Two different approaches for using a popular event in local search strategy.
Philadelphia Restaurant Week is a popular event where participating restaurants offer a multi-course menu at a fixed price (much like other restaurant weeks around the world). Obviously this popular event is searched for locally (click on image to enlarge it):
Example 1. Google Maps Spam
The other day I was looking for a list of the restaurants participating in “Philadelphia Restaurant Week” and naturally I headed to Google and typed in “Philadelphia Restaurants Week”. Among the organic listings Google “threw in” universal search listings from its local index (click to enlarge):
Also, this rather irrelevant listing shows up in Google Local index in the 1st position- before the “real” Philadelphia restaurant listings:
Whoever set this up in Google Local Business Center had a clear plan – get the seasonal traffic/online visibility from the local event - ‘Philadelphia Restaurant Week’. Not sure how much qualified traffic this “cell phone text messaging” company receives from the search term ” philadelphia restaurants week” but I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only Google user unhappy with this result.
The “business owner” of this local listing has clearly taken advantage of the well known Google Local index weaknesses. Unfortunately, for the end users, it was easy enough for somebody to game the system by adding the “Philadelphia Restaurant Week” in the listing titles and purposefully assigning the listing to the wrong categories:
- Represent your business exactly as it appears in the offline world. The name on Google Maps should match the business name, as should the address, phone number and website. Do not attempt to manipulate search results by adding extraneous keywords or a description of your business into the business name
Example 2. Bing Local
After encountering the above spam in Google I headed to Bing to see if the same result will display. It did not. What I was presented in Bing was a positive surprise:
In this case, the business owner (or the person responsible for online marketing for Moshulu Restaurant) has planned ahead and optimized the relevant restaurant listing in Bing Local for “Philadelphia restaurants week’. The optimization was very simple, however very effective and most importantly was done in a legitimate way.
As a result, Moshulu Restaurant’s local listing visibility was increased and the opportunity of capturing the Philadelphia Restaurant Week search traffic was maximized. Simple but brilliant.
The Bing example can be used as a case study showing that small business should actively use search engine local listings as promotional tools. The changes you make to your business local listing have a direct impact on its search engine visibility and on your pocket.