On the final day of Search Engine Strategies in San Jose, I sat in two sessions before cutting out a little early to head to the airport so I can sit around for hours without access to my shampoo, toothpaste or assorted sundries due to the heightened security. The terrorists have clearly won the battle on hygiene.
Not being a programmer, I decided there was a good chance I might actually learn more from a technical session than a marketing session. I was right and wrong…I learned quite a bit about what Yahoo!, MSN and Google are doing with their API programs, but I was also unable to do much with that information (until I can talk with our technical team back at HQ). For those of you with a non-technical background, the APIs allow seamless integration of reporting, bid management, search content and widgets into your Web site or ad management platform. Yahoo! and Google have the most robust API offerings, including detailed documentation and active developer forums. Microsoft MSN’s adCenter API is currently in beta, but they are looking to rapidly evolve the platform, documentation and overall usage. For active advertisers looking to streamline PPC management and improve their ROI, APIs are an obvious solution.
Local Search Marketing Tactics
In this session Patricia Hursh with SmartSearch and Stacy Williams with Prominent Placement outlined local search marketing strategies and tactics. When it comes to local search, Yahoo is more focused on brick & mortar business (less so with Panama) while Google offers the greatest level of flexibility. Keep in mind that local (targeted) search is currently around 1% of all searches, so it’s important to target general search results with local strategies. In one case study, Hursh compared three AdWords campaigns: national, localized keywords and an IP-targeted campaign, sharing the results: branded keywords converted well and were more affordable vs. the IP-targeted local campaign, which generated a bulk of conversions at the best rates. Williams provided specific recommendations on strategies and tactics for generating visibility and traffic from non-paid/editorial listings in local directories and yellow pages. The primary goal of unpaid listings is to ensure all business information is accurate and complete. Peripheral benefits include enhanced PageRank and additional visibility in SERPs.