Dan will be speaking about “PPC” at Searchfest 2009 which will be held March 10th in Portland, Oregon. Get your tickets now.
1) Please give me your background and tell us what you do for a living .
I am the CEO of G5 Search Marketing – we have developed a platform that we use to help local and regional businesses reach new customers online. We specialize in a few verticals like the self storage industry and all of our clients have multiple locations. Our suite of services includes design, development, and hosting of websites, SEM, SEO and Maps Optimization, lead and call tracking, coupon management, and a local analytics dashboard to tie it all together. We also help our clients measure their traditional offline advertising – like yellow pages – mostly to show them how much money they are wasting.
I have been in the Internet marketing space since 1996 when I started at Beyond.com. I got lucky on a few deals during the dot.com bubble but am now trying to build a solid business in Bend, OR.
2) What do you feel are the most important factors in ranking well for local search?
There are two algorithms to focus on for organic local search results. The traditional Google Page Rank algorithm and the Google maps algorithm. Google maps seems to be a moving target, but the most important factor seems to be consistent structured local business data. So proper business profile management is a key driver followed by proper usage of KML files. The Page Rank algo factors are the same as with regular SEO except targeting geographic specific keywords for both onpage keyword phases and inbound link text.
3) Which paid search platforms are most effective for local businesses?
We still see the best results from Adwords. From a cost per lead standpoint we have seen great results from Yahoo and Google LBC ads although the volume is very light in both cases. We see the best results from Google geotargeted campaigns and geographic specific keword campaigns.
Aside from driving traffic to local business websites, we typically encounter the greatest problems post click. Most local and regional business websites are built without a strategic plan. We try to map out the entire customer acquisition process from the search to the completion of the transaction off-line, then measure each step of the way to identify the holes. Typically the biggest hole is improper lead follow up. It doesn’t matter how many calls you generate if someone does not answer the phone. It seems so basic, but when you actually record and listen to phone calls it is amazing how much business is lost by poor phone performance.