Local Search Highlights in the 2015 Internet Trends Report

Jon Schepke (with Search Engine Watch) pulled some great insight from Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends Report – and, in reading between the lines – could see that all lines point to… Mobile & Local Search.  So if you’re still on the fence about mobile and local search marketing & optimization strategies, you might as well hand in your Marketing Badge right now.  Here were his key take aways;

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Optimizing for Mobile is TABLE STAKES

  • Mobile searches have overtaken desktop search (sooner than projected)
  • Mobile use has also overtaken desktop use, on a daily basis (see the chart above).
  • 73% of the planet has a mobile phone
  • “if your local search strategy fails to address the mobile consumer, you might as well not have a local search strategy”
  • See Google’s recent release of Micro Moments noting that ‘near me’ searches have increased 34 times in 2011 (in Q4 2014, 80% of those searches were conducted via mobile devices).
  • See Forrester’s push of Mobile Moments, by definition, “a point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants immediately, in context.
  • See Facebook’s Retailer Beacons for businesses to offer deals & content for consumers in store via Place Tips.
  • In most cases, mobile (and mobile search) is the MOST direct connection between your company & consumer demand.

Get Ready for MOBILE WALLETS

  • “Brands that convert ‘near me’ searches into revenue through appealing mobile wallet offers are solving for the “last mile” of local search.” (truly creating a full circle consumer behavior).
  • Whole Foods has seen mobile payments surge by 400% since adopting Apple Pay.
  • Pep Boys has seen a seven-figure sales result from mobile wallet.

Why Restaurant Websites Matter…

A great new article from Thomas Stern (ZOG Digital) in RunningRestaurants.com with “Why Restaurant Websites Matter in Today’s Local Search Environment“.  Google algorithm changes are affecting restaurants and changing the game – making it easier for local mom & pop restaurants (with 1 location) to rank at the top of search.  It’s left major restaurant chains (both corporate and franchised) struggling to catch up to the little guys.

Local searchers are actively looking for restaurants more than any other business including realtors, clothing retailers, auto part stores or pharmacies, according to YP. The opportunity to reach local searchers is huge, with four out of five consumers using search engines to find information on local businesses according to Google. Google’s research also shows that nearly 20 percent of local smart phone searches lead to a purchase within a day.

Restaurants have an untapped opportunity to increase their visibility in local search rankings and capture the attention of local searchers by developing and executing a local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Local SEO is a powerful marketing tool because of its ability to connect restaurants with consumers at the exact moment that the consumer is making a purchasing decision. The higher the restaurant is in local search ranking, the more likely a consumer is going to see its specific location and consider it.

Local SEO: The Most Powerful Customer Acquisition Strategy

Last week, ZOG Digital held a webinar entitled “Digital Marketing for Multi-Location Businesses” – presented by ZOG, UBL and Forrester – as a 101 course in the who, what, where, why and how of Local SEO or Local / Mobile Search.  Like most marketers, I don’t have time for webinars – but I DO have time for… you guessed it – Cliffs Notes.  Here are the Cliffs Notes (Article) from that webinar that illustrate the importance of, and how to accomplish optimization within Local / Mobile Search for a Multi-Location Business.


Local search engine optimization has proven its ability to drive in-store sales.

ZOG Digital & QSR Magazine, July 2014.

  • Local SEO success comes with three tactics; On-Page Optimization, Local Directory Syndication and Local Link Building.
  • With On-Page Optimization, if location-based information is not indexable, it will reduce your search rank and visibility to local searchers.
  • With Directory Listings, the more directories that cite a business’s location data, the more credibility it is given by search engines, increasing search rank.
  • With Local Link Building, it is the quality and quantity of links that matters – a time consuming task, done on a localized level, with local keywords, on external websites that have local reach.
  • Relevance.  Restaurants are the most searched for industry on mobile browsers and mobile apps.
  • Conversion Timeline.  90% of mobile searchers convert within the day, 64% within the hour of their search query (Source: Nielsen).
  • Competitive Advantage.  The restaurant industry is currently, generally unsophisticated in the adoption of Local SEO, thus providing an opportunity to gain a head start on optimization that will pay off months and years down the line.

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Local SEO 101 – Part 3

Last week, ZOG Digital held a webinar entitled “Digital Marketing for Multi-Location Businesses” – presented by ZOG, UBL and Forrester – as a 101 course in the who, what, where, why and how of Local SEO or Local / Mobile Search.  Like most marketers, I don’t have time for webinars – but I DO have time for… you guessed it – Cliffs Notes.  Here are the Cliffs Notes (part 3 of 3) from that webinar that illustrate the importance of, and how to accomplish optimization within Local / Mobile Search for a Multi-Location Business.


Forrester: Data Driven Marketing – Local Search and Attribution

View the Slides Online > Data Driven Marketing

  • The current state in cross-channel attribution is that only 7% of marketers use attribution analytics to improve marketing accountability, hence defining the VALUE of marketing tactics.  Marketers that do not track these metrics are simply making assumptions or educated guesses at what works.
  • Cross-channel attribution is complicated, but can provide deeper customer insights.  Managing cross-channel attribution, Adidas was able to confirm that mobile search optimization was a key driver in in-store sales.
  • In the Adidas Case Study provided, mobile optimization efforts led to a 680% incremental increase in ROI with in-store foot traffic and purchase.  Out of their test segment, 1 in 5 mobile searchers visited a store, 13% of those converted in-store with AOV of $71, leading to Mobile to In-Store Conversion assumptions of 20% of mobile searchers in-store convert with AOV of $80.  Therefore, each store locator click was worth $3.20.
  • What can you do to embrace cross-channel attribution?
    Manage and connect all data, across devices and channels.
    Choose a mix of analytical techniques that drive balanced marketing performance insights.
    Deploy attribution measurement not as a project, but as a way to drive customer value.

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Local SEO 101 – Part 2

Last week, ZOG Digital held a webinar entitled “Digital Marketing for Multi-Location Businesses” – presented by ZOG, UBL and Forrester – as a 101 course in the who, what, where, why and how of Local SEO or Local / Mobile Search.  Like most marketers, I don’t have time for webinars – but I DO have time for… you guessed it – Cliffs Notes.  Here are the Cliffs Notes (part 2 of 3) from that webinar that illustrate the importance of, and how to accomplish optimization within Local / Mobile Search for a Multi-Location Business.


UBL: Business Profile Management

View the Slides Online > Business Profile Management

  • Local Mobile Searches(85.9 billion) are projected to exceed desktop searches (84 billion) for the first time in 2015 (eMarketer).
  • Search engines are the #1 information source used when looking for a local business / service (Thrive Analytics, Local Search Survey, August 2013).
  • Listing Syndication requires 4 actions; Claiming listings, Submit to aggregators, Submit to verticals, engage with a listing management service.
  • Google Places make it easy to check out KPIs for business listings (impressions, actions, top search queries, directions, by date), see image below.
  • Top business listing issues to look out for;
    • missing listings on key websites
    • corporate vs. branch or franchisee listing conflicts
    • branding inconsistencies
    • unclaimed locations or lost passwords
    • mismatched phone number w/ use of call tracking numbers
    • address variations
    • deficient or inaccurate categorization
    • website URL inconsistencies, misdirection
    • photo formats and bad image links
    • poor or incomplete descriptions

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Local SEO 101 – from ZOG Digital, UBL and Forrester

Last week, ZOG Digital held a webinar entitled “Digital Marketing for Multi-Location Businesses” – presented by ZOG, UBL and Forrester – as a 101 course in the who, what, where, why and how of Local SEO or Local / Mobile Search.  Like most marketers, I don’t have time for webinars – but I DO have time for… you guessed it – Cliffs Notes.  Here are the Cliffs Notes (part 1 of 3) from that webinar that illustrate the importance of, and how to accomplish optimization within Local / Mobile Search for a Multi-Location Business.


ZOG Digital: Digital Marketing for Multi-Location Businesses

View the Slides Online > Digital Marketing for Multi-Location Businesses

  • How Local SEO impacts the Consumer Decision Path
    • 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information
    • 84% search on computer or tablet
    • 88% search on smartphone
    • 18% of local smartphone searches lead to a purchase within a day
    • Source: Google / Ipsos MedicaCT/Purchased, Research: Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior, May 2014.
  • Major Factors that Influence Local Search Rankings
    • 50% of influence = local directories
    • 19% of influence = on-page SEO
    • 10% of influence = reviews
    • 6% of influence = social signals
    • 6% of influence = website performance
    • 9% of influence = personalization
    • Source: Local Search Ranking Factors 2013 Survey, David Mihm / Moz
  • How to Optimize for Local SEO
    • Develop unique location page content
    • Conduct keyword research, by location
    • Utilize structured data to guide search engines (shema.org preferred)
    • Link local directory listings to their applicable location page
    • OR – hire a marketing agency with Local SEO expertise to do it for you.

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You know it’s #TipTuesday when…

…when two great, relevant tips cross your desk like;

ZD’s Local SEO / Visibility & Footprint Tracker – with info on;
Inline image 1
…bonus points for including an #Infographic, right??  Here’s to #TipTuesday!

The Trifecta of Local Search

Talk about bizarre – 1 day after the launch of ZOG Digital’s Local Footprint Tracker, Google also releases a new local search study in Think Insights, and Search Engine Watch leads with the same hot story.  Could it be a coincedence?  Nope.  We’re in co-hoots with Google and SEW to make sure that marketers finally get it – the “Trifecta of Local Search”.

What’s in the trifecta?  It’s the recipe for success within local search;

  • On-Page Optimization (SEO-optimized locations pages, preferably static, owned assets)
  • Localized Link Building (High quality link building with local keyword anchor text links to SEO-optimized locations pages)
  • Directory Syndication (including automated and manual processes, web, mobile and social directories – like Google Places / Pages, Facebook, Yelp, etc.)

The fourth component to gaining local visibility in search isn’t organic.  Paid Search and other Advertising options (Yelp.com) will boost local visibility immediately, especially in cases where organic Local Search results make take time to increase in rank – or – for seasonality / event influx.

This “Trifecta” is very simple in its approach – one reason why single unit businesses and restaurants outperform chain restaurants and multi-location businesses – because their content is simple – typically one very basic web page, and basic directory syndication, with some high quality links.  Something that gets lost in corporate chaos.

4 Google Changes worth Considering

Mary Weinstein of Search Engine Watch provided some great insight into recent changes w/ Google’s algorithm – and – the HISTORY of changes to the algorithm (great resource!);

  • Keywords NOT PROVIDED (more organic search encryption, GREAT!) – NOTE, the amount of “not provided” data on Google is now at 81%!  A great reason to setup Webmaster tools to help with insight into some of that ‘not provided’ data.
  • That big black ‘beta’ bar called ‘Google Shopping’ or the new format for Local Search Results (for specific industries only – like travel/tourism, food, etc).  Note – if this takes off, could it take down Yelp!?  STAY TUNED!
  • Google Hummingbird, powered by voice recognition, now increasing the value of optimizing for conversational search.
  • Google+ Shared Endorsements for Product Listing Ads – maybe it IS worthwhile to engage in Google+ after all…?
  • AND, here’s my favorite part… just when you think Google isn’t THAT IMPORTANT…

Google squashed Wall Street projections for YOY with a reported $14 billion in revenue for Q3 2013, and a net income of $2.97 billion, a 12% increase.

Google doesn’t mess around with search, and they are aiming to be the destination for product searches and purchases online. Google Shopping may make a lot of changes, but if you’re an online merchant that’s looking to profit, Google is the largest revenue and traffic generating shopping channel.

Thanks, Mary!

google-local-pizza

The Wisdom of Friends…

Firstly, as Facebook director of local Emily White pointed out on Monday morning, our experience of the internet is increasingly defined by “the wisdom of our friends, rather than the wisdom of the crowds”. Facebook wants that experience translated as much as possible into the real world, so our activity, as much as our opinions and our party photos, is logged and shared online.

“The wisdom of friends has taken over from the wisdom of crowds, through a highly personal experience in the real world, and Facebook local enables users to take that Facebook identity out and about with them as they experience the real world – likewise using that to inform that Facebook identity,” said Emily White, Facebook’s director of local. “Places is the ‘where’ to ‘what am I doing’ and ‘who am I with’. And it allows businesses to start joining the conversation.”