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One Search to Rule Them All

Posted on the 30 December 2014 by Marketingtango @marketingtango
  • December 30, 2014
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One Search to Rule Them All

You may not have recovered yet from the “Great Searchquake of 2014,” when Google rolled out Pigeon and ruffled the feathers of a lot of search marketers. The SEO Director of Catalyst, Boris Zilberman, tried to make sense of the SEO shakeup in a recent blog post — plus give integrated marketers a sneak peek into what to expect in 2015.

First: Tumult in Term Town

By downgrading the number of local map “packs” — or group of results — Pigeon seemed to elevate the relevancy of local search directories. Zilberman says this explains why today’s search for the best late-night karaoke bar in town comes up with different results than a year ago.

In tandem, Google also overhauled how local businesses can interact with their online presence by introducing Google My Business, a relaunch of its Local Business management suite, which had been mingled but not merged with Google+ since 2012.

“With these initiatives, Google set out to improve both the engine and the chassis of the local SEO vehicle in 2014,” Zilberman wrote, setting the stage for mobile and local search integration in 2015.

Second: Love Thy (local) Neighbor

Local and mobile got a lot cozier recently, especially considering that four out of five local mobile searches led to a purchase, with a conversion rate of 80 percent, higher than any other device, including desktop. Zilberman points out that 81 percent of tablet users report using their tablets to do local searches, with tablet ownership up 60 percent year over year. He also feeds the data-hungry integrated marketers among us with stats to support the ever-growing importance of mobile-to-local SEO:

  • One in three of all searches occur right before a customer is about to enter a store
  • Fifty percent of consumers using a smartphone visit a location within one day of their local search. For computers and tablets, that number is significantly lower, at 34 percent.
  • Nineteen percent of consumers made unplanned visits to a location after seeing a relevant local ad served up via smartphone.

Let’s talk a little more about that ecommerce love. Mobile and local shows more growth around holidays than any other channel. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Cupid’s cohorts will want to optimize SEO. A study from 2012 shows that mobile device searches for restaurants spiked 359 percent in the couple of weeks before Valentine’s Day. Desktop searches also spiked, but at a relatively lower 142 percent. Flower-related mobile device searches increased by 227 percent. There you have it: Even love has a price.

Third: Who Likes Pigeons Anyway?

The mobile singularity is upon us, with mobile and local finally becoming one and the same in 2015, Zilberman predicts.

Here, he shares his four best tips on how to grow your local presence in this mobile world:

  • Build a responsive site, if you can. When Google tells you what to do, do it. And their announcement alerting webmasters to their preference for responsive website design as a local SEO platform is a gift. Don’t squander it. Read, “Responsive Web Design: Any Device, One Seamless User Experience,” to learn about this emerging technology that promises every user a simpler, more satisfying experience.
  • Focus on directories. Local directories and aggregators — everything from Yelp to Citysearch — seem to be ranking better than they were before the update. These pages will capture more targeted traffic so make sure your local business information is optimized within major directories, such as Yelp or TripAdvisor, as well as aggregators, such as the Yellow Pages. (To get a good handle on this strategy read, “Hotel Markets Capitalize on Back-to-School Marketing Opportunities.”)
  • Create hyperlocal landing pages. Non-maps-based organic sites seem to be getting more traffic as a result of the reduction in maps results. Although that should be enough of a reason to renew your focus on local landing pages, also consider whether you’re being local enough when targeting customers.
  • Focus on social. “Solomo,” a portmanteau of “social,” “local” and “mobile” reigns again, so update and use all of your local social media channels and their apps, such as Foresquare, Swarm, Waze, Facebook Open Graph markup and Twitter card markup. And get up to speed on integrating social media on your website, too, with these tips. Don’t forget to boost your own SEO profile with social media while you’re at it.

If you’ve haven’t consumed your fill of mobile data yet, skip over to, “Using Metrics to Build a Better Mobile Experience” and then be ready to give your visitors what they want by understanding the “Five Tips for Enhancing Mobile Engagement.”

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