Archive for the ‘Local Search and Marketing’ Category

Local Series: Getting Your Business Listing Setup in Search Engines (Part 1)

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

With attention surrounding geo-location services (like Foursquare, Gowalla, Groupon) and significant enhancements in local business listings in search engines (Google Places, bing). We wanted to focus on creating a “Local” blog post series featuring helpful ways for businesses to garner further visibility online utilizing these offerings as well as what to be aware of when participating. We’ll focus on local business listings and a few free marketing ideas for you to take advantage of. So, let’s begin.

Setting Up Your Local Business Listing on Search Engines
When doing local search it’s best to start with the big three. While Yahoo!’s search results have now been replaced with bing’s search engine results, many things are still in tact – this includes business listings for local search. For the most part all three search engines (SE) ask for the same information for a business.

We’ve compiled a quick list to help you prepare for setting up a local search account for your organization:

Basic Information:
– Business name
– Address
– Telephone number (some SE’s allow multiple phone numbers)
– Toll free number (if applies)
– Web site (some SE’s allow multiple websites)
– Email (some SE’s allow multiple emails)
– Fax

Background Information
There are a good amount of sections that can be filled out; you want to fill in as much information as you can. Google recently made some big enhancement to how local search results from Google Places appears in their search results and it is highly recommended to fill in as much information as possible to help your results. Make sure to put in everything you can think of that represents your company.

This includes:
– Description (Google limit is 200 characters)
– Image (logo or any images, great way to incorporate Flickr if client has images there)
– Video (great way to incorporate YouTube if client has videos there)
– Hours (if apply)
– Payment methods (if apply)
– Brands carried or sold by client. Great way to insert keywords that are specific to your client’s products and or services.
– Specialties. Great way to insert keywords that are specific to your client’s products and or services.
– Slogan or tagline.
– Other requests are for professional associations, languages spoken, parking, and more.

Category Details
There are categories to select that best represent your business. You want to ensure that you select the best choice categories as these may help with your visibility within organic search results. Some of the categories can be hidden and you may have to browse to find what is most appropriate to make sure you aren’t missing any. Some SE’s allow more category entries than others. Try to fill in as many categories as you can, this too will be affected by Google Places search results.

At this point you will want to review all of the choices you have made and all of the information you have entered. Make sure to double and triple check everything as editing in the future may not be as easy as you think. Once you have thoroughly checked all of your information and are happy with your location search entry, proceed to the verification process.

Stay tuned for next week’s post on the details of the verification process and detailed requirements.

Groupon Phenomenon Bludgeons Local Businesses

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Groupon, the popular, online coupon service that launched less than two years ago in Chicago, has become a hit with money conscious consumers. But as it continues to expand to more and more cities including right here in Phoenix, local business owners are discovering the service isn’t without its downsides.

A Local Story

Dana Mule, part owner of Hula’s Modern Tiki at 4700 N. Central Ave., recently participated in a Groupon deal offering $30 of food for $15. The resulting hoard of customers that descended upon Hula’s to take advantage of the 50 percent off deal created havoc for Mule’s restaurant.

“Initially, it was disaster,” said Mule. “Far more people showed than we could accommodate, which made for long wait times … and angry people (which counteracts any benefit you’re supposed to get from this kind of marketing).”

How Groupon Works

The way Groupon works for consumers is relatively simple. Every day, a new local deal is featured on the Groupon homepage, sent to subscribers in a daily email and updated daily on the Groupon iPhone app. If the pre-determined minimum number of people purchases the Groupon within the established time frame, then the deal is active. If the minimum isn’t reached, then the deal is cancelled.

Mule initially decided to take part in Groupon to get additional exposure for his business and to expand his customer base, which are two of the key selling points Groupon uses to attract businesses. But as some experts have pointed out, there can ultimately be a backlash if the discount price ends up taxing a business’s ability to serve its customers, thus eroding their brand.

“The race to the bottom is never the way to get to the top,” said Ellen Malloy in a recent Reuters article regarding the Groupon phenomenon. Malloy promotes high-end restaurants in Chicago and blogs about the topic of discounting for Restaurant Intelligence Agency.

Groupon Threatens Customer Experience

According to Malloy businesses risk a cheapening effect on their brand and that the customer experience can be threatened if an oversubscribed offer ends up producing a short-term spike in demand.

Mule’s own experience with Groupon was uncomfortably akin to Malloy’s cautionary advice.

Groupon provides the business no tools to help manage the number of coupons sold – they up sell you to drive the value of the coupon up (making them more money),” said Mule. “They are not responsive with concerns – the amount of the sell given to the restaurant doesn’t even cover food/liquor cost – and they will not let you put a limit on the total number of Groupons you’d like to sell (we had to beg them to stop it at 1,000).”

After his initial experience with Groupon, Mule said he wouldn’t participate in the service again. He also advised businesses that require appointments, such as salons, to avoid Groupon altogether.

“We’ve talked to other businesses where they had sold so many Groupons that those were to only appointments they could accommodate for months, allowing them to take no additional new clients who would more likely become repeat customers,” he said.

So what do you think?

Quick Tips for Local Search from SMX

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Thanks to Tony Sirois for providing a helpful and quick tip post from information gathered at SMX Local & Mobile in San Francisco.

My hope for all the companies who rely on local business find this post.  While we include this in Liberty Interactive’s Internet Marketing services for SEO and PPC, and as I say time and time again, please be proactive in the success of your company online.

For a few quick tips on local search visit Tony’s post here.

Local Search Business Listings: MSNLive vs Google

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Okay, so I felt this post was very necessary and hopefully I am not the first to write about this.  Recently, I was adding Liberty Interactive Marketing to the local business listings on all the major search engines.  The process for adding your listing to Google is fairly simple.  Although I did make a small user error while inputting my listing due to ambiguity in their process by accidentally associating my company with another local company here in Phoenix I was able to complete the submission successfully. Then, verified my listing quickly with an automated phone call from Google (one type of verification process they offer).

I did the same on MSNLive Local, however, I got a little irritated when they said they would send me a letter to verify my business listing.  My irritation was more due to the lack of immediacy that I had experienced on Google.

BUT…Logic prevailed.

ROUND 1 TO MSN: The appropriate way is MSN’s way as they are verifying the location by actually sending a piece of mail to this address in which I gratefully appreciate.

ROUND 2 TO MSN: If Google had done this, I would not still be trying to remedy my mistake upon submission with them as the company I mistakenly associated myself with would not have verified my location.  Which by the way, I am receiving terrific organic traffic from, not to mention resumes and my company is completely unrelated. Missed the goal on relevant results for this one Google.

ROUND 3 TO MSN: Google’s inappropriate business listing submission seriously lacks security. Who is to say that one couldn’t just create a local business listing using one of their competitors names and simply create another listing that directed them to their phone number? Since all that Google verifies is the phone number. A simple mistake if phone calls ever came in or is it? A savvy and slightly devious business development professional could easily turn these mistaken phone calls into a leads, thus creating a new lead generation tool for themselves.

And while I realize that this same savvy and devious business professional could also have MSN Local letters sent to their own address, there is a bit more work involved than just merely a 5 second verification phone call from Google.

Am I missing something? I welcome all comments on this topic.

The Local Search Revolution?

Friday, June 20th, 2008

The tipping point of local search has been rumored to be around for a while, but with the advent of the google 10-pack, some say it might be right around the corner. Soon, the world wide web may be come a lot more regionalized.

David Mihm, a local search specialist, took a look at what has become important with local search along with twenty other SEO specialists. You can see his results here: Local Search Ranking Factors

SMX Advanced Confirmed.

Friday, May 16th, 2008

Well, Phoenix Internet Marketing company, Liberty Interactive Marketing is off to SMX Advanced in Seattle, June 3-4. We’re very excited. The conference offers three tracks: 1) Paid Search, 2) SEO, and 3) How to run and SEM business.

We’ll be taking it all in and reporting back during the conference. Stay tuned for tips and techniques. If you’re going, drop us a line…we’d love to meet up.