Saturday, February 5, 2011

Google Delivers Local Users Local Content

I've been saying this for a while to my clients, the important of putting local relevancy into their Search Engine Optimisation efforts. From geo locator information using geo-tags behind the page within the metatags, for the location to their physical store location, supported with on-page SEO activities of ensure all location information is included on the contact page; street address, suburb, post code, and even embedding a Google Map on the page.

Google normally assumes that users are looking for and will want to be directed to local business content in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), and tends to favour local results, based on IP address and/or search history. The algorithm component behind this is that a local result is likely to be a more relevant result.

Additional areas that website owners can consider to contribute to the overall local search penetration is supporting this with ensuring they select firstly a local TLD (Top Level Domain) such as using a extension for Australian websites.

Hosting of the website will also impact. If hosted locally there are several benefits, firstly in the lookup performed by search engines determining the hosting locality to support the intended distribution, and speed increases that are gained by reducing the number of hops for end users accessing the website hosted locally compared to in another state or country and so making each component call quicker in response for rendering the page to the end user computer. Another component to consider is even in the details registered for the domain name that can be sourced via a WHOIS lookup. I would suggest providing the local physical office address in the registration details to aid in supporting again this concept of local search reinforcement.

Tie all of this in with Google Places a free online business listing. When potential customers search Maps for local information, they'll find your business: your address, hours of operation, even photos of your storefront or products. Now when consumers search within Google, and Google detects they are intending to search for location specific things Google will deliver a map with relevant locations within the SERPS where your business can appear. generates a suitable and extensive Google Places listing for all businesses when they engage Search Group for Search Engine Optimisation services, along with all the many recommendations suggested above... and then a few more!

Google Zeitgeist - Search Trends across the world from Google

Google's Zeitgeist provides an insight into the search behaviours of billions of search queries people typed into Google this year.

Find out what the top global events are, with fastest rising queries; South Africa's world cup, the Olympics in Canada, Haiti earthquake, Mexico's oil spill or Iceland's ash cloud.

Google provides a visualisation of data from their Insights for Search and Google Trends.

Aussies are searching more and more for social sites this year, with sites like Chatroulette, Formspring, Tumblr and Omegle showing our love for connecting with people and sharing information. We’re also getting into entertainment, with lots of searches for Event cinemas, ABC3 and, of course, the 2010 World Cup

So who were the five most popular people for Australian searches... andy irons, justin bieber, julia gillard, lara bingle and katy perry.

Look to Google Trends to give yourself an immediate update on trending popular searches that you can include in your Social Media topics list.

Link your Google Adwords to a highly relevant landing page

To help you maximise the visibility of your Google Adwords campaign, reduce your CPC (Cost Per Click), and provide a higher conversion rate, deliver the consumer to the page that matters in the website.

Take users to a landing page within the website that meets the expectations set up in your ad copy. This expectation reduces consumer frustration and instead increases engagement due to a correct match of advert to result, creating the preferred user experience.

Highlighting prominently within the copy on the landing webpage your keywords. Show the consumer that they have got what they want quickly, and then deliver the Call To Action (CTA) - the tease for engagement to create the conversion.

Tip: ensure your CTA is above the fold, as many (~80%) of users may not scroll down the page!

Also, to improve the user experience, ensure that your landing page load times are quick. This should be a must for your SEO and your SEM campaigns anyway, just as important as providing a clean coded and validating website, that is functional, effective and where simple things like the browser back and close buttons function properly on your site. is a leading Perth SEO and SEM company that specialises in Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing as well as engaging clients in Social Media Marketing for their businesses. In my role as Head of Search for Search Group, I like to see businesses succeed in their online marketing campaigns and achieve the return on investment (ROI) from their commitment by using a focused approach, test and measuring, and communicating on milestones through good reporting.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Check your Feedback Forms

Over the last couple of weeks I have been performing a very simple service for our clients of actually testing their online feedback communication forms that they have set up in their contact us pages. These are a great way to collect structured enquiries, put the data into CRMs in the office, present confirmation/thank you pages and even tie in auto responders so that the end user receives an immediate feedback interaction maybe with specific sales information provided through choice mechanisms... all great - if they work!

I have been surprised at how many clients's website feedback forms don't actually work.

Oops, that really causes consumer frustration and confusion and a lost sale, and with the way social media is so active these days it may also lead to a flame of disappointment about the interaction that the client isn't even aware of.

So check and test now, and make sure your feedback form does actually work and deliver as you expect. And when testing, try it as a user... and try to break it! What if you miss out fields, what if you put irregular characters like ' or " or / or $, what if you put certain words 'sexy' does it get caught in your spam filters?

And set up a regular check process, as things may change. If you change host, if your website designer does an update, if your security/spam/email settings get update, these could all be things that cause a problem along the path.

I would also suggest the inclusion of an email address on your contact us page. This provides a mechanism for people to contact you in the way they 'they' prefer, and also enable them to send attachments as appropriate.