One of the biggest challenges with online marketing is the explosion of information that has come with our shift to digital tools and information. The entirety of human knowledge doubles at an increasing rate, in large part due to the ability to access, store, and communicate information as quickly as networks allow us.
With all of that information comes a very human challenge: The Paradox of Choice. Every day, we are faced with more choices than we’ve ever been able to make before. The result of this can be a phenomenon marketers call “choice paralysis”, or the inability to make a decision in the face of overwhelming amounts of information.
Anatomy of a Modern Search Page
The result of choice paralysis is the field of User Experience. Agencies and designers learn User Experience fundamentals, and put them in place so that business websites and other products allow choices to be made quickly and confidently. This is the case with search engines especially – their business is delivering efficient information.
Google, for example, runs usability research programs to ensure that visitors get the information they want.
The results of these studies, and Google’s other data, has been a major evolution in the layout of a modern search engine results page. From a list of 10 or 15 blue links in the early ‘00s, the Google Search Page has become a true resource: automatic answers, rich business data, map locations, customer ratings, and personal user history all play a part in being as informative as possible.
Modern search and apps have long been trending toward local targeting to reduce information overload. Now, GPS and battery technology have caught up to make location services a regular every day smartphone function. This has changed the way that users are performing and responding to searches.
For businesses that rely on online leads, these developments mean that there are more ways than ever to be hurt by inaccurate online data – or to benefit from well-managed local search data.
Making The Most of Local Search
Local Business Listings
Services like Google My Business use addresses to centralize information about a company that customers want to know, such as hours, holidays, contact information, and review scores. These sites then provide data to other business location sites, growing a site’s link profile and identity.
ATAK helps clients succeed at local search by creating these accounts and monitoring them for accuracy, alerting you to necessary adjustments to protect your online identity.
Getting Great Reviews
The three biggest players in the online reviews game are Yelp, Google Reviews, and Facebook. These 3 sites are likely to show up in every search for a company name, with the company’s star rating prominent in search results.
At ATAK, our analytics have proven time and again that review websites like Yelp can be a huge business generator.
Our digital marketing plans help clients succeed at review sites by providing materials that prompt your happy customers to leave a review. It’s important to note that you should not pay for fake reviews! These will be caught by security systems, and could get you in trouble. The best way to accumulate good reviews is by providing great customer experiences!
Social & Niche Check-Ins
Apps can become a massive opportunity for a business, especially one with a storefront. Social media has integrated many location features, like Facebook check-in promotions. The broad audiences of a customer’s social media accounts, however, leave a large trust gap for many who have widely-connected social media presences.
The result of this reluctance to share location data is the emergence of niche check-in apps. Tools like Foursquare’s Swarm, Eventbrite, OpenTable, and niche apps like Untappd or Tea. By knowing the niche social apps that matter to your customers, you can claim your location and execute laser-targeted promotions to the audience most likely to respond.
Not all of these apps are niche – the biggest players, Yelp and Groupon, offer locally-targeted deals and discounts for app and website users. Enhancing your local search with these promotional opportunities is a powerful way to build a base audience, and help you grow organically in the future.
Local search isn’t going anywhere. If anything, by 2020 we will see search tools that are more local, with more influence from an individual’s history, friends, and far more sophisticated levels of data integration than we are able to use right now for marketing and search result delivery.