What’s New with Local Search (from SMX East)

The following is a recap from a session at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East. Follow the conference and session on Twitter.

Google Maps has an evolved algorithm

  • Improved spam detection/reducation
  • Increased numbers of information sources
  • Has begun absorbing microformats/RDFa/Micro-data
  • Shifted to include “PlaceRank”

Google Maps spam detection/reducation

  • Hired more human staff reviewers to check data
  • Reported doing phone verification from offshore
  • Algortithmic “skepticism” – new listings need to have reinforcements from multiple authoritative sources (IYPs, data aggregators, local info sites, etc.)


Relative Popularity – what can help you rank better on Google Maps

  • Buzz
  • Wikipedia
  • Photos
  • Videos

Businesses might have to focus on PR to promote area to drive popularity and improve business popularity

What are citations/references?

  • Links to website
  • Mentions of website domain in plain text
  • Mentions of business name
  • Mentions of business street address/place
  • Mentions of business phone number

What else might produce citations?

  • Tweets about a place
  • Checkins and Facebook

What to do:

Clean up your profiles with something like UBL Citation and Auditing Tool

Chris Silver SmithKeyRelevance

Tools for Local Search

Local tools to save time

Local tools for competitive analysis

  • Location Citation Finder – find top places for citations
    • Uses user input
  • LocalSearchToolKit.com – competitive analsis
    • Uncover and emulate common attributes
    • Citation scraper
    • Review scraper
    • Category scraper
  • GetListed.org/default.aspx – industrial strength multi location data confusion tool (best for chains, multi-location businesses)
    • Checks listings on important local sites
    • Sales and reporting tool

Mary Bowling, seOverflow

Local Search, Today: Facebook Places & Google Instant

Facebook Local Business Pages

  • Address/info optional
  • Interact with Facebookers
  • CS, Events
  • Like button
  • Embed web page
  • Promote, ads

Facebook Place Pages

  • Location/info required
  • Lightweight Local Business Page
  • User check in
  • Claiming process
  • Can merge with a Local Business Page

Google Places – SEO benefit via web citations

Facebook Places – touch.facebook.com is SEO void

Facebook Local Business Pages – 25-50% associated!

Smartphones – Facebook Places (ContextOptional, PlacePop, NearbyFriends, and more)

Targeting “location keywords” may become less relevant for local businesses. (Google automatically uses your location.)

  • Google can triangulate your location from their street view
  • IP address
  • Logged into account

David Rodecker, LocalSplash.com

Call Advertising: Three Trends in Local Search

1. Advertisers are getting more sophisticated in how they track calls

  • Establishing more granular ad groups
  • Incorporating call mining to:
    • Reverse-engineer conversion data
    • Discover keyword “nuggets”
  • Leveraging call recording to learn how ad copy impacts consumer intent
  • Piloting IVR testing and targeting

2. The debate over tracking numbers in ad copy is getting more intense

  • Fans think:
    • It adds legitimacy to the listing
    • Gives consumers another way to respond
    • Increases Search ROI
  • Non-fans think:
    • It takes up too much space
    • It may depress quality score
    • Might create user dissonance

3. Mobile search provides an opportunity to reach a completely new audience

  • Consumers are leveraging feature phones to become more efficient
  • They are placing calls to businesses as a way to redeem dead time (when they wouldn’t have been able to in the past)
  • Many calls happen instantly at need
  • Consumers are increasingly likely to place a call in response to an ad

Brent Turner, Marchex, Inc.

What’s New with Local Search?

  • Searchers now EXPECT Local Results…
  • Engines are responding with relevant products
  • and Advertisers are responding with budgets (1/$10 of local ad spend is online; in 3 years, it will be 1/$4)

The Holy Grail? Measureable return!

  • Calls
  • Leads
  • Conversions

Sivan Metzger, KENSHOO

2 Responses to “What’s New with Local Search (from SMX East)”

  1. Drew

    Great tool list. As for measurable results. It’s something we should all strive for.