What’s new in Local Search and Mobile – SMX London

As many as 30% of all search queries have local intent, and the Google Places platform now operates in over 100 countries. According to IDC, more smartphones will be sold this year than computers which is astonishing and makes you realise just how entwined local and mobile search will become. The session mainly dealt with devlopments in local search, some “must do’s” when optimsing a places acocunt, alternative ways to track Google Places and mobile apps.

Just a heads up, webmaster radio tonight have a show, airing from 7pm, which features Local David Mihm, Martijn Beijk and Lisa Myers Don’t worry if you missed the the show, it will be up on State of Search tomorrow You can also download it from iTunes

Philippe Huysmans (EMEA Product)

Three phases of Local Search

  • The first date
  • Dating
  • Marriage

Once you have acknowledged and prepared all the information around you, you are able to enter into the first date by making your first query to make your first query. Once you have had your first date you get a deeper understanding of whether it matched your expectations, once you know what you want you can refine your query (dating phase) Once you have committed to what you want you continue to purchase the service or product and enter into a long term relationship (marriage stage)

Outside Influence

  • 44% of people influenced by peers
  • 37% leverage mobile to look for information after seeing product on television, print, outdoor media
  • 28% leveraging PC and mobile for more information after seeing a product on television

Partnerships at Scale

Integrating social information into local search is important and will be even more important as time goes on. The recent
Nokia and windows partnership is a demonstration of how important companies are taking local and mobile.

Bing Business Portal

This was released last month in US This is a FREE service and allows businesses to put their profile on the site. Features include:

  • Coupons and vouchers
  • More space for profile information
  • Hyperlocal ad opps

Social Signals

Vast amount of conversations happening online via social networking sites. 50% increase in consumers trusting their social network contacts for product recommendations

PC and Mobile Query Intent

  • 70% of PC complete search stages in 1 month
  • 70% of Mobile completes search stages in 1 hour

This might be a result of users following up research driven queries on their way home from work, but even so, the differences are vast.

Bing Deals

78% of consumers want special promotions

This is illustrated by the rise and evolution of affiliate voucher sites and similar sites such as GroupOn.

Hyperlocal Ad Opportunities

64% of consumers expect a business distance to be within 15 miles

Ads to be shown only 5 miles from my location (new feature from Bing)

National Scale w/ Local Presence

This is in beta stage so don’t go looking for this feature just yet. It involves looking for favourite brands in your location. Similar to a dynamic store locator.

In store engagement

  • 90% use mobile search
  • 84% shoppers use search as part of shopping activity
  • 46% of smartphone users compare prices in store

Bing Vision

Allows you to take a picture to get product info, prices and nearby stores.

From camera to Search – this lets you make a decision in store rather than at home

David Mihm (President of getlisted.org)

What’s new, Pussycat?

Better question, what’s NOT new as there are SO many new features over the past year, including:

  • QR Code integration
  • mobile apps
  • loyalty SMS messaging
  • lead gen sites

Examples of Bad Places Pages in UK

  • Italian restaurants in leeds
  • Costa coffee Exeter
  • Clinton cards Birmingham uk

The main reasons why places pages are optimised poorly are the following:

  • Not categorised properly
  • Poor data accuracy
  • Data incompleteness
  • Category incompleteness
  • Poor KW research to inform custom categories

Consider the following

1)    Mobile
2)    Pre website Conversion

Google products search is becoming localised and if you carry out a broad search in google on a mobile it detects your current location to populate the local listings

Pre website conversions

You can now make a booking on places page (industry dependent – hotels)

Need to start thinking of how you can convert on the place page – both literally (with new features) and persuading users intent to buy

Intergating rich snippets, sentiment snippets into a website will help Google pull this data through to Places pages

Good job in Local

Pipers farm Exeter

Sold before even went to website – important to gain affiliation before they visit your site

Category research for Places

Great resource on this area from:

Marybowling.com

Mary outlines that you can research (in Google insights) related categories and see the difference in volume to make educated decisons when choosing your custom tags in Google Places.

Bulk uploads

Important to have:

  • Unique phone number
  • Max out categories
  • Photos
  • Same domain for email account as business (delays process otherwise and not trusted as much)

Critical 3rd party Data Sources

Citations continue to be essential for ranking well in Place Search. It is your thumbprint so it has to match up everywhere on the web

Major UK Citations sources

Critical 3rd party review

  • Vertically relevant
  • Geographically accurate
  • Competitor Research

Competitive Intelligence

Not just “more info” section to discover citations but also: where are Google pulling photos from, sentiments from, anywhere with specified structured information

www.whitespark.ca/local-citation-finder

TIPS

  • Search both .com and .co.uk
  • Review organic results too
  • Blended Search
  • Half dependent on places algorithm
  • Got to ensure your site is associated with places page

Why the introduction of “packs”

  • Dramatically reduces instances of phoney locations
  • Diminishes incentive to spam business title
  • Less reliance on low confidence data sources

Best Practises in Local

  • Unique page for every location operate
  • Needs to be coded in html
  • Incard microformat is even better
  • Use city, state in title tags
  • Use internal geographic

On page Best Practises

  • Submit contact/location page as your places page
  • Stronger geographic scent more likely to rank
  • Cross link nearby locations

Good example of good store locator:

www.lakeland.co.uk/stores

TAKEAWAY

Submit KML sitemap in Google WMT
www.geositemapgenerator.com

Increase trust that this website belongs to this location.

Martin Beijk

What, how much, the why, the what else, the gold.

In order to do business effectively on the web you need to refine and optimise

GP dashboard minimal insight

GP Tracking

Google changed the format so now UTM tracking method disappeared.

Google is trying hard to keep visitors on the site for as long as possible, the addition of the places page highlights this

New or alternative tracking methods

  • Segments using customVar based on referrer
  • Segment of visitors that visited local pages (contact, itinerary)
  • Segment visitors that visited store locator page
  • Detect various behavioural differences

Darrin Clement

Search queries take into consideration existing location on mobile search

For example:

Restaurant {location will be automatically loaded}

Geofencing Use Cases

  • Static – special offer is sent via text message to opt in users when enter store
  • Dynamic – an open parking space message is sent to nearby mobile app users
  • Peer to peer social networking device that shows if friends are nearby

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