Friday, April 15, 2011

Local Targeted Website Research

This month at Rocktime we’ve got our eye on local targeting, and April is our official “Operation Local Search Marketing” month! Local listings and local promotion sites will of course be of strongest benefit to those who wish to increase their local business reach.

Local is a pretty hot topic right now, and with good reason too as for starters, the Google Local Search Algorithm continues to evolve at a fast rate and recent reports indicate that 70% of users look for local information online first, and that 20% of all searches are location related. This month’s Geek Video was on “Google HotPot“ make sure you read the very latest (8th April 2011) news on why Google have decided to merge “HotPot” into their “Google Places” interface over at the Google Blog here.

The Google Places and HotPot merge also indicates there is much more to come with regards to reviews and recommendations within your Google Places account. Exciting times ahead!

Once you have optimised your Google Places account and devised a strategy plan for updates. You may be thinking where next? We hope that one day we will be able to say “We have a Local App for that!” however right now we haven’t. We do have a number of local directory websites that feed local search engines and we are also reviewing and engaging with local promotions sites and local social networks. Also when it comes to targeting your local market don’t forget about Geo Targeting options within paid search. It is a great feature, however our advice is for better ROI, opt for onsite local optimisation over paid-for models. You may wish to trial paid first though to review reach and potential for growth.

Having increased presence on local sites can create an environment for search engine rankings and support inclusion in a wide range of local apps and mapping software.

Local Targeted Website Research

We thought it would be interesting to find out the local targeted directory and local deal websites that the team at Rocktime use. As a team we have a 72% / 28% male/ female split, so in comparison to the UK online population as a whole which has a 52% / 48% male/female split, the results will be 20% Male biased.

Alice went round and quizzed the Rocktime staff on which local targeted sites they use and which they would consider using. A summary of the results are listed below.

If you’re interested in learning more about some of the following websites and apps, that are mentioned in the below results, we’ve talked about the majority of them previously on the Rocktime blog: such as Foursquare Deals, Facebook Deals, MePlease and Google HotPot.

As the chart shows, there’s a pretty equal mix and spread of the sites we picked out to ask about.

The ‘Other’ section entails services such as Think Local, The Best Of and Living Social to name a few. My Voucher Codes seems to be a fairly popular choice in the office, alongside the likes of globally popular sites such as Facebook.

The main finding from this research is the insight into the wide variety of local targeted websites we are using plus YELP (online Yellow Pages) and other local search engine pages were not mentioned once! The results indicate that as individuals we have not found one place yet in which to hang “our local targeted hat” with our friends. Perhaps with the developments on Google Places and the Google social share button (Google + 1) we will start to be more stream lined into where we go for local content and deals. Time will tell. We will review this again, same time next year.

Given the increasing popularity of the Local Targeting websites, it wouldn't suprise us if there's plenty more to choose from this time next year! Even now there's yet more sites popping up every month specialising in local deals and reviews, for example just last month Qype launched it's new (German) deals site, QypeDeals.

From the looks of it, here at Rocktime at least, Facebook Deals wins out over Foursquare. If you’re interested in reading more about the pros and cons between these two services then Social Media Examiner has put together a great comparison on its article Location-Based Services: Foursquare vs. Facebook Places.

If you require assistance connecting your business to local business talk to Rocktime’s Search Marketing (Flashlight) about bespoke local targeted campaigns.
We hope you found our above research of interest, we certainly did and if you would like to share with us the local targeted websites that you visit or would recommend, then feel free to post a comment below.

Authors: Sarah Griffiths & Alice Cheetham


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