SMX East Day I: Mobile Search & Local Search

Because I’m more Lo and Mo than So, I pretty much stayed on the Local & Mobile Track for the first day of SMX East. This track has included presentations on Siri & Apple Maps, the future of local search, mobile apps (which I skipped for the PPC analytics session) and mobile ads. See the summaries of these presentations below:

 

Meet Siri: Apple’s Google Killer?

 

Given the recent release of the iPhone5 and iOS6, much of the discussion shifted from Siri to Apple Maps during this session. So before I get into the new mess that is Apple Maps and tips for optimizations, let me first answer the question of this session’s title.

 Siri Apple's Google Killer

So is Siri a Google Killer? The short answer is no. One panelist said that Siri still is acting in beta mode. While it isn’t a search engine today, the goal is for it to potentially work as a search engine in its future. Siri’s core strength lays in its local search capabilities. When a user asks Siri a question and the intent is not for local search results, Siri will still either provide the user with local (irrelevant) results or Siri will take the user to a Google search of their question (which happens 60% of the time a user asks Siri a question).  Because of this, optimizing your site for Siri is not important at this time as Siri only drives 2.5% of web traffic itself. It is recommended that if you want to optimize for Siri you should continue to do your basic SEO optimizations while keeping your Localeze and Yelp accounts optimized for the local results that Siri pulls. Which brings us to Apple Maps…

 

When providing local results, Siri relies on data from Yelp and more recently, Apple Maps. So the question on every search marketer’s mind is how to I optimize for Apple Maps. One essential component of Apple Maps is Yelp. To optimize for Apple Maps you must make sure that all of your business information is accurate on Localeze and Yelp. You also want make sure that you are falling into each relevant category for your business and using your keywords in the descriptions. It is important when choosing categories and doing keyword research that you think of how users search with natural language when using Siri. And as with Google+ Local, reviews are key to improving rankings.

 

Tip: Apple Maps listings pull customer photos from Yelp reviews to be displayed as cover photos on your listing. Do an audit of your photos to ensure that these photos are flattering to your business.  

 

Looking Ahead: Local Search in 2013

 Google+ Local Future

Ah, local search. The search practice we all love to hate. This session did not consistent of individual presentations. Instead the panel discussed among themselves about what the best practices are for this time, which is the same great news we’ve all heard before — just wait. Their opinions were that the issues occurring in Google+ Local would be ironed out by 2013. Until then there didn’t seem to be one definite answer on how to best manage your Google+ Local listing. There were no outstanding predictions for what the future would hold and unsurprisingly, many of the audiences questions were around specific, tactical issues they were having with their own listings.

 

PPC Analytics: Crunching Your Own Data

 

As someone who deals in PPC accounts on a daily basis, this session did not provide much new information for me. I did however walk away with two things:

  1. A reminder to use other metrics other than the usual suspects (ex: clicks, CTR, conversion, conversion rate, cost/conversion) when determining success of a campaign/ad group/keyword. Marc Poirier, CMO of our friends over at Acquisio, shares five of his 237ish metrics to use when analyzing paid search success: (1) bounce rate, (2) average pageviews/visit, (3) cost/pageview, (4) average time on site and (5) visits/click.
  2. A better explanation for why bidding on branded terms can increase your success in your paid search and organic search accounts. Future blog post to come on this topic.

 

How To Play In The Exploding Mobile Ads Universe

 

The name of this session was a little deceiving in that the speakers spent less time on mobile strategy and more time throwing out mobile stats. Here are the stats that I found most interesting along with a few mobile tips:

 

  • $159 billion dollars in retail sales are directly (ex: purchased online) and indirectly (ex: purchased in-store) affected by mobile search.
  • 1/3 of smartphone users have made a purchase on mobile.
  • 52% of smartphone users are calling a business from their search.
  • 90% of users use multiple screens to accomplish a task over time (cross-device conversions).
  • 40-50% of mobile searches are locally related.
  • Telmetrics shared 3 things you need to know about mobile advertising:

1. You must know your consumer. The purchase paths across verticals will vary.

2. Ensure upfront contact information. 73% of mobile users are looking for phone numbers. 84% of mobile users are looking for a map or directions.

3. Understand the mobile search and tablet search are not the same. Most mobile search is to find actionable information and to contact. Most tablet search is to research.

  • Don’t solely rely on the click-to-call as a conversion. Check call times to measure conversion as accidental calls happen frequently.
  • Test your PPC ads on different devices. Ad may appear differently on different devices. Look into your data to see which devices perform best to determine if these devices warrant their own campaigns.

That’s it for day one! Look for more to come tomorrow from SMX East 2012!

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