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Local Businesses: are you getting results from IYP
earlpearl




msg:3035394
 3:34 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Where is the most web bang for your buck?

I have a small business with a strong presence in the search engines. Essentially I have #1 rankings for a large number of long tail phrases associated with my business service in 3 regions, Maryland, DC, and Virginia.

We are redundant in that we run a lot of effective ppc on both regional terms for the industry and popular generic industry terms (which we show on a regional basis.

Thirdly we have found effective link sources, including local and topical sources.

IYP trails all of this as a source of visits and conversions.

Is IYP working for you? If so, how is it working?

Dave

 

Chicago




msg:3043406
 10:57 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

IYPs make up a significant portion of total local search advertiser spend.

Most of the important IYPs have been selling for a long time.

The inventory is unique. It is largely category and fixed placement.

What this means is that for some, the IYP buy is a significant source of productivity, they would pay anything to keep their position. IYPs are disproportionate. Of course category selection, geography and the right IYP to begin with comes into play.

But this conversation is better served as a tactical one. For example we have had many conversations here about IYP and SERPs (ridding coattails). Enhanced profiles in light of migration of IYP to pure local search. Footprint directing your IYP buy, etc.

RossWal




msg:3044876
 6:29 pm on Aug 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

As a SME bricks and mortar owner, my experience largely parallels Earl's, although my targeted geographic is small relative to his. I like the SERPs for grabbing proactive searches and PPC for pushing the brand. Out of necessity I have a high PYP budget but I'm disinclined to expand that to IYP. PYP, while expensive, allows for compelling creative for contrast from the competition -- this isn't found in IYP.

Tracking is the biggest issue for me. IMO, tracking clicks from IYP is pointless, and using tracking phone numbers fouls everything. What to do?

Some of my coveted categories are pretty competitive in both PYP and IYP. I'm amazed at how easy it is to dominate the SERPs, while the IYPs are congested with paid placements.

earlpearl




msg:3047098
 3:58 pm on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks Rosswal. While I see lots written here about all sorts of IYP activity I don't see a lot of commentary about its effectiveness for the business owner.

My experience is that it isn't effective vis a vis bang for the buck. High serps, high ppc, and effective serps coverage for the phrases that would show up in the categories that IYP would cover seem to do the trick.

Dave

dh3325




msg:3047447
 7:14 pm on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

We run a local IYP and while I agree that if a search is performed properly and you are willing to overlook the overflow of adsense type landing pages (which I think are useless) the search engines do a good job I find a couple things to be true with our advertisers and also our users. 1) Most of them have no idea what PPC or optimize or page rank is nor do they care. Many of them don't even have a web site which means they rely on ...Local to bring them traffic. 2) Most of them have no clue how to get listed on the ...Local sites or how to verify their information. 3)Many if not most of my users don't know how to do a proper search and have never used .....Local so we are their source for local businesses. The othe major selling point is accuracy. Our listings are monitored and updated constantly where I still cannot find a Local site that is better than probably 75% accurate.

I am starting to see some of the "Local Profile" sites and I am wondering what peoples experience is with these profiles. We are just starting a new push to create a standard listing with much of the same info as these profiles for all 12000 businesses in our market so we have a core set of info on all of the businesses which we can then begin to upgrade. The "Local Profile" sites I have seen range from $30 a month to $499 which seems like a lot of money unless it works.

eWhisper




msg:3052709
 2:40 pm on Aug 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

We've seen very effective results with profiles.

Many small businesses don't need websites. What they need is standardized business information that can easily communicate to a potential customer the information necessary to make a decision.

Also, we've seen good results from IYPs. Often the website is an authority within a YP footprint, and there's a lot of type in traffic and authority where the users of that area trust their yellow pages online the same why they would by opening the phone book.

[edited by: eWhisper at 2:42 pm (utc) on Aug. 19, 2006]

earlpearl




msg:3052910
 6:19 pm on Aug 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

EWhisper:

How would you define authority within a YP footprint

bakedjake




msg:3054536
 3:29 pm on Aug 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

I would guess eW is speaking of the telco owned or spun off directories where they are the incumbent phone provider.

Smartpages, Superpages, Dex, yellowpages.com, etc.

I'm working on compiling a list of the incumbents and their territories as I would expect local businesses advertising in the incumbent directories to convert better than any other local offering.

I will post that list here as soon as I finish.

earlpearl




msg:3054781
 7:00 pm on Aug 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

I reviewed the AOL data and was looking at the number of times visitors hit an IYP. Just scanned the data, didn't do a hard count on traffic going to different IYP's.

There was a noticable number of searches for phrases like Yellow pages, White pages, etc. but that was clearly in the minority.

Most of the visits were for different types of businesses, entities in regions where it looked like the different Yps would turn up fairly high in the AOL serps.

In that my serps for local phrases outrank the different IYP's for virtually any phrase in my region, I'm not oriented toward them, BUT, I see how they can work for endless small business operators.

Despite that, though, if you are one of 12 different businesses paying for IYP, your business will rank relative to the "type" of IYP ad/listing one wants.

I think a small business operator should look hard at alternatives.

Dave

eWhisper




msg:3058633
 1:28 pm on Aug 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

Jake is correct in his assessment.

If you look at local users for Denver (which is in the Dex footprint), you'll see that Dexonline is one of the top local destinations online.

However, if you were to look at Dallas (home of SuperPages), you'll find a different set of authority (and referrer) sites.

So, when analyzing traffic from IYPs, are you looking at it across all searches, or just searches from within the areas they publish traditional yellowpage directories?

RossWal




msg:3059479
 10:49 pm on Aug 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

At the risk of showing my ignorance....anyone willing to tell me how to do this:

If you look at local users for Denver (which is in the Dex footprint), you'll see that Dexonline is one of the top local destinations online.

Chicago




msg:3059756
 3:13 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

grab your phonebook(s) and see what url is on top

RossWal




msg:3060662
 7:57 pm on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Gee thanks!

Actually, I had already figured out how to read the phone book :) For my next trick I'm trying to discover where to acquire a top-destination traffic analysis for a specific localized region. Are these statistics available for free anywhere, or by subscription through alexa, etc?

eWhisper




msg:3062712
 5:00 am on Aug 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've not seen free sources of this info outside of marketing materials.

Usually, this GEO search data is available through comscore or hitwise. Occasionally, Kelsey or Borrell will publish some numbers, but they are usually based upon the data of another party.

earlpearl




msg:3080156
 2:50 pm on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Roswal:

I don't see tons of traffic for localized results. One of the best ways I can figure to determine relative amounts of local traffic is to look through any of the prhases in overture or another keyword tool where the long tail phrases tend to be geographic; ie. Nursing schools, Denver nursing school, Detroit nursing schools, nursing school in Chicago, etc. Say topical traffic for the subject is 1-8% of the main phrase for your region.

The only way I pick up lots of traffic is to be well optimized or have ppc for a huge variety of phrases that work for the combination of business term and geo region(s)

earlpearl




msg:3080350
 4:55 pm on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Rosswal:

I wanted to add something there. While no single phrase gets much traffic, the bus site has been averaging in excess of 1,000/per month for many variations on geo terms/bus terms with a huge variety of phrases.

Its a lot for my little business.

RossWal




msg:3080731
 9:47 pm on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

We're seeing the same things Earl. I definitely see the long tail. Mine is a pretty low margin sector and the IYPs are cluttered with sponsored listings from further than anyone would drive for the services. Yet the organic SERPs are ripe to be picked. We show visitors a nice page, an explaination why we're the best choice, a map, and a phone number. Best bang for the buck by far, IMO.

My next move is branding. Local info pages with our B&M as the (very prominent) sponsor. "A public service sponsored by RossWal's Premium Widget Company".

Silvery




msg:3098087
 7:48 pm on Sep 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

There are some good statistics which indicate that traffic referrals from IYPs tend to convert better than other sources such as general web search engines. It's thought that users coming to you through IYPs are generally more ready to buy when they go through those sites.

General web search engines could bring more raw traffic to a business site in some cases than IYPs, though that traffic is more watered down with people accidentally finding their way onto your site due to various random keyword combinations. With an IYP, a user is typically searching and clicking on your business specifically with the intent to buy a product or service sooner.

Regarding where one could go to get comparative metrics for online directories by regions, I think comScore produces such reports.

Indeed, one way to chose an online directory to advertise with would be to find out what the dominant printed YP book for the area is, and go to their website. However, there can also be significant value to advertising in other local info sites as well, in order to insure coverage representing more demographics. You don't have to be listed in only one online directory, so get listed nicely in as many top directories and top local info sites and search engines as you can.

As for profiles, there are lots of local search and local info sites which offer some level of free profiles. Don't pay someone just to forward your info to free sites! It doesn't take that much effort.

(in the interests of honest disclosure, I should state that I'm an employee of a major IYP, though this note is solely my own opinion, and not representative of my company in any sort of official capacity)

earlpearl




msg:3099138
 3:23 pm on Sep 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks Silvery. I'd love to see current research.

here is our experience. Approximately 30-33% of our search inquiries off of SE's fall into what we consider the most fertile contacts.

These searches are long tail consisting of 2 parts, variations of phrases on our biz service and variations on our regional territory. These phrases convert at the highest rates.

About 1/3 of the searches to our site are generic on our biz service. They don't include geo descriptions. (the site has high rankings fortunately). These convert but at not as high a rate.

We are a local service. We pull off searchers who haven't yet tried the long tail search for the service in our region. Because we are local though, we pull out searchers from all over the country and that doesn't do us or them any good. So those searches are not as productive.

The last 1/3 are other phrases and content off the site that aren't really there for conversions. C'est la vie.

We have some limited IYP exposure. We have tested how those phrases show in serps with an incredibly large number of searches. Essentially they are a subset of our large exposure in the initial 1/3. In that regard the long tail searches and IYP are similar.

Here is a little anecdotal incident from today. Already I picked up 2 calls from people who caught our site on the web.

One picked us up from a strong conversion link that is highly local and particularly appeals to people interested in our service from a certain angle. It works. The caller reiterated what has happened with thousands before him.

The 2nd caller caught us off a long tail search phrase that combines our geography with an underlying reason why people choose our service. The phrases are somewhat tangential to the specific service but are very motivating. They work.

I couldn't replicate either of those methods through any version of IYP.

Not to say that IYP is good or bad...but there are many ways to skin the cat.

Dave

Silvery




msg:3105892
 9:21 pm on Oct 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

One of the moderators invited me to post links to some of the reports which I referenced in my posting. These industry stats from comScore indicated that online yellow pages perform better than search engines in some cases:

[marketingvox.com...]

[clickz.com...]

Now, I just noticed that they apparently only compared a small handful of business categories, so it's quite possible that other types of business might have quite different online user behavior.

So, perhaps Dave's business type would be one that just naturally converts better from direct referrals from SEs, versus IYP. I think mailorder businesses would fall in that category. Also, I suspect that users committing a search with a Product Name instead of a Business Type as the keyword would generally convert better at a Search Engine than at an Internet Yellow Pages. So, there's undoubtedly exceptions to the generalized study results.

Predictions from the Kelsey Group indicate that traffic to local search, including online yellow pages, will continue to grow at a nice rate:

[publications.mediapost.com...]

Naturally, it makes sense to carefully assess what sources are bringing best conversion rates and shift money to bring you the best ROI. Make sure you buy the advertising treatment you truly need, since the industry likes to add on lots of stuff that may be not getting you the attention desired -- don't overbuy.

earlpearl




msg:3105933
 10:10 pm on Oct 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I scanned visits to different IYP's off the AOL data base. I saw two types of search queries; queries for specific IYP's either in general or for a specific area; and searches for a business/geo...where the IYP showed high in the AOL searches.

Admittedly I didn't study it. I would think that in the context of the IYP's ranking high for specific businesses/geo areas they would lead to conversions in a manner similar to natural high rankings.

Silvery




msg:3109489
 1:57 pm on Oct 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Absolutely, earlpearl! That's why *some* of the IYPs have their sites thoroughly optimized.

For many keyword combinations, IYP sites may rank as more authoritative than direct business sites. So, businesses can optimize themselves by making sure they're well-represented in the online yellow pages directories.

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