Archive for category SEO

Google tests new results page with more prominent 'local' results

Ever the experimenter, Google are testing new results pages where local natural listings and maps feature far more prominently than ever before.

With local now storming up the agenda across the search sector, large national and international brands need to strategically plan and support their local networks like never before.

Read a full write-up of the pilot pages here, at Mike Blumenthal’s excellent “Understanding Google Maps and Local Search” blog. (Details of the discovery were provided to Mike by Linda Buquet of Catalyst eMarketing).

Click the image below to see an actual size version.

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Google Places – Tags launched in US. UK soon?

Google announced today that they are rolling out Tags in the US. Essentially, the idea is that the Places page can now allow advertisers to highlight tactical promotions within the 7-pack display (below).

These yellow tags cost the advertiser a flat fee of $25 per month, and, with this increase visibility, are expected to lead to an increased usage of the voucher functionality of the Google Places page. Certainly, this off-site promotion logically seems to assist on-site conversion through promoted content.

For Google, it creates another advertising revenue stream, and with even only limited take-up, it seems a strong area for consistent and ongoing income. As Mike Blumenthal commented in his blog “Google has noted that 2 million businesses have claimed their listings. If there is even only a 10% adoption rate, it will mean income of $60 million/year for Google. I would guess that the uptake will be higher than that and once one 7-Pack entrant adds a Tag, there will be a certain pressure, logic not withstanding, for others in the 7-pack to do so as well.”

The new feature is also available immediately on Google Mobile, ensuring blanket coverage across Google’s US properties.

The remaining question, other than when we see this rolled out the the UK, has to be how effective, or indeed how much more effective will these offer-led links be, over and above standard links, or indeed standard sponsored links?

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Search, Maps, Hyperlocal – merging

This one’s a short summary
http://bit.ly/8PW6b2

This one’s a longer, fuller explanation
http://bit.ly/6PN2Hn

We can see that Google is starting to drag reviews of local businesses in from non-traditional review sources. Hyperlocal sites and blogs are now supplementing review based sites’ (e.g. Qype) content and actual reviews.

This means:

  1. you don’t have to be flaming (or praising) a company in Google Maps for it to show up there (surely only time before live Twitter feeds show to? With sentiment scores?)
  2. off hand comments regarding dealers/retailers will get more directly effective publication right in the Places page

Local social is picking up. Hyperlocal is gaining a new audience. Search is the route in. As I said. Merging.

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Google Adwords – Even more local now

Announced yesterday, Google are rolling out the capability to add a company’s full address to the bottom of their PPC activity. Two things are required:

  1. an entry in the Local Business Centre (i.e. your business in Google Maps)
  2. a specified link between your Adwords account and the business’s listing (which is done in the Adwords control panel)


You can see an example
here.

The new bit being an address line beneath the URL. This is an example taken back in December when Google was playing about with it, so it may appear differently when fully implemented and then differently again in the UK. Google will show this data when they can determine a link between the user and the location. Which means that local searching, local customers and local businesses will be more obvious than ever before.

The facility isn’t available to all accounts yet (Google trickles these thing to stop there being a rush) so more news when I’ve managed to have a go myself.

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Local searchers are getting picky.

As these recent figures from Hitwise in the US suggest, searchers are using more and more keywords in their searches to help determine their search results before they appear.

What does this mean for local marketers?
Well, it is increasingly important to ensure the correct keywords and locations are used in web content, landing pages, press releases. And also that you explore the long tail of your PPC search campaigns to ensure you are picking up on the smaller number of searchers that are closer to knowing what they want. The guys at the bottom of the Sales funnel, that are about to pick up the phone and talk to you.

What should I do about it?
Next time you brief copywriting, ensure you include the words that your target audience are using are included in the brief to be used in the copy. Want to know what people are searching on? Use this tool.

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