Posts Tagged ‘Locals Only’

Best & Worst Ways to Influence Local SEO Rankings

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In our monthly Locals Only column on Search Engine Land, I discussed how the vast majority of local business out there – even those heavily invested in digital and mobile marketing – are constantly looking for insights on how they can improvement their placements in Google’s search engine results.

A survey released earlier this month by Moz’s David Mihm asked 35 local marketing experts to rank what they perceive as the best and worst ways to influence local SEO rankings. The survey provides a strong blueprint for local businesses on where to prioritize their local marketing efforts to generate greater visibility for their brands and one-up their competitors. It also provides perspective on actions to avoid that can damage a business’ credibility in local search.

Click here to read my column on Search Engine Land.

8 Keys To A Successful Local Business Website

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

In our Locals Only column on Search Engine Land this month, I discuss the importance of the website in driving a successful online presence for local businesses.

The vast majority of SMBs today are struggling to develop a site that can easily be found in search and that provides the information, engagement and trust that consumers are looking for. The result presents potential missed opportunities for SMBs to attract quality leads from the digital and mobile sources where consumers are increasingly searching for local business information.

Check out my 8 tips for building a strong presence for a local business on Search Engine Land.

10 Questions Local Businesses Should Answer When Considering Online Deals

Monday, March 4, 2013

If you’ve followed headlines about the online deals space over the past year, you might wonder if the phenomenon has lost its appeal.

In our monthly Locals Only column on Search Engine Land, I discuss that while the industry is facing challenges, both local businesses and consumers continue to see promise in the medium. I lay out 10 key questions that local businesses should consider when deciding whether an online deal makes sense for them.

Read my full column at Search Engine Land.

7 Key Takeaways From BIA/Kelsey’s ILM Conference

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

In my Locals Only column posted today on Search Engine Land, I shared 7 key takeaways from BIA/Kelsey’s jam-packed ILM West conference last week in Los Angeles.

As we head into 2013, local businesses have some important trends to consider when developing their marketing plans. The ways in which consumers are both searching and finding local businesses are rapidly changing, and local businesses and marketers are quickly adapting to take advantage of new opportunities to drive business in the door.

Read my full column on Search Engine Land.

5 Considerations In Planning Your Small Business 2012 Budget

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In our Locals Only column on Search Engine Land this month, I shared five key takeaways from BIA/Kelsey’s DMS ’11 conference that are relevant to local business owners in the process of planning their 2012 marketing budgets.

My takeaways include:

1) Small businesses are increasingly investing advertising dollars online

Total small business ad spending for online media increased to almost 40% of total ad spend in the fourth quarter of 2010, up from 22% in the third quarter of 2009, according to BIA/Kelsey’s Charles Laughlin. It’s safe to say that small businesses should be putting a heavy chunk of their advertising dollars into the online space in order to keep up with competitors.

2)  Small businesses are juggling marketing tools

With so many tools at their disposal, small businesses are especially struggling with how to manage social media channels and print media based on changing consumer behaviors. Since a growing number of platforms provide unique opportunities for businesses to reach target consumers, small businesses should explore an integrated approach that targets the widest number of customers possible.

3)  Once websites are covered, mobile-friendly sites are next

With the number of mobile Internet users set to surpass desktop users by 2015, according to BIA/Kelsey, the emphasis is increasingly on ensuring that websites can be viewed as easily on mobile as they can at the home or office computer. Small businesses should look at ways to optimize their sites for mobile over the next year to make sure their customers can easily view them on-the-go.

4)  Daily deals are hot, but customer retention and deal fatigue are issues

Daily deals will be a $4.2 billion market by 2015, according to BIA/Kelsey, but so far some small businesses who have tried them have had limited success retaining participating customers over the long-term. AT&T’s Todd Rose, who runs AT&T’s Deal of a Day offering, says capping the number of deals per merchant is sometimes necessary as well to keep consumers interested. Small businesses should ask daily deals providers to offer information on the type of return on investment they should expect – both for the deal and in the weeks and months following.

5)  Use specific criteria when choosing local ad partners

Small businesses need to take a long and hard look at the characteristics of the advertising partners they work with to make sure they’re choosing the best solutions possible.

Click here to read my full article on Search Engine Land.

Recent Trends Should Guide How Businesses Grow Local Search Strategies

Monday, August 22, 2011

In my Locals Only column on Search Engine Land this month, I provide an overview of the latest trends and developments in the local search space, and what local businesses should keep in mind as they start to build out their advertising strategies for 2012.

Three objectives that local businesses should consider include:

  • Taking Charge of Social Media: Today, local businesses are doing a better job of creating a presence on social networks, but they need to further expand their efforts and engage more with their followers. Businesses also need to up-to-speed with what’s next, which today is the new and fast-growing Google+.
  • Prepping for Big Mobile Changes: Last week’s announcement by Google that it’s purchasing Motorola Mobility could spell big changes for the local search industry, especially as mobile apps become a preferred source for local mobile content. Ensuring that a business is visible on as many online and mobile directories as possible—as well as the most popular apps—is increasingly key to attracting new customers.
  • Widening Online Exposure: Popular search engines and local sites are continuing to team up with Internet Yellow Pages companies to help inform and expand their online directory databases, as well as provide additional distribution opportunities. Local businesses should look for opportunities to get the most exposure for their spend by placing ad dollars where they’re guaranteed the widest range of consumers.

Read my full Search Engine Land column here.


5 Considerations For Connecting With Local Searchers

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In our “Locals Only” column on Search Engine Land this month, I discuss results from our recently released “Local Media Tracking Study” conducted by Burke, and offer five key takeaways for local businesses to consider when planning their advertising strategies:

  • As more consumers search for products and services via online search, local businesses should make extra efforts to ensure that information posted about them is complete and accurate. Local businesses should also encourage customers to post reviews about their work, and they should respond to customers who express dissatisfaction in reviews.
  • Yellow Pages companies today offer integrated print, Internet and mobile solutions that can be targeted to a local business’ customers in order to achieve the highest possible rate of return. Local businesses also should take advantage of new advertising platforms and services, ranging from vertical websites to daily deals.
  • Online social networks are growing fast, but their current reach as a resource for local business information is more limited than other media. Local businesses should invest now in creating active and engaged online communities, and view their efforts as  more about building reputation than driving sales.
  • The ways in which consumers search for local business information are driven in part by demographics – which means your advertising approach should consider your target consumer. Local businesses should keep on top of the latest research about their target customers and try new approaches, but also keep using ad platforms that are working for them.
  • Given today’s fragmented media environment, it’s best to leverage as many local search offerings as possible to promote your business. The Burke study shows that consumers consult two to three sources on average when searching for local business information.

Click here to reach my full column on Search Engine Land.

6 Key Takeaways from ‘Search Starts Here’

Thursday, May 12, 2011

In our monthly Locals Only column on Search Engine Land, I discussed my six key takeaways from our first annual Local Search Association annual conference, “Search Starts Here,” which took place in Las Vegas last month.

This year’s conference was significant because we announced a major rebranding of our organization from Yellow Pages Association to Local Search Association. The move reflected our industry’s ongoing transformation from publishers of print directors to integrated local search providers via print, online, mobile and social media.

Judging by the feedback we’ve received so far, the conference was an overwhelming success because it challenged each of us to look beyond what we’re doing currently and think about the products, services and partnerships we’ll need to develop today to complete in our industry tomorrow.

As attendees arrived in Las Vegas, many participated in Strategic Exchange Sessions, which we introduced last year instead of the traditional exhibition hall. The SES program enabled companies to easily make appointments with industry executives and explore new opportunities. We’ve heard from numerous participants who said they were able to make important connections and have valuable one-on-one face-time through the program.

Once again, our conference brought together business and thought leaders from across the industry to discuss ways to improve how we connect our local business advertisers with consumers. We live-blogged about our speakers, panels and sessions throughout the conference right here on Local Search Insider, and featured backstage videos with some of our favorite speakers. We also introduced a new Twitter channel, @LocalSearchAssn, where we participated in the lively conversation taking place via the #localsearch11 hashtag.

In addition to these activities, our attendees enjoyed networking and reconnecting with one another – especially at our Local Search Private Party on Monday evening.

Thank you to everyone – including our speakers, panelists and Local Search Association staff – for making this year’s conference one to remember.

For more information, read our conference coverage and my column on Search Engine Land.

Businesses Must Get Proactive About Managing Their Online Reputation

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In our Locals Only column this month on Search Engine Land, I talk about the growing importance of local business reputation in today’s increasingly digital environment.

Traditionally, business reputation was mostly shaped and influenced by word of mouth and through advertising in Yellow Pages, broadcast and print media, and direct mail. That model, however, has drastically changed.

Over the past few years, growth in local online and mobile search, combined with the introduction of a variety of new local business listing sites and apps, are transforming the ways consumers find and select local businesses. Today, consumers have more access to information about your business—the good, the bad, and the ugly—than ever before.

Businesses, therefore, need to make extra efforts to maintain proactive online strategies for managing reputation.

In my column, I offer four essential tips for local businesses to consider when navigating this new environment, including ensuring that they are properly represented on local business listing websites, launching a website, leveraging social media, and monitoring and influencing the online conversation about their business.

You can read the full column on Search Engine Land.

Key Takeaways from BIA/Kelsey’s DMS ’10 Conference

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

For those who didn’t have a chance to follow our live blogging from BIA/Kelsey’s DMS ’10 in Dallas, be sure to check out my column on Search Engine Land this week about my key takeaways from the conference.

As I note in the piece, we all recognize that the emergence of digital and mobile opportunities is changing the fundamentals of how we market locally. The question is whether the local search community can respond with offerings that leverage new platforms to meet changing consumer demand.

Based on what I saw and heard in Dallas, while there’s still a lot of work to be done, our industry is already on a path towards developing a solid plan to deliver the next generation of leads to local businesses.

Click here to read my Search Engine Land column. And visit the BIA/Kelsey DMS category on our blog to read our posts from the conference.