Much of local search is based on geography. That’s a shame, because there are more important criteria that determine whether or not a merchant is relevant to a consumer. The consumer with the leaky pipe doesn’t care if the plumber is just down the street or 25 miles away, as long as he or she can be in the basement within the hour.
Traditional thinking dictates that the more lists on which a company appears, the more chances that advertiser has of reaching a potential customer. But search results are too broad – they’re largely pulled from white pages listings. When someone conducts a search for a local lawyer, he or she will get a list of all lawyers: large firms, small firms, those that practice corporate law and those that specialize in personal injury – some even out of business.[Click the image for a PDF of the guide]
Filter, Filter, Filter
Search engines, directories and vertical lead generators should be working with merchants to incorporate the more important, but largely ignored, criteria that make a merchant relevant to a searcher. These are things like type of business, service specialties, if it’s a residential or commercial address or what percentage of calls the merchant answers (for pay-per-call leads).
First the why. Increasing the likelihood that a consumer will find what he or she needs makes it more likely that that person will elect to make contact, that the merchant will in fact provide the product or service sought, and that a transaction will follow – success all around.
Next the how. Analyze appropriate metrics to identify the merchants most likely to be relevant to a particular consumer. This process involves a shift in the status quo: ultimately more work on the part of the search vehicles and directory services, because it’s no longer enough to simply aggregate as many listings as possible.
Advertisers should be clamoring for a filtering process, even if it means they are left off certain lists as a result. This refining process ultimately will deliver qualified leads of motivated consumers to advertisers, enhancing the consumer experience and the value of each lead.