Local Search Marketing Blog
Archive for the ‘Local Search’ Category
The introduction of Facebook Places to Ireland last month has seen a rise in ‘check ins’. This is something FourSquare users have been doing for ‘donkeys years’. While some people like the feature, others get fairly irritated.
For those irritated people there is an upside. There is now a foursquare application that allows you to benefit from all these ‘check ins’ without checking in yourself.
The idea is to make it easy to avoid the crowds. Effectively it works in reverse to ‘check ins’. It analyses what days certain locations get the most ‘check ins’, and then advises what days these locations are likely to be least busy. So if FourSquare can tell you where people are, it can also tell you where people are not.
The application is called whenshouldIvisit. It is still in the early phases of development and only has information about several well known London locations. The Tate Modern for example. At present they have about 20 location in London, with plans to launch in San Francisco and New York.
Nice to see a bit of creative thinking around using ‘check in’ information.
The Local Search Team
Google introduce so many services, it can sometimes be hard to keep up. One that came to our attention recently is Google Weddings. The initial reaction was that Google are continuing to get themselves into ever more diverse areas and lose focus on their over all direction.
Then we read a good post by Andrew Shotland, which pointed out that weddings are both Local and Social. Two key areas where Google want to exert dominance.
In essense, very few occasions in life involve as many local buisnesses and local searches as a wedding. Also weddings are social, from invitations to travel arrangements, photo sharing to wedding messages.
Over time we will probably see Google begin to charge for premium advertising in this space. There are many half empty Irish hotels that would jump at the chance.
An interesting thing to consider is what Local and Social events Google will move into next. Birthdays, graduations, funerals, getting sick/well and births to name a few. Watch this space.
The Local Search Team
We hope the year is going well for everyone so far. We’ve had a busy few weeks taking on new clients who have decided to invest in online marketing . A common trend amongst all the people we have talked so far was that they got very little return on alternative forms of advertising like radio, business directory adverts (hard copy) and local news papers. Small business owners are beginning to realise that it is at least worth testing some form of online marketing.
As mentioned in our last post, we have moved offices. We’re delighted to be moving in with a very talented group of people in Junction Studios.
We have one concern about our move and that is how search engines will react to it. When it comes to local seo, citations are extremely important. By moving to a new physical address we will also have to alter our citations. Luckily we are staying within the Dublin 2 postcode. We’ve also taken a note of all the local directories and review sites that we’d had signed up to so we can alter them pretty easily. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the effects of the move and will aim to write a post on it in the future.
January 2011 Local Search Articles:
- Rodney Hess wrote an interesting review on a foursquare related iphone app.
- Happen to know of any business owners who have had to shut up shop? Well, Miriam Ellis reports on the trials and tribulations of letting Google know about it.
- FourSquare celebrated a 3,400% growth in 2010 and celebrated with this infographic.
- Andrew Schotland conducted some research on mobile marketing and shared it over on Search Engine Land and also on his own blog. Link love going to your personal site Andrew : )
If you come across any more interesting local search articles and would like them included in our monthly round up, drop us a line or connect with us on twitter @localsearchmkg
The Local Search Team
Anyone who works in the online marketing world knows how important it is to keep up with the latest happenings and search engines updates. We did a quick calculation with our team members and estimated that between all of us we spend between 15 and 25 hours per week reading the many online marketing news websites, forums and industry bloggers. The time estimate depends on work load and whether or not it’s a Champions League week. : )
We’ve decided to publish a monthly Local Search News Roundup of the top local search news stories, blog posts and industry press releases that we have come across in the previous month. If you would like you’re blog post or article to be included please email us the details or find us on twitter @localsearchmkg. Our focus is on local search so please make sure it’s relevant.
December 2010 Local Search Articles:
- Over on the Google LatLong blog, Senior Strategist Brianna Brekke wrote a post that was accompanied by a video on how local search rankings work.
- Myles Anderson from BrightLocal.com shares the findings of a couple of surveys that they conducted on consumer reviews in both the US and the UK. Once you’ve had a chance to read them, it’s worth checking out some of the local search tools that the guys have available and ones that are in the pipeline.
- Matt Magee shares his thoughts on some common misconceptions about Google Places & SEO since the new blended search results have appeared.
- And finally Dr.Pete carried out a local search experiment involving the ‘change location’ option in Google to see how accurate it was.
We wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year and look forward to making new connections in 2011.
Yet another new release from Google comes in the form of a personal recommendation engine called Google Hotpot. It integrates the reviews and ratings from Google Places with a personal dashboard. At the top of your dashboard a counter keeps track of your personal rating and reviews and there is also an option to keep track of your friends activity.
Google have indicated in the latest LatLong blog, that your friends reviews will show up in a new section of the Google Places page under “Recommended because,”. Also, if you’re signed in they will show up in Google search results and as well as when searching on Google Maps and Google Maps for Android.
Is This the Downfall of Local Directory Sites?
A couple of weeks ago Linda Buquet of Catalyst eMarketing noticed that Google were testing a new layout for local search results. The screenshots and notes were posted over on Mike Blumenthals blog and as well as an updated post on Linda’s own blog.
The Main changes according to Linda are:
1 – The Places listings are 3 times BIGGER and look like the organic results except they have a map pin.
2 – It’s pulling meta description from the site – just like organic. PLUS it adds some snippets from reviews on the Place page. So best of both worlds and BIGGER!
3 – As you scroll down the MAP scrolls with you. So even when you are at bottom of page in the organic listings the map moves down and shows on right.
4 – ONLY 7 (purely) organic listings show and in this instance most are directories or assn. Only 2 are Dentists.
5 – To get on the top TWO screens you need to be in local. Most of the organic are 2 screens BELOW the fold.
6 – Reviews are more prominent
7 – Link to Place Page is marked as such, instead of just “More Info” which means better branding and name recognition for Google Places
Why would Google bring in these changes?
Introducing a layout like this could lead to a potentially massive increase in income for Google from both Google Places and Adwords. Sooner than later all of the listings within Google Places will be using the newly introduced Google Tag ad to promote their services. This feature along with the sponsored listings means that any searches carried out with local intent will be a potential goldmine in revenue for Google through paid clicks.
If this change does come into effect, who are the winners and who are the losers?
Local directory sites like GoldenPages.ie, Yelp.ie and Menupages.ie will see a massive reduction in organic traffic due to their rankings being pushed to the bottom of page 1 or page 2. I wonder did Google’s failure to takeover Yelp influence the possible new layout. I think Andrew Shotland’s hilarious yet fitting post ‘Dead Fingers Walking?’ is an excellent account of how the local directory sites will feel.
And the winners?
Well, apart from Google, any businesses that have a well optimised local search campaign in place.
The third edition of David Mihms ‘Local Search Ranking Factors’ was released last week. It is a must read for anyone with an interest in local SEO. We’d recommend all Irish business owners to take a look at the survey in order to get an understanding of both the positive and negative factors when it comes to the local business rankings.
Before I go through some of the findings of the survey I’ll give you a brief background to it. Over 30 local search analysts from around the world give their opinions on the importance of 69 different factors and the effect they have on local business rankings. They grade each factor using the following scale:
Once all the data is collected each of the factors are ranked in order of importance and agreement rate.
According to this year’s survey the top 10 positive factors are as follows:
1 – General Importance of Claiming Place Page / Local Listing
If you haven’t already claimed your local business listing then make it a priority to do so. The sooner you claim it, the sooner you can start to expand it. Not sure how to go about claiming your listing? Contact us on (01) 6650428 and we’d be happy to help.
2 – Business Address in City of Search
This would seem like a pretty obvious one, although I have seen businesses located outside of specific counties rank within the 7 pack for other county related searches.
3 – Associating Place Page with Proper Categories
This is one area where a lot of Irish businesses get it wrong. When setting up a business listing in Google Places, make use of all 5 categories allocated. Currently, Google requires at least one category to be a default setting. The other 4 should be manually entered using the main service related phrases that you want to rank highly for. (Word of warning here – do not use a location as part of any of the phrases. It could get you kicked off the listings!!)
4 – Volume of Citations from Major Data Providers + *IYP Portals
This has been recognised as one of the most important off page factors. Aim to get your site mentioned on as many good quality local websites and directories as possible. *IYP = Internet Yellow Pages.
5 - General Importance of Off-Page / Off-Listing Criteria
The search engines regard data about your website on other websites as an important factor.
6 – General Importance of Customer Reviews
There was a mixed response from many of the experts surveyed. Overall it was agreed that is it still a very important factor, but a few felt it was becoming less important than it once was. Here at Local Search Marketing – we feel it is still essential to try and get positive customer reviews – for both ranking purposes and reputation. The customers always right!
7 – Quality of Citations from Major Data Providers + IYP Portals
As mentioned above in factors 4 and 5 – citations are very important. If they are coming from trusted sources then this will also help.
8 – Product / Service Keyword in Place Page Business Title
This is something that still works very well but is technically against the guidelines and could be considered spam. Don’t overdo it. If you do your listing may well disappear.
9 – Volume of Customer Reviews associated with Your Business
Still considered very important and will be for the foreseeable future. If your competitors have no reviews then make an effort to get a couple. It may make a big difference. ‘Practice what you preach’ I hear you say! – Were working on them! : )
10 – Quality of Unstructured Citations
Citations from a local, themed & high value are valuable.
To read the results of the full survey click here. If you are looking for advice or need help with your Google Places account, please contact us and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.
- The Mobile Movement - Understanding Smartphone Users
- Local Search Ranking Factors 2012
- Using PPC to Estimate RoI on Search Engine Optimisation
- Googles Panda Update - One Year Later
- Pay Per Click Advertising drives 6 times more offline sales than online sales - US Study Reveals
- Jill: Northern Irish based deal website offering deals North and South of the border
- Gary: Hey, just to let everyone know, www.jammygit.ie will be going live in the next 2-3 weeks. The aim of...
- Matthew: Also http://www.dealsoftheweek.ie For hotel deals direct.
- Ciaran: Hi guys just to let you know our site is now live!!Check out our deals in the NorthWest
- James: Check out www.biteabargain.ie We are launching soon and will be featuring deals ONLY in the food and beverage...