IAB: Insight Into Local Search Listing Management

Sabrina-Alimi-BThe Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) will release a white paper Monday titled "Local Search: Managing Listings Across Digital Platforms." Sabrina Alimi, senior manager of the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, will present parts of it at the MediaPost Search Insider Summit.

As local search becomes a staple in the daily lives of consumers, the white paper written by the IAB Local Committee calls attention to the importance of ensuring that consumers can find accurate information across the Web about businesses such as name, city name and location. It aims to help marketers understand where consumers search, what type of results they encounter and need, and how to work with the various resources that provide information about their respective businesses.

About four in 10 people use local search once daily, while two-thirds use local search at least three to four times per week, according to a study from immr and YP.

They look on search engines, mapping services, Internet Yellow Pages, local and vertical specific directories, social media, and mobile apps on engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, as well as sites like Yelp, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

The white paper suggests there are between 2 million and 3 million business locations actively managed by marketers, compared with the estimated 16 million to 20 million businesses that most publishers list in location search results. Smaller, home-based businesses are typically poorly represented in listings. For example, in 2011 Google cited that about 8 million businesses had claimed their online listing worldwide, which represents a fraction of all the businesses.

It may sound elementary, but marketers should pay attention to data and formatting of listings across the company's Web site, directories and social networks. For example, the walk-in business location might be different than the corporate location. Make sure that consumers know where to find the business if they want to come into the physical location. If the business service doesn't provide a physical street address, then always supply the service area. Don't forget the video and supply links to photos, coupons and menus.

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