Local Search and Mobile Optimizationby Lisa Barone on 11/08/2011 • 1 Comment | Internet Marketing Conferences
And we’re back! This time we’re going to talk about something near and dear to everyone’s heart – local search! Up on stage we have Michael Dorausch, Eric Bramlett, and William Leake. Tim Mayer is on moderating duties which means we’re all treated to his awesome accent. While the gentlemen get themselves ready, why don’t you go grab yourself a snack from home. I’m currently mowing down some peanut M&Ms. I’ve already had one go rogue and bounce off my laptop.
Can we have a moment of silence for the lost M&M?
Okay. Lucky for you, I think we’re starting.
Up first is Eric Bramlett. He’s in the real estate space. I guess it doesn’t get more “local” than that. He’s going to talk about local reviews.
What matters to local search? You have to understand the mindset. Searchers make their decision based on the quality of the location and where it’s located. There’s not much you can do about your location. But your perceived quality can deviate over time. In the local space, your perceived quality is your online reviews.
Some businesses are lucky enough to serve a ton of customers. We see this in restaurants, hotels, casinos, etc. For casinos in Vegas, they each have thousands of reviews. They probably don’t have to worry too much about trying to generate them. They’re going to happen. But if you’re in a vertical where you don’t naturally have a lot of passionate customers, you need to create a review strategy to up your perceived quality.
Proactive Review Policy
Quality control/Customer Experience
Did they have a good experience? Work in your review strategy. If someone liked their experience, ask them to leave them a review about it. If they didn’t like their experience, you have to fix that first. Most people don’t leave reviews about places, you need to be persistent. Offer a reward if they do leave a review.
Where should you ask for a review?
- Yelp has come across as the front runner. They’ve buried pretty much everyone else.
- Google Places: 20 percent of all searches have local intent. Google serves up their Places reviews whenever a search has that local intent.
Understand the policies for each review outlet. Yelp cares A LOT about quality. If someone creates an account to write one review or if they’re stagnant but come back to life for one review, Yelp will filter the review. You need to find past customers that you already know and you need to contact them and ask them for reviews. The way you find past customers is you let Yelp scrape your email contact list. Friend every person they’ve identified and go through that and see whose active. Contact the people who are active and ask them for a review. If they’re not active on Yelp, ask them to leave a Google Place review instead. Google doesn’t care about quality. Google cares about quantity.
Is the review legitimate? If it is, fix the experience. Once you’ve corrected the problem, ask the customer to update the review and post your own short, poignant response. I don’t know why that made me laugh, but it totally did. Go be poignant, folks, be poignant.
If the review is not legitimate, help Google correct their mistake by flagging the review. He admits that probably won’t do anything. But flag it anyway. Then leave a poignant response. To help push it down, ask people to leave reviews to help push that negative one off the first page.
What shady tactics do my competitors use?
- They might report you closed. Two people reported Google Mountain View closed and it took Google months to fix it.
- They might use Mechanical Turk spam.
- Fiverr spam – People willing to leave positive or negative reviews for five dollars.
- Online Yellow Page Review Spam
Next up is Bill Leake.
He starts off by flashing us some stats. Stuff like:
- Product research and comparison shopping happens online. But 67 percent of those purchases happen OFFLINE.
- 90 percent of purchases are made within 50 miles of a person’s home
- By 2013 most people will use their mobile phones rather than their PC to get online.
- Mobile searches have grown by 4x since 2010
- There will be one mobile devices for every person on earth by 2015
- 60 percent of users expect a mobile site to load in three seconds or less
- 71 percent of users expert a mobile site to load as fast as a desktop site [Dude! That’s not even fair!]
- 78 percent will retry a site two times or less if it does not load initially.
- 57 percent would not recommend a business with a bad mobile web site
- 40 percent have turned to a competitor site after a bad mobile experience
- 23 percent of adults have cursed at their phone when a site doesn’t work
- 81 percent of users prefer mobile sites to apps for researching prices
- 79 percent of users prefer mobile sites for product reviews
- 63 percent prefer mobile sites for purchasing
Mobile isn’t just directions
- 70 percent of mobile users have compared product prices on their cell phone
- 95 percent of smartphones users have searched for local information
- 61 percent of users call a business after searching and 59 percent visit the location
- 12 major page elements in left hand column vs 22 major page elements
- Image search pubveg2010, no image search in 2011
- Shopping search in 2011, not in 2010
- News Search in 2011, not in 2010
- Map started floating just before PubCon
- PubConVeg2010 still had classic SEO listings blended into some of Places listings vs PubVeg2011 – classic @ top and bottom of page
- On Page Optimization
- Link Building
- Include City, State in Title tag
- Include physical addresses to pages
- Customize by page for multiple localities
- Forget Top 10, we’re talking Top Three
- Use Google Places
- No Flash
About the Author
Lisa Barone co-founded Outspoken Media in 2009 and served as Chief Branding Officer until April 2012.