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Dominate Local Search: Part 2

Five Steps to Optimizing Local Search Marketing to Secure and Promote Your Brand

Yesterday we covered the first two steps of what a single location business can do to make their business stand out against a franchise operation with multiple outlets.

3. On Site Optimization

So now you have claimed all your local search listings, and optimized them to take full advantage of how their fields influence the local search results pages in search engines. Great! It’s time to do some high-level optimization to your own web page to appear clear and concise in the organic search results.

Write the homepage <title> and <meta> description so they both appear as complete thoughts instead of being cut off in mid-sentence. If the user is searching with the intent of going to your website, they will skip the local listings completely. In the search results page, your website needs to clear, concise, and grab the attention of the user. Most search engines allow a maximum of 60 characters for the title, and 160 characters for the description.

4. Paid Search and Competitor Terms

Other companies are allowed to bid on your brand name, however, they are not allowed to falsely represent themselves as your company.

Advertisers often use DKI (dynamic keyword insertion) in the titles of their ads as a way to increase the perceived relevance of an ad to the search query. This gets tricky when the search query is a branded term that fits in the ad title parameters.

In the ProFlowers.com AdWords account, a search for “University Flower Shop” would trigger a broad match hit of the keyphrase “Flower Shower”. Using DKI though, University Flower shop would appear as the ad title (because it fits in the 25 character parameter), meaning that people could click the ad wrongly thinking it would direct them to University Flower Shop.

DKI Ad Example: {KeyWord: Flower Shop}

Search Query Example University Flower Shop Flowers in Ann Arbor Michigan
Num. of Characters in Query < 25 > 25
Displayed Ad Title University Flower Shop Flower Shop

When it comes to branded terms, competitors are not allowed to use your brand name in their ad title. Because of this, using DKI on competitor terms often gets advertisers into trouble. If you own a business and someone is using your business name in the title of their ad, you can contact the advertiser directly or send a trademark grievance to Google.

But there is more! If your brand name is too vague (as the business name “University Flower Shop” is above), it is okay for a competitor to use your brand name in an ad title. Because there are dozens of stores across the US named University Flower Shop, ProFlowers is not overstepping their bounds.

5. Bonus! Free Listing of Local “Offers” and “Deals” to Stand Out

Especially if your business is in a very competitive market, and everyone has optimized their local pages, it can be difficult to stand out. A new feature in both Google Places and Yelp is the ability to promote offers for (i.e. “Three free balloons with purchase of bouquet!”).

These are free to post, and give your listing more precious real estate on the search results page. And in Google Places & Google Maps, it puts a green star next to your listing which immediately attracts the searcher’s attention and makes you stand out from the others. An example of what the green star looks like next to Paid and Places ads can be seen in the image below.

This makes you more noticeable, attracts attention, and increases your chance of a click (since people love saving money). A definite Win-Win situation.

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