Local Search is undeniably an important criteria to take into account for any SEO strategy. The ultimate SEO chick Lisa Myers looked at the international impact Google Places had on many businesses. During this session Lisa has given us tips and shared her personal experiences on developing an effective local search strategy.
Local and Social account for the fastest growing trends within search. A total of 20% of all Google searches are now related to local search. Google Places has also grown rapidly and is currently operating in 100 countries.
You might have noticed that local search results are dominating SERPs, but it is a misconception that Google Places is just for small businesses. It is not! The reason for that is the increase of smart phones usage across the globe with local intent searches on the rise. Still don’t think so? Then let me give you an easy to understand, real-life observation: more and more sectors and industries join Google Places. Here’s a list of business sectors embracing the evolution of Google Places
- Accommodation: hotels, properties, etc
- Leisure, entertainment: restaurants, bars, cafes, etc.
- Health and Medical
- Consumer Services: plumbers, hairdressers, etc.
- Business to business
- Public transport
Lisa highlighted the ‘evolution’ further by providing us with survey which was conducted in 5 different European countries with agencies as well as client side.
The sectors or industries benefiting the most of Google Places are Consumer services, entertainment and leisure as well as accommodation. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this varies from country to country. The above example is appropriate for Denmark but not particularly for France. The bottom line though is that Google Places has a significant impact on businesses in relation to search.
With mobile on the rise a high percentage of brand searches is conducted with the intent to find or contact a telephone number and address. According to Lisa ‘Google is the new landing page, and it has been for a while’.
So what do you do when you are an international brand? The answer is global-local campaigns whereas emphasis has to placed on
- Bulk uploading/verification
- Management and streamlining strategy
Location, Relevance, and Prominence are the key ingredients for any global-local campaign.
What to avoid
- Under no circumstances start to keyword spam
- Unless in your brand name don’t put keywords in title
- Don’t use international numbers BUT local telephone numbers
- Ensure that your contact information (address and telephone number) provided are the same throughout
Another important signal are citations. Simply put, citations are mentions of your business’ name and contact details in close proximity on a webpage, meaning it does not necessarily have to be a directory. Keep in mind though that directories are very useful and some hold more value than others. Also keep in mind that directories vary from country to country. Here now Lisa’s golden citation rules:
- Consistency: ensure your business’ name and contact details are the same
- Major datacenters: some ‘mentions’ are more valuable than others
- Local directories: source your local directories and ensure you are featured in them
- Citation competitor analysis: simply go to your competitors Places pages and underneath the reviews click the link ‘more from around the web’ which will give you an outline of their existing citations.
Additionally, reviews have been identified as another important ranking signal, some might as well argue that this is the most important signal. Here’s what we have learned about reviews today
- Reviews have also have a high impact on CTR
- 5 reviews can already make a big difference to your ranking, so go on and boost them with more genuine reviews
- the same applies for the ‘star ratings’, usually 2 stars account for a pretty impressive boost
- on the other hand a review which scores 1 or less is very likely to have a negative impact on your rankings
Okay, so we now know that reviews are crucial, but how do we generate them?
- Contact your existing customers (mail, email, etc.)
- QR codes (in magazines, menus, business cards, etc.) which will take the customer directly to Google Places with the option to leave a review.
- Set up a competition, to encourage customers to share their experiences
- Offer them an incentive this could be a discount for their next purchase
THINK GLOBAL – GO LOCAL!
In order to manage a global-local campaign you need to educate globally, organize centrally and manage execution locally!