With our latest innovation, Geo-Ranking, recently launched in our platform, I couldn’t resist joining the ‘Local Myth Buster’ session which was held by Gregg Stewart of 15Miles, Bill Dinan of Telemetrics and Steve Shery from GroupM Next. The aim of the session was to tackle the optimization of listings and place pages in Google, Yahoo and Bing whereas the focus was purely on how businesses can get better ranking positions. Well, that’s what we are all after, aren’t we?
Time to Bust Some SEO Myths
Okay so here we go:
Local myth number 1: “Social listening using keyword-based monitoring tools gives brands a full picture of their current social sentiment”.
Keyword based tools utilize a list of common, brand-centric words to search for social commentary surrounding brands. But what if commentary lacks those words and the location is the focal point? Steve revealed that on average there’s a 70% blind spot to local content surrounding locations.
The truth is that brands, regardless of size, are missing the majority of the social commentary surrounding their locations whilst 80% of consumers say negative social comments change their purchase decisions. As a result your call to action should be to:
- Blind spot audit
- Location-based social monitoring program
- Reply to social commentary
Local myth number 2: “A main corporate brand Facebook page is the best practice for promoting consumer social engagement.”
In reality the average brand Facebook post has a pretty short shelf life as well as limited sharing. It was interesting to note that local brand pages outnumber national pages and have 5 times the reach and 8 times the engagement.
Myth busted, because local Facebook pages are more powerful in driving consumer engagement vs. main brand pages. More and more consumers cite social media in the purchase process and those who spend time with a brand via social media spend 20%-40% more. Your call to action is therefore to:
- Implement a program
- Create an asset library
- Educate managers
- Post frequently
- Reply directly
Local myth number 3: “Small or mid-sized businesses cannot compete online with large, national brands.”
In 2011 online spend was $31 billion whilst retail made up 22%. 97% use online media when actually looking for local products or services. To my surprise it was suggested that 58% of national brand marketers believe local online tactics are too expensive and do not deliver positive ROI. Local listings in search engines are not available to purchase or for bidding because they are ranked by organic algorithms and determined by:
- Local physical address
- Relevance of location’s categories to reach
- Proximity of location’s address to city center
- Quality of structured citations or other online authorities
The truth is that local online search, especially local listings, levels the playing field between national brands and local businesses, meaning that each location has an equal chance of ranking for a local search query. Your call to action therefore is
- Go beyond basics
- Make it worth viewing
If you want your site to rank in more than one location we naturally recommend you look at how geo-ranking data can help level the playing field, as mentioned above. Agencies who focus on specific regions or local search can use new technology to improve their reporting and optimization tactics for clients.
Local myth number 4: “Paid search campaigns will capture any local traffic for my site – consumers will find local store information from there”.
An impressive 93% use search engines in the shopping process and the majority of those go to third-party sites. Research has also shown that searchers pay more attention to local listings than any other part of the result!
In light of this we can say that brands cannot rely on only one portion of the online space for garnering consumers’ attentions. Local search and listings management is crucial to the online success for local businesses both large and small. So, what can you do?
- Utilize both paid and local organic options
- Include links to your site
- Use location extensions
Local myth number 5: “The uses of Foursquare”.
Originally it began as as a “gamification” platform, revolving around check-ins and basic digital punch cards where merchants had to check-in data but it lacked a robust platform to utilize it. Currently it has:
- 20 million active monthly users
- 1 million verified merchants
- 2 billion check-ins
One of their latest addition is Local updates which was launched in July 2012 where updates allowed merchants to directly contact their customers. Later that month Promoted Updates was launched allowing merchants to push offers and recommendations to potential customers. These recommendations appeared to be based on factors like proximity, time of the day and past places visited.
Therefore Foursquare is evolving from a gamification app into a consumer marketing platform which offers merchants true depth of content marketing. Your call to action is to:
- Utilize Foursquare and verify all locations
- Create traditional offers
- Gather data to drive new options
So what are the main take-aways?
- Keyword based social listening leaves a blind spot
- Local Facebook pages provide enhanced consumer engagement
- Local search levels playing the field between large and small businesses
- Paid search does not capture all available local traffic
- Foursquare has evolved to become more than just a check-in game
Featured Image Source: Lizandro Júnior – Flickr