I don’t have to tell you that the local search industry is growing like crazy. The competition for ranking in Google and other search engines is getting particularly fierce as more and more entrants take the field. And with the growth of smartphones, you now have to worry about your mobile rankings too. While it sounds scary, there are still plenty of opportunities for smart marketers to use data to outfox their competition when it comes to local SEO.
In local, most companies are still playing with cities and states as the base of their main keywords. For example, every yellow pages site out there has a URL called “New York City Restaurants” but not nearly as many are targeting neighborhood-specific queries. If you search Google right now, you’ll see about 1.2MM URLs in its index that target “New York City Restaurants”, but only about 4,000 that target “Tribeca Restaurants”. And if you looked for URLs that targeted similar queries for zip codes or nearby landmarks, you would see similar small numbers.
So what does this mean to you? One of the keys to playing the long-tail local SEO game is to expand your “keyword footprint” by providing URLs on your site that target niche queries such as neighborhood and zip code searches. And the fewer sites that target these queries, the easier it is to rank well for them. Now it can be tricky to add that much content to your site and get it indexed and ranked properly, but if you do not have the content, you have no chance of ranking.
In mobile, we are seeing Google in particular showing results in tighter and tighter clusters around the location of the mobile browser. This means that to rank well for mobile queries your website/URL needs to be showing signals to Google that it is in fact close to the location of the person with the phone. One way to do this is to use highly specific keywords that reference the desired location such as a neighborhood.
While SEO is an ever-evolving game, if you don’t have the data, you’re not even in the ballpark.
LocalSEOGuide is Andrew Shotland’s blog about local search engine optimization and local marketing trends. Andrew provides “national” and local seo services to enterprise-level sites, startups and small businesses around the world.
The results of a recent survey commissioned by Prudential Fox & Roach REALTORS® confirm conventional wisdom: the Web is the dominate tool of choice for house hunters.
We all know that the number of online and mobile resources for real estate search have proliferated in recent years but it takes consumers time to change their habits and adopt new technology. It appears that Web resources are now firmly embedded as the primary way for people to search for residential real estate—in fact more than 80% of respondents reported using online tools.
In a story written by the Philadelphia Inquirer about the survey, they point out that the number one online resource for real estate search were property portals and noted that “The big three among these sites were Realtor.com (64 percent), Zillow (61 percent), and Trulia (51 percent).”
We are of course pleased that the top sites all leverage Maponics location datasets to enhance search capability and provide local geographic context for areas such as neighborhood, school and ZIP Code Boundaries. Visit our customer use case pages to read about how one of these companies uses our data.
And this summer, we will begin offering a first-of-its kind dataset containing subdivision boundaries across major metro areas. Read more about Subdivision Boundaries.
From our Subdivision Boundaries announcement:
In suburban settings, the smallest defined area around properties is typically the subdivision—which can include everything from a few homes within a gated community to a development with hundreds of properties. The real estate industry has long recognized that the immediate area surrounding properties significantly impacts quality of life and home values.
In the Inquirer article, they also note that driving through neighborhoods is still a common house hunting practice, although people now use online resources to winnow the list of properties they visit—saving money and precious time. The good news here is that in addition to using our data to enhance their web sites, many of our customers also embed our data in their mobile apps to provide enhanced location context for home buyers on the go.
For more ideas about how mobile real estate apps could add cool new features based on Maponics geofences, check out this article on Directions Magazine.