When consumers are looking specifically for a local business or service, they will run a geo-specific search. They will either turn to their PYP which is by nature already geographically localised, or search via the web, mobile sites and apps with parameters that contain a city name or zip code.
The search engine results contain business information from IYP style sites like yell.com comprised of business name, address and contact number.
The IMMR Local Search Study on ‘how consumers use local search’ Oct 2012 states that 40% of people use local search once a day, while 66% use local search 3-4 times a week. Quite simply, with such logical consumer search patterns and search frequencies, if a business isn’t focusing on their local search listings they will miss out on sales.
There are two objectives for an advertiser. Firstly to ensure their business locations are advertised in all the places that might pop up in a consumers’ local search. Secondly to ensure all current online listings show correct business details because sending consumers to a wrong location can affect their lifetime value to that brand.
There are many publishers providing a local search service which vary by country and there are many sources these publishers use to populate their business listings data. Understanding where consumers are searching (which varies by consumer type, county, country), the type of results they find and how to manage the sources of these results is the key to local SEM success.
High usage sites like Yell.com will produce a CTR and call volumes to yield a low CPC, justifying paid for listings that rank higher in local searches (yell.com for example has 10m monthly visits). Often because of such advertiser investment, their services improve with mobile apps and other ways to connect to consumers.
Other sites have less usage and these are where the listings already present need to be managed to ensure their details are correct. Frequently the sites trying to establish themselves as an IYP alternative will offer pay by results programs where the CPC is guaranteed. Mastering local search in a local market is the key to effective SEM
PYP (Print Yellow Pages);
IYP (Internet Yellow Pages);
CTR (click through rate);
CPC (cost per call).
SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
YouCom Direct Jun 2013; IMMR Local Search Study Oct 2012
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‘YouCom Direct News Article, Jun 2013, London, ‘How online directories affect the bottom line.’