Google Maps, Yahoo Local, Organic Listings, PPC--where does the traffic come from?
In an effort to generate web activity for a new business, and having noted some very interesting articles and research over the most recent past, I thought I'd take a look at where the search traffic is coming from for a particular business in hopes of generating more traffic for the newer site (same business in a different city).
I'd like to reference a couple of webmasters whose comments and blogs have sparked a little of this research: including Tim/Search hound who has done some interesting analytics work on phrases that seem to convert and Mike Blumenthal who writes extensively on Google Maps and Yahoo local.
One site generates significant traffic for what is a small local/regional business.
Over the last year it generates about 5,000 searches/month or about 170/day.
The site has maintained high rankings in search engines for its generic industry terms for several years and very high rankings for industry descriptive terms for local/regional phrases. The site ranks primarily #1 in all 3 major engines for all its major geo oriented phrases that include one major city and two border states. The site also ranks first currently in Yahoo for the generic industry term that is most popular and has ranked either 1,2, or 3 for that term since Yahoo inititiated its own search engine algo several years ago.
The site has had Google rankings of anywhere from 5-12 for the number 1 industry generic term (non geographic) over the past year. The site advertises extensively in Google PPC for that term on a geo basis.
Over the past 10 months, the largest single traffic generator search phrase has been the industry generic term. In google it has generated about 2100 visits and Yahoo about 2600 visits. About 90% of the traffic from google is ppc oriented whereas in Yahoo its all organic search.
Of visits to the site that have the same or virtually analogous business terms with a geo modifier, the clear traffic visit leader with the most traffic has been the business term with the city name, versus the business term with state names. Traffic for the most popular business term with the city (washington dc) has generated over 300 visits in this time period. Meanwhile the next most popular phrases with geo modifiers have been for the 2 states.
Of significance, prior to the insertion of google maps into organic searches, their was no noticable difference between industry terms for the generic business terms and any of 3 different most prevalent geo modifiers (2 states, Maryland, and Virginia, and one city- DC.).
It appears that the insertion of a map which has always featured this business at the top of the search page, has increased visits to the site by about 30-50% over searches without a map.
In other words, there is a significant increase in traffic to the site wherein there is a #1 organic ranking, and a map, and a ppc ad over sites with a #1 organic ranking, a ppc ad and no map.
Of significant interest though is the continued high volume of traffic that the site generates for a non-map, non geo-modified industry phrase.
For instance, people might be searching for a dentist in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area and instead of searching for a phrase such as DC dentist, dentist in Washington DC, Maryland/DC dentists, etc. they search on the phrase dentist....and click on a ppc ad that has a title such as DC dentist.
This harks back to research published at screenwerk by Greg Sterling who published that searchers looking for local businesses/products didn't use geo modifiers 51% of the time .
Of final interest, while maps seem to improve traffic to a site, I have yet no belief or evidence that the majority of searchers ever actually look at the depth of specific local business center information that a business identified in maps might generate.
For several weeks we have been running a significant dollars off coupon in Maps. To find it one must either initiate the search via google maps, or click on the map in organic search and choose to visit the google generated data from the business center. To date not a single person has turned up a coupon.
I'd love to hear comments on this. (if it is comprehesible.)
To date it appears that high generic rankings or high ranked ppc with geo terms in the title for generic industry terms are critical; high ranked terms for geo-modified business terms are critical, and the appearance of a business in maps within a 3 pack/10pack/authoritative map are of big help...but don't have the impact of either high organic rankings or highly ranked ppc.
Actually, if I look at this closer, what is striking that the version of a map that has shown for a search using the city name geo modifier during this time period has predominately been an authoritative one box map in which my business is the only one that shows for the industry rather than the more common current list of 10 businesses in a map...or 10 pak. It's the "denver flowers" type map that we discussed in Dec -February of this past winter.
(of interest--look up denver flowers in google now and you will see an entirely different map insert- a 10-pak...with 10 different florists, rather than just Lehrer's flowers) I wonder how that is affecting lehrer's and alternatively the denver flowers florist?
It appears to me that an authoritative map and an ability to attract traffic from the generic industry terms without geo modifiers are critical to grabbing some local traffic.
One last observation is that in running slightly different campaigns for the same business in 2 different cities, the new significantly smaller campaign has turned up an unexpected source of leads that I had never seen before.
Its logical and statistically significant both in regard to visits and contacts.
Its a significant bonus to continue to attack this topic in different cities with slightly different campaigns.
Thanks for the write up, Dave.
Could you please elaborate on the unexpected source of leads that came up, however obfuscated the description you can give, as in relating to a Denver florist?
I don't like to reference specfics on the web because at one point a competitor found some of this stuff.
On the other hand, what I'd say is that certain content, blogging, and ppc ads have been pulled up in various forms of the web equivalent to classified advertising.
Tradtionally classified advertising in US papers would cover stuff like, housing for rent or sale, cars for sale, jobs, apartments, pets, garage sales etc.
craigslist is the great web version of classified advertising but there are active other versions. I have content and ppc ads showing in certain versions and it is effective.
I hadn't tried that stuff before or moved into certain of these web based classified advertising venues.
They are strong.
Ah well, alright. Let's keep the fun of self-exploration, indeed
Sorry I couldn't be more specific....but realistically, if one looks at local traffic, and one researches all the potential sources and applications of general classified advertising sources for a metro region...that is pretty large in and of its own right. It appears some of those sources are pretty powerful.
On the other hand, I was so struck by the difference in traffic for a phrase that was accompanied by an authoritative one-map versus other local phrases that were either not accompanied by any map, accompanied by a 3 pak or 10 pak map that I went back to the denver flower example.
That authoritative one map was quite surprising. A different site had a title of denver flowers and frankly there are a lot of florists in denver.
What seemed to drive the map was a special kind of voluminous link from local sources that distinguished the lehrer's site from other local florists.
I frankly love the idea and will be pursuing it here on out.
I am not offended in the least, I really believe that there should some fun be left for self-discovery.
Still, though, I asked about this comment
Were you talking about the same thing?
Originally Posted by Earlpearl
yup. the extensive availability of different forms of classified advertising.