar in early May, and we’ll be hosting follow-up webinars like this one to dive more deeply into specific areas referenced in that study. Today’s area of emphasis is local search. We’ll be presenting on the importance of Local Search and the DOs and DON’Ts anyone planning to implement a Local Search strategy, should know.Future webinar topics will include mobile and ratings & reviews strategy, among others.
  • There are several reasons why you need a local search strategy in placeAs you can see in this screen shot, local search results have seen significant increases in visibility on Google’s search results page. Here we have a result for a very highly competitive keyword, restaurants, and Google’s choosing to show local results ahead of all organic results. Increasingly we see this sort of result, or local results showing up as the second or third listing in the organic section of search results. Additionally, searchers who use local results tend to exhibit very high purchase intent (source the Local Search Study). These are searchers who have completed the research phase of the purchase consideration process, and are looking for the closest merchant, or the one offering the best service or price. And the numbers of searchers using local results continues to grow, Google estimates that 30% of all searches have local intent behind them.Finally, local search makes for a very efficient way to ensure that new locations gain visibility online, that closed locations are removed, and that changes are administered.
  • Claiming & optimizing your location listings on Google is absolutely one of the first steps you should take in embracing local search. Doing so will deliver stronger visibility on category search terms, thereby developing new online and offline traffic opportunities for you.It gives you control over the messaging conveyed in these listings, as you can customize the business description messaging you offer, as well as images shared on the page.You will also be able to deliver a better brand experience for visitors to your listings. And as Google continues their efforts to integrate local results with Google+ pages, you will see some unique opportunities to synergize local and social. There are defensive benefits as well. If your page is unclaimed, someone else may try to assume control, or may post content that doesn’t reflect your brand vision.And it gives you a chance to respond to ratings and reviews posted by your customers. (discuss why this is important)
  • Ratings & reviews impact two major areas: the consumer decision-making process & Google’s local algorithmThe are three tiers to an effective ratings & reviews strategy:-developing a response plan-monitoring discussion & responding accordingly-generating legitimate new reviews from satisfied customersThe arrows in the screenshot to the right call out the impact that high volumes of reviews have on local search rankings
  • We often encounter scenarios where individual locations claim their own listings, or make inquiries to corporate as to whether they can. We strongly encourage all brands to centralize these efforts. When you leave this work to individual locations, you run the risk of not getting the right info published, not getting it published in the right places, not updating new info, or having accounts tied to individuals who may no longer be with the company, to name a few. Here’s an example we recently encountered in which a location appears to have claimed their own page. Aside from the obvious lack of optimization on the Google Places page itself, you can see here that when clicking through to the landing page listed, you get a website with a broken image at the top, no content, and lists of cities. You definitely don’t want to give local stores or franchisees the chance to create this sort of negative brand experience
  • There are many possible outcomes that might result from a local search – a visit to your site, a call to your location, a visit to your local profile page, or a direct visit to your location. Some of these are going to be more difficult than others to measure, but there are simple things you can do, like implementing tracking URLs, to assess the value of your local search efforts
  • Using call tracking lines to measure local search call volume sounds like a great way to measure performance; however…Can confuse Google if the line you provide doesn’t match citations already on other platformsWhat happens if you don’t renew the line? You may wind up with dead lines in your listings, or lines for the wrong departments. In the example seen here, the first listing has been disconnected since 2011Are you creating unnecessary expense for yourself? You may wind up paying for calls you would have received anyway, negating the cost efficiencies involved in local search
  • We see many brands & agencies make the mistake of assuming that traditional SEO tactics will lead to local SEO success. In fact, while the spirit of the two disciplines has some overlap, the algorithms driving each differ, and each requires a different set of tactics
  • When developing a PPC campaign, we generally recommend that clients focus their budget on Google until they’ve exhausted the opportunity, because Google owns such a dominant share of the search market & tends to drive higher quality visits. However, in the local arena, there’s some valuable incremental traffic to be had from other sites. Additionally, Google actually checks the data found on these other sites to validate its own information.So having a presence on these sites will empower you to drive more traffic and send positive signals to Google that the data you’re providing it is accurate.Plus, with the continued rise in importance of mapping and navigation tools, it’s imperative that you have a solution in place for pushing data to those sources
  • As digital media has evolved, many brands have sought to insource SEO, PPC, and other efforts to save moneyThe merits of this can be debated. With the right staff and resources in place, it can be very successful, but we also see it miss the markLocal SEO is an area where outsourcing may actually be the most cost-effective route, and here’s why:The biggest reason is the hard costs involved with a local program. While you can negotiate a deal with the major data aggregators, these programs use volume-based pricing. Based on the thousands of listings we manage for our clients, there’s a very good chance we can offer a lower price for a complete package of local SEO than you could get for providing data to a single aggregator!Additionally, as with any attempt at insourcing, there’s a learning curve involved. We’ve invested countless hours building a strategy and process for Local SEO. Replicating that effort – and staying on top of local search landscape and technical changes, as we do on your behalf, will require many hours of work from your team.And of course there’s always the issue of opportunity costs. Is there missed visibility based on your team taking extra time to learn local SEO, or based on them not executing correctly? When your team is focused on local SEO, what projects are they NOT working on?
  • We live in a multi-modal world. Consumers will typically engage your brand at multiple touchpoints during the purchase consideration process. So you must be cognizant not only of the importance of a local strategy, but also how that strategy aligns with paid search, organic search, shopping results, your web site, social media, and of course how all of those components differ from the desktop to laptop to mobile to tablet experience. So as you craft your local strategy, make sure you understand how local complements the pieces you already have in place:-can it alleviate cost burden by driving traffic on expensive ppc terms?-can it deliver visibility on phrases you can’t crack traditional organic listings for? And will local results push the organic rankings you already have further down the page?-does your current web site have strong local pages to deliver the local relevance Google is seeking when it ranks local businesses?These are just a few of the considerations to take into account when planning your local marketing activity
  • We’ve shared a lot of great information with you today, and we know the biggest challenge is figuring out where to start. I’d suggest the following three priorities as your immediate action items:Claim & optimize your location listings on Google. This is the highest visibility area and you’ll see the most online and offline traffic from it.Support those efforts by submitting through the data aggregators we mentioned earlier. This will drive incremental traffic & actually supports your efforts on GoogleAudit your ratings & reviews strategy. Begin by answering the question of who, if anyone is monitoring and responding to reviews, and then develop your approach radiating out from that answer. Of course, we at 15miles are eager to help with these priorities and anything else related to local marketing. We invite you to reach out to us with questions at (contact info) and we’ll be sure to follow up with you as well.
  • DOs & DON'Ts of Local Search by 15miles

    1. 1. Local SearchDOs & DON’TsWebinar June 2013
    2. 2. Today’s PresentersPresenterGregg StewartPresident15miles/Geary LSFModeratorDan StiehrDirector, Client Services15miles
    3. 3. Today’s Webinar2013 Local Search Trends – available at• Why Local Search?• 5 Local Search DOs• 5 Local Search DON’Ts• Questions?
    4. 4. Why Do You Need a Local Search Strategy?High VisibilityHigh IntentHighly UsedHighly Efficient
    5. 5. Local Search DOsBest Practices & Considerations
    6. 6. Do – Claim & Optimize Local Listings
    7. 7. Do – Implement A Ratings & Review StrategyDevelopResponsePlanCaptureReviews &SentimentGenerateMore PositiveReviews
    8. 8. Do – Develop a Centralized ApproachIncorrectInformationUnoptimizedListingsLostCategoryVisibilityWrongLandingPagesCustomerPageHijackingPoor UserExperienceInability toRespond toReviewsOff-StrategyMessagingInability toReact toChanges
    9. 9. Do - Build Citations
    10. 10. Do – Measure Results Whenever PossibleLocalListingCall toyourlocationClick toprofilepageVisit toyour siteDirect visitto yourlocation
    11. 11. Local Search DON’TsCommon Pitfalls Seen in Local SEO
    12. 12. Don’t – Use Call Tracking Lines
    13. 13. Don’t – Assume SEO = Local SEOCitation Depth& ConsistencyProfileCompletenessProfileOptimizationLanding PageRelevanceGeographicProximityPositive ReviewVolumeOn-Page ContentVolume, Quality, &Type of InboundLinksSite ArchitectureSite AuthorityLOCALSEOTRADITIONALSEO
    14. 14. Don’t – Stop With Google
    15. 15. Don’t – Assume Insourcing Saves $• Volume-based pricing• Cost of hours spentlearning• Opportunity costs• Lost visibility?• Other projectsunattended?
    16. 16. Don’t – Overlook Strategic IntegrationConsumerPurchaseDecisionPaidSocialLocalMobileOrganicDisplayYour SiteShoppingResults
    17. 17. ReviewFour Immediate Action Items:• Claim & Optimize on Google• Support that with distribution through data aggregators• Audit your ratings & reviews strategy• And…
    18. 18. Contact UsDan StiehrDan.Stiehr@15miles.com314.471.8879