Localeze biz dev head Gib Olander has a good piece in MediaPost in which he argues the need to refine local search marketing campaigns based on changing search behavior. In other words, the way people search and the terms they use need to be better recognized.
After providing some data that quantify the local search opportunity (i.e., 25 percent of searches have local intent), he argues that the opportunity is not being met with listing comprehensiveness (we hear you). A contrast to the category-based taxonomy of Yellow Pages is also made in pointing out that users’ search behavior has evolved.
Yellow Pages lookups (both online and print), in other words, have traditionally been headings driven (i.e., “plumber”), whereas the free-form search use case has conditioned searchers to be more specific (i.e., “leaky faucet”).
What does this mean for local advertisers?
if a business is identifiable in local search engines through only its name or category, it is not going to be found by the things that make it truly unique. In order to appear in organic local search engine results (the storefront’s virtual window), businesses must optimize for local search engines differently, focusing not just on their name brand, but instead on all the brands they carry, as well as all their services offered and much more.
A parallel concept is the granularity with which searchers are typing in geographic modifiers: They often go deeper than city- or ZIP-level terms. Urban Mapping bases much of its data generation on this premise, including its “geo mods,” which provide local advertisers with better geographic keywords to use in their search marketing campaigns.
Overall, the theme is clear: Table stakes in local search marketing (all search marketing for that matter) include providing comprehensive business information and choosing keywords that are both germane to your business and used with the greatest frequency by searchers. Successful search marketing, therefore, must turn the process around and act according to the evolving ways that users search for things.
This has reached the product level. And thanks to companies like Krillion and NearbyNow, it will soon go even further in reaching the level of real-time product availability. Users will be conditioned by positive reinforcement of these product searches, adoption will grow (especially this holiday season), and around and around we go.