A HIPPO Internet Marketing Training blog by Corey Creed

The Jungle Map, your guide through internet marketing

Local Search Marketing

November 15th, 2006

This session was the best one I attended a few months ago back in Boston.  So I was excited to hear that some of the same speakers would be on the panel.  This session at PubCon 2006 in Las Vegas was incredible.  Local search is hot and is the place to be NOW.  Mobile marketing is the next hot thing. 

Warren Kay works with Yahoo.  He used to work with CitySearch.  He explained that they have a new platform coming up for PPC (which I blogged about earlier).  That platform will include options for geo-targeting.  He also talked about Yahoo Local.  Yahoo Local includes reviews which are connected with user information.  In other words, when you read a review on a restaurant, you can learn more about the person that wrote the review.  You can see what else they have reviewed and who are their friends. 

They also own Flickr which is doing geo-targeting.  If you post a picture in Flickr, you can note where it was taken.  NOTE:  This did not seem to connect with advertising yet.  It was just a local feature.  I’m sure ads will be put next to them at some time.

Submitting to Yahoo Local is a good idea.  They have a free listing and a paid listing option.  NOTE:  We’ve been recommending this to all our clients. 

Yahoo is now trying to determine where a specific user is via the IP address, and also by what they are looking for.  If a user is researching traffic, movie listings, etc at a certain location, the chances are good that they are in that area.  They bought the company “Where on Earth”.  This gained Yahoo some state of the art location recognition technology.  They also gained quality information on which locations are close to each other.  For example, how far will you travel for a restaurant vs. how far will you travel to buy a car in a dealership.  (Cool stuff)

Yahoo is also working with mobile search.  There will be over 240 million mobile subscribers by 2010.  One in five consumers currently use advanced mobile services (not just phone calling).  The amount of people using their mobile phone for things other than just phone calls is growing dramatically.  It is a younger demographic and one that advertisers are interested in reaching.  Mobile sponsored search is pay for position model.  (Looks pretty cool.)

Doug from Seevast (formerly called Kanoodle) showed that local search marketing is a $3.5 billion business in 2005 and is growing to $13 billion in 2010 according to Kelsey Group.  There is enormous opportunity for publishers and advertisers.  Local businesses and regional advertisers and national advertisers who want to target on a local level will all benefit.

The day is coming when a person in Las Vegas can enter “pizza in las vegas” and be able to not only find the website, but make the order online.  What else is next in local?  Integrating with Mobile phones, Pay Per Call, ISP, and GPS.

Jake Baille from TrueLocal is always a favorite.  A very intelligent and funny guy.  He is also called BakedJake on WebmasterWorld. 

Jake says local search is HUGE and lots of fun.  He said that his presentation will actually be about how to spam the search engines because that is what a lot of us really want to do.  Very funny. 

“The best way to exploit local is Keyword Expansion!” 

Use names of cities, zip codes, states is a good start.  Include Neighborhoods, area codes, countries, airport codes, Metro areas, etc.  When you pay for ads on search engines, add these phrases to your keywords you are bidding on.  Include Product names, brand names, SKUs, Slang, Well known industry terms, Government terms.  Remember that certain local terms are used in certain areas.  For example, soda vs. pop.  Use the words that the locals use.

It is important to track to the phone call.  For example, auto-generated coupon codes can tie the phone call back to the advertising source, down to the keyword level. 

Who should do marketing online locally?  Golf courses, Local B2B are good.  Who should not?  Gas stations and grocery stores are not good.  Restaurants are debatable.  Service based businesses are perfect. 

Always use localized ad copy.  Be sure to use localized call to action on the page that you send them to.  Tell them what to do when they get to the site.

Where can you advertise locally?  Google, Yahoo, MSN & Ask are the engines.  Internet Yellow Pages are Superpages, YellowPages, and Dex.  Pure Play Local Search engines include TrueLocal.  Local Industry Groups, Local business development groups, hobbyists, are great to “bribe”.  Ask them to put an ad on your site.

I didn’t get his name, but some guy from Go2 gave some information on how to get listed on Go2, which is a free local directory and movie guide.  You can learn more at www.Go2.com if you are a localized business.  It seems to be tailored to cell phones and very widely used as such.

At the end of the session, during Q&A, I asked what merchants are out there that can auto-generate a coupon that can be tracked back to the advertising campaign that brought the visitor.  Jake recommended www.zixxo.com. 

Very nice.  (Thank Jake!)