Our recent Local Search Summit (#LSS2016) brought some of the brightest and most influential voices in local search marketing together for an intensive event packed with panels, keynotes and networking. In summary, here’s what the industry’s top experts have to say about local search strategies today, and the massive opportunity for tomorrow’s savvy marketers.
Local Search Strategies
1. First, the Local Pack is a great opportunity for e-commerce teams.
You think it doesn’t drive traffic? It drives traffic! However, working with just the homepage doesn’t the drive the traffic you’re looking for with local, either. Moreover, you must build out unique pages for each location and drive traffic to that specific local page for more entry points and greater impact. – Joe Pawlikowski, Associate Director at PM Digital
2. Then, keep in mind local is personal.
That is to say, brands can boost local online customer engagement with meaningful brand stories. – Kyle Johnston, VP Marketing at Giga Savvy
3. Next, know that voice Search is growing.
And the accuracy of data is critical to feeding AI correctly. Most importantly, as local search moves from searching for answers to app-guided decisions and then personal assistants, accurate, local data and content must be part of that evolution. – Steve Beatty, Senior Director Owned Media, iProspect
4. Lay the groundwork of a smart SEO strategy.
We don’t need to get all hung up on the shiniest new toys and the most exciting new technologies. Most importantly, we need to lay the groundwork of a smart SEO strategy. This includes structure and content to support innovation. Understanding need, audience, opportunity and vehicles provides a solid foundation of good SEO basics to build upon. – Josh McCoy, Digital Marketing Strategist, Vizion Interactive
5. Decide what to track.
Finally, decide what to track. Create categories and labels and schedule monthly reporting with inferences and experiments. Then measure your results. Most importantly, these are your action items for successfully streamlining conversion and tracking. – Steve Wiideman, Wiideman Consulting Group
6. Mobile search is becoming app-like.
In addition, mobile search is becoming increasingly “app-like;” Google aims to provide as much information as possible on the SERPs, meaning users may not even have to click through to see their query answered. Local marketers today need to understand the emerging technologies. These include artificial intelligence, voice search, and virtual assistants, to name a few. They also need to understand how they may impact the way consumers seek out and are influenced by local information. Above all, marketers must remember the mobile-centric nature of today’s consumer and get to know the new paths of mobile discovery. – Greg Sterling, VP of Strategy & Insights, Local Search Association
7. Local search impacts global retail business.
Local search can have an immediate impact on the global retail business. Consequently, once senior leadership in your organization understands that, evangelism is no problem. — Joshua Slodki, Digital Marketing Manager at Petco
8. Make the most of your UGC.
Google is incentivized to rank User Generated Content (UGC) highly. In addition to its freshness, it appeals to other consumers. These consumers perceive content generated by other people outside of the brand as trustworthy and unbiased. Several recommendations include: correct structured markup, at least 8 reviews, and saying goodbye to hiding UGC behind tabs. In addition, get mobile-friendly and monitor your webmaster tools weekly to make the most of your UGC. – Sammy Boukhris, Sr. Product Operations Program Manager at Bazaarvoice
9. Local listings optimization is key.
Also: People don’t like to book hotels on mobile, but we see that 85-90% of our calls are coming from Google. People don’t even want to go to your website anymore, so listings optimization and schema markup are key. – Rich Mastriani, SEO Director at Wyndham Hotel Group
10. Be aware of emerging local features.
Finally, brands need to be aware of emerging local features on social platforms, like geofiltering on Snapchat. Custom geofilters allow brands to “own” the space around their business locations for a nominal fee. The fee is as low as $5 for a set period of time. Every user story posted in that area becomes part of the brand’s story. For instance, SXSW experimented with this at their most recent event. Most impressively, it resulted in hundreds of thousands or even millions of impressions generated. – Joel Comm, bestselling author, social media expert and #LSS2016 speaker
So, do you want to learn more about local marketing insight and thought leadership from Local Search Summit 2016? See the Rio SEO Blog for recent posts.