George Kepnick – Local Search Interview

Today we’re talking with George Kepnick aka Werty on the SEO Blogs and forums.

Hi George and thanks for taking the time to talk with me today, why don’t you tell my readers who may not know you a little more about yourself.

Thank you Michael, for anyone who does not know who I am; I have been doing Internet marketing professionally for the last 5 years, but have been an internet addict since about 95. I also used to do graphic design at a Yellow Page company and that is how I first got familiar with the demand of “Local”.

Let’s imagine for a moment that you don’t work in Internet marketing, what type of local searches do find yourself doing?

Actually I have recently become a homeowner which brings a whole slew of local queries. In the last year I have had to find a new garage door, roofing, appliance repair, an electrician and a mechanic. In addition to that I have had to find a doctor, insurance (health and auto), and have attempted to find new local restaurants.

One of the most common things I end up looking for locally are either maps from house to a known destination, looking for the closest location of a known brick and mortar (bank, grocery store, department store, etc). I also tend to look for local locations online to verify a stores hours before I leave my house.

You’re expert in PPC and I recently saw you at a Pubcon Session in Las Vegas, how do local PPC campaigns differ from regular campaigns ?

They are quite similar, but it takes some different thinking to make sure you are not getting unwanted traffic, while still targeting as many potential customers as possible. I suggest doing this 2 ways, using “Chicago Garage Doors” as my example.

First, you want to use broad terms and use the Search Engines IP targeting capabilities, to limit the area where a potential user will see your ads. There are numerous ways of doing this ranging from choosing cities, entering your zip code and putting a radius that you will service/sell to, and even defining a specific area and shape using latitude and longitude to plot corners.

To keep things simple I will just use Chicago and would choose “Chicago, Illinois” as my target city, and then use broad targeted terms such as: garage door, garage doors, garage door repair, garage openers, etc. This would allow only people who are within Chicago to see my ads, while still allowing me to grab the most popular and broad terms.

The second is to create a campaign that targets the entire US, but uses keyword qualifiers to limit the amount of traffic. An example of this would be a Chicago Garage Door Company. I would Use the following types of permutations on my keywords in order to target Chicago:

Chicago Garage Door, Chicago Garage Doors, Chicago Garage Door Repair, etc. I would then repeat with Chicago Illinois, Chicago IL, Cook County and zip codes. Here is a pretty neat tool to help with the permutations: http://www.5minutesite.com/local_keywords.php

By using both broad keyword IP targeted and geo-targeted keywords it should ensure that you get as much exposure as possible while still limiting it to prequalified customers.

Let’s talk keywords and phrases, what are some tips to help you find the right keywords for local businesses and products

I would be careful if you are targeting a city when it is not the only one, such as Portland Oregon vs Portland Maine. Once you have an account setup check your log files and do some IP lookups to find out the locations of your traffic and try and see if your targeting could be off one way or another.

I would become as familiar as possible with the area you are targeting. Use neighborhood names, as well local slang; chitown, wicker park, bucktown, etc, because people actually do search using those terms.

Let’s talk landing pages if I’m not selling a product or service directly on the web what are some tips to get people to fill out a contact or lead form or pick up the phone and give me a call?

If you can get the message across that you are exactly what they are looking for, do it. “Installing Garage Doors Across Chicagoland since 1985? would make a great headline on page targeting Chicago Garage Doors.

Do not try and collect too much information. Name and Phone Number, will gather more leads then a 20 question form. Just make sure you have someone to contact the leads and close them.

Use a local phone number and put it on your website. You may also want to ask how people found you when you receive calls.

Use an incentive. “Web Special” even if it is your normal price people will mention it to save money and it can track them that way.

Test Test Test, Measure Measure Measure (c:

Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today, if you’d like to read more from George you can stop his blog Werty.net or contact him at his company Dottedonline.com.

Tags: local+search, , George+Kepnick, Werty

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