Friday, October 27, 2006

ComScore: 109 Million People Conducted Local Searches in July

comScore Media Metrix defines "local search" as searches conducted by consumers on the local or directory (yellow pages) sections of leading search sites, as well as other searches identified as having local intent. By this definition, the firm found evidence that, in July of this year, 63% of US Internet users, approximately 109 million people, performed local searches online — a 43% increase compared to a year earlier in July 2005.
Local online advertising is projected to account for $1.3 billion in spending this year and increase by nearly 51% the next year, to $2.0 billion.

"Local search is experiencing strong growth as more consumers adapt to the 'always on' nature of their broadband connection, which enables them to quickly find information on local businesses," said Jack Flanagan of comScore. "With approximately 849 million local searches conducted by Americans in July, local advertisers have a sizable market that can be reached through leading search sites."

The amount of local searches is not only huge, the range is impressive, too.
comScore found that 41% of those conducting a local search were searching for something in their home area, as opposed to searching for information on businesses in locales that they intended to visit.

Among those searching in their home area, 59% indicated they were searching for a restaurant or something entertainment-related, such as a theater, theme park or an attraction for sightseeing. And 41% were looking for information on local services, including car rentals, dry cleaners and lawyers. Another 52% said they searched specifically for a business phone number or address.

As to where searchers went to search, Google garnered the largest share of local searches, closely followed by Yahoo!, at 30% and 29%, respectively. Microsoft captured 12% of local searches, followed by the Time Warner Network with 7%.

Considering the majority of the local searches are being conducted are done so within the major search engines and internet Yellowpages site, the question becomes how to ensure that your businesses site or information is include in the results of these locations.

Most of the major search engines and Internet Yellowpages will let you create a listing for your business totally free, but this can be a daunting and time consuming task, especially for businesses with multiple locations. With local search taking on a more prominent role in the way that consumers look for local companies and services, businesses now more than every need to take charge of their local listings in previously mentioned Internet search locations.
In response to American consumers changing behavior in regards to how they find local goods and services a new service was created called MyLocalProfile give businesses the ability to create 1 company profile that will be pushed on a monthly basis to all of the major data centers that the search engines use to create the results found within their local searches. Very simply creating a listing with MyLocalProfile will ensure that the correct and most relevant information about you company will be included in all the major search engines and internet Yellowpages local results.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Inexpensive Advertising for the Real Estate Industry (part 2 of 2)

We established in the first article that online promotion of a real estate website can be difficult, confusing, and expensive. So what should real estate agents do to begin gaining internet traffic that can expand their client base and increase their sales?

There are several options that will work if an agent or mortgage broker is willing to spend a fair budget on marketing themselves online, or willing to wait for their organic search engine rankings to take hold. Even if you are incorporating traditional internet marketing techniques there are several inexpensive methods to further expand your ability to market yourself online to potential clients.

There are 3 quick and easy options that will jump-start your real estate related marketing within a month! Even if you currently have a good website and are utilizing search engine optimization techniques, these methods can still be valuable tools to improve your visibility and internet marketing. - If you’re a real estate agent and you haven’t discovered Craigslist, you are way behind the curve. Craigslist is a quick, easy and effective way to advertise your listings, your website, and business. Agents can post on a very regular basis for free, which includes free hosting for the property photos, inclusion of links to your website.
Another valuable aspect about using Craigslist is that your listing will more than likely get picked up by the search engines, and many other sites use postings in Craigslist to populate data for their sites such as In less than 10 minutes you can get hundreds to thousands of prospective clients to view your listing, see all of your contact information, have you ad go out on many other websites and get another page indexed in the search engines, and it doesn’t cost you a dime! – MyLocalProfile is a fairly new product that leverages the power of several prominent data providers that the major search engines use to backfill the their local listing information on their regular search results, and on their local search listings. MylocalProfile gives any company or business that has a physical location to create and control the information that is listed in the search engines pertaining to their business. This powerful tool gives companies the ability to update and change items such as their address, phone number, website address, company products, and many other listed items from one central profile. Another great feature about MyLocalProfile is that it creates a basic website that provides all their pertinent information. This is a valuable asset to local businesses that are not really in need of a fully functioning website such as a neighborhood coffeehouse to a local hardware store.

3.Real Estate Directories – Many real estate professionals may be unaware of this, but there are thousands of directories that will list your site absolutely free. This is beneficial for several reasons, most notably free traffic to your website, and increased links to your site (this is one element that can improve your search engine rankings). Taking this a step further there are a decent amount of directories that are specialized towards the real estate industry only. Most of real estate directories are free or less than 20 bucks to have your site listed.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your internet traffic. The opportunities I’ve laid out are quick, effective, and moreover inexpensive methods of driving traffic to your site. Spend even 1 hour a week implementing these quick results strategies and you’ll see viable results without committing thousands of dollars towards a seo campaign, or tens of hours trying to learn and optimize your site on your own. Even if you are implementing a search engine optimization campaign utilizing the above-mentioned techniques will still benefit your hunt to gain traffic quickly as your seo campaign develops.

Click Here To Read Part 1 of This Article

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Organic Search Conversions Nearly Match Paid Search

If you gathered the opinions of 100 paid search practitioners, and compared that to 100 organic search optimization experts, you'd find persuasive arguments for each method being superior at driving conversions. A new study from WebSideStory will justify the arguments of both sides.

The study looks at traffic and conversion data from 20 business-to-consumer e-commerce sites during the first eight months of 2006. Paid search had a median order conversion rate of 3.4 percent, while organic search results produced a conversion rate of 3.13 percent. The data set included more than 57 million search engine visits.

There are arguments to support both sides, Rand Schulman, WebSideStory's CMO, told ClickZ.

"On the one hand, because you control the message of paid search, you'd expect higher conversions. On the other side, because people value the 'editorial integrity' of organic, you'd expect higher conversions," he said. "Ultimately you need to do both. I think the eye-opener here is that neither side has a significant edge."

In the case of paid search, marketers have better control over the ad's message, the landing page and the ability to eliminate low-converting keywords. For organic listings, users often perceive them as "independent," which can increase click-throughs, but the lack of control of what the search result says, or what page it links to on the marketer's site can decrease conversions.

There are many factors on both sides of the argument, which ultimately balance each other out, according to Dana Todd, executive VP of interactive agency SiteLab and president of the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO).

"Most visitors are not looking past the top three paid search ads, and the top three organic results. At that level of quality sites, you'd expect to see conversion rates that are close," she said.

In addition, organic search's higher volume of clicks, which tends to be 1.5 times higher than paid search volume, is balanced by the recognition by users that paid search ads are ads, which leads to a self-selection by users who have a commercial intent to their search, Todd said.

Organic Search Conversions Nearly Match Paid Search

iMedia Connection: Take the Risk out of Ad Networks

In recent months we have seen too many articles citing instances of brand advertisers using ad networks and finding their ads running next to inappropriate content, tarnishing their image. Advertisers need to ensure that their ads are running alongside content that is in keeping with and will bolster their own brand. Agencies need to make sure there are controls in place and that when buying through a network they won't end up fielding calls from an angry client who came across their ad on some questionable or inappropriate site.

Because of this, the industry has placed importance on advertising networks providing full site transparency to help solve this problem (and rightly so). But is this really the answer?

The reasoning behind requiring advertising networks to provide a complete site list is so that the advertiser and/or agency can review the list and eliminate any sites that they feel may contain inappropriate content. To begin with, some networks contain thousands of sites. In order to include this number of sites these networks have a large number of small sites which typically do not have their own sales force, making it easy to reveal an entire site list (as explained below). To be able to distinguish which of these sites are appropriate and which are not will be extremely time consuming. These small sites decide what content to publish, and at anytime can change their tone or direction, with you, as the advertiser, having little recourse. So, if you are working with a network that consists of thousands of small sites, there is no doubt you will have to monitor your buy very closely because networks that contain so many sites do not have teams in place to go through and examine each page of each site on a daily basis to guarantee their appropriateness.

Read the complete article here

Monday, September 11, 2006

Local Online Advertising to Grow 31%

Borrell Associates Inc. released a report, "Outlook for 2007: Pac-Man Pace for Local Online Advertising," which predicts local online advertising will grow 31 percent in 2007.

The report includes analysis of the two fastest-growing segments: local paid search advertising and email advertising. Paid search, already a $938 million category locally, will swell to $1.8 billion in 2007.

Email ad spend is estimated at $150 million this year but will grow to $233 million in 2007, according to the report.

"Media companies that figure out how to use the web as a database marketing tool are going to out-survive their local competitors. Finding prospects with a laser instead of a light bulb takes a lot of corporate re-engineering, but companies that have made the investment are starting to see the returns," says Colby Atwood, president, Borrell Associates.

Original article

Thursday, August 17, 2006

MyLocalProfile: Inexpensive Advertising for the Real Estate Industry

Part 1 of a 2 part series on local seach and the real estate industry

Most real estate agents and mortgage brokers have heard the stories of how some of their contemporaries are making a fortune from generate leads and eventually sales produced by internet traffic. Maybe at one point or another you (agent or broker) have wanted to get involved in the internet marketing arena, but had no idea where to start. Possibly you went as far as having your friends niece design you a website…now what?

Many people are exceedingly confused about how to marketing their site, compounded by the fear of being ripped off, resulting in never really doing much with their site. This is equivalent to having thousands of brochures or promotional materials created and spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on the design and creation, and then never sending them out. In its simplest form a website is just another promotional material just in a non-traditional format from print.

Your website is an interactive ad you have created, internet marketing is the distribution of advertisement (your website). Is there a point to spend time and money on an ad that hardly anyone will see?

I’m sure this is not the first time you have heard this or come to this realization. So, now the question becomes what are some viable options to promote my website and my service? There are many ways to promote a website, but most are expensive. Whether this is an expense of your time through doing research and implementation of your learned techniques, or paying a search engine marketing professional to do this for you, it will cost you. This can be a profitable endeavor, but it can be costly and may take up to 6 months to receive any relevant performance depending on a variety of factors that we won’t go into today.

Let’s say you happen to be an individual real estate agent or mortgage broker with a small budget, under $500, but you would still like to find a way to promote your site. MyLocalProfile ( was created in response to this problem. Most real estate searches on the major search engines (i.e. google, yahoo, msn) contain a location descriptor in the search terms used. This produces the search engine's local results above any other organic website results.

An example of this would be someone in Miami Beach that is looking for a real estate agent. One of their search queries would be “real estate agent Miami Beach” As the picture below is a screen shot of the results that be would returned. I have highlighted the local results in an orange box for emphasis. As you can plainly see being listed in the local search engine results can be a very valuable.

end of part 1

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Outsource SEO vs In-house SEO

SEO is becoming increasingly important to all who look to do business and use the Internet as a marketing tool. It is the path in which your market finds your offering. It has become almost a necessity for businesses to incorporate SEO in to their marketing plan. Many companies struggle with the decision on whether to hire a firm or conduct their SEO in-house. Unfortunately many companies lack the knowledge about SEO and assume it will be cheaper for them in the long run to hire someone "in-house". For some companies this may be efficient while others the overlooking the hiring of a professional firm to SEO can be costly. It is as critical to your business’ health as if you were to feel that you could heal a fatal disease yourself because you have access to the Internet and books instead of going to a highly trained physician. Now you laugh and say that would be absurd, but is the growth of your company worth the risk.

Knowledge Versus Cost Versus Time = Your Success

SEO is an ever changing business. Search engines change their algorithm frequently and new rules are put into place. One has to have the resources to find this information and understand how to implement the changes. An SEO firm is more likely to be aware of changes to search engine optimization protocols than an in-house individual. Many in-house individual will focus on developing and implementing your SEO strategies but typically remain in the dark about what goes on outside your organization due to they do not work with other scenarios. Outsourced SEO professionals must perform these same functions while constantly studying the industry, staying current with changing trends and familiarizing themselves with the latest SEO techniques. It is a part of their day to day business and necessary if they intend to compete in the marketplace and wish to survive.

What about cost? Surely the cost of hiring an individual is substantially less than the cost of hiring a company, right? This is a common misconception. Let’s look at it this way. You hire an E-Commerce Marketing Manager whose job is to develop and implements the strategic online marketing plan for an organization. Staying abreast of changes in the online marketing environment to best serve the objectives of the organization and adjusts plans accordingly. They may even be responsible for overseeing other aspects of the website such as the advertising and content components. In most cases the individual will be wearing many hats spreading them thin. His or her base salary according to on average would be $85,703. That is $7141.92 a month and roughly $42 an hour. This is for one individual with hopes that they bear positive results. Let’s say they do not. It will take 3 to 6 months to start to truly see if the individual is an asset or not. That is $21,425.76 if you decide to let the individual go in just the third month. Not to include cost of taxes and benefits. And if successful, your company just paid $85,703 per year for SEO.

The average SEO firm charges anywhere from $5500 to $35000 to perform the same task with a staff of highly trained professionals in the area of link building, writing, optimizing, web development etc. Even on the high end you are getting a staff for the entire year for around what it cost you to hire an individual in-house for a quarter. And if it does not bear positive results and you decide to terminate the relationship you will only have lost less than $10,000 if prorated based on the $35000. in most cases you can even get some of that back. This logistically saves you time and money.

Would you agree that having one individual do the job of five is rarely a good idea? Would you feel it cost effective?

Time is another concern with in-house SEO. Will one individual be able to optimize multiple pages, write content, tags, build links, run reports and perform other SEO tasks in a timely fashion? One person can only do so much. Would you agree that time is money? Most SEO firms can do in a matter of days what might take an individual weeks to do. Many companies who use in-house SEO personnel spend more than necessary to get the same amount of work done in a longer amount of time. Once again you have one individual doing many task versus many individuals doing one task effectively.

In any case, is outsourcing the right move for you or your company? Whether you choose to outsource or not, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Read the full article and author bio:

Tuesday, August 01, 2006 Getting Listed Local Search Results Just Got A Little Easier

This July GDMI has unveiled a new localsearch product called My Local Profile(

My Local Profile is a new service developed to provide an intelligent means for local business and "brick and mortar" companies to obtain and/or manage their online presence. MLP was created out of the frustration that many have vocalized over the years about either not appearing in local search engines or Yellowpages results. In some instances companies would be listed, but have old or incorrectly information associated with their listings, causing lost business opportunities.

In MyLocalProfile you can create a profile for your business containing the following information: Company name, company slogan, address, phone number, email address, web site address, category headings, business description, products offered, services, payment methods, hours of operations, and years in business.

Once your business page is created, My Local Profile updates its directory and pushes the information to data providers/companies that all the major search engines receive data from to build their local listings that appear in their search results. This "data push" is done on a monthly basis which provides businesses with the ability to have new information or changes in their business updated throughout the internet in relatively short amount of time.

Here is an example of listing created in MYLP (MYLP Business Listing Example)

For more information go to