This is the third in a series of posts on key dimensions of Hyperlocal. Other posts in this series are:
In the previous post, we explored the dimensions of Hyperlocal News and Commerce. In this post, we will explore Local Advertising and Hyperlocal Community.
Local Advertising is definitely a key part of Local Business/Commerce, which I explored in the previous post. But local advertising can also be embedded within Local News and Local Community portals. Thus I’ve chose to deal with it as a separate topic.
Insights into Local/Hyperlocal Advertising
First off, I have a few favorite resources for keeping informed in the Local/Hyperlocal advertising space. These are:
Borrell Associates – headed up by CEO Gordon Borrell – also sponsors the Local Online Advertising Conference, which was held in New York city early this month.
Jeff Jarvis also frequently has compelling insights into Advertising strategies for Local News Media. For example, see his recent blog posts from February 2010: Stop selling scarcity and NewBizNews: What ad sales people hear.
Search Engine Marketing/SEO for SMEs
Obviously, SEM strategies are critical for any local online business on the web. My top go-to resources for local SEM/SEO insights are:
- Small Business Search Marketing by Matt McGee
- SEO by the Sea – Bill Slawski’s blog
- Understanding Google Maps and Local Search – Mike Blumenthal’s blog
- Chris Silver Smith
- The Noisy Channel – Daniel Tunkelang’s blog
- David Mihm
- Local SEO Guide – Andrew Shotland’s blog
- Search Engine Land
- John Battelle’s Searchblog
Big Ad Networks
On the solution provider front, you have the big ad networks around Search Engine marketing, some of which include:
Local Advertising Media/Platforms
A number of application/media providers – many with a mobile focus – are positioned to be significant players, including:
Niche/Regional-based Ad Networks and Services
Increasingly, however, you also have your niche/regional-based ad networks and service providers. Here’s some examples:
- Spot Runner
- Sacremento Press
- Village Voice Media
Bargains and Deals
Numerous vendors provide applications to notify consumers of bargains and deals in the local vicinity, including:
Additional Local Advertising Solution Providers
One more advertising solution provider I’ll mention:
So there you have it, a sampling of Local Advertising solution providers. Local Advertising should be a very interesting space to watch in 2010, particularly when it comes to mobile, location-based tools and technologies.
The Local Community view of HyperLocal is about information and events of interest to the Community. Information and Events around the Local Community may be contributed by businesses, community organizations, or municipal governmental sources, or it may be user-generated content contributed by the Community.
When you talk Community, by definition you are talking about Social Networks. Therefore, you have to consider the various social networking platforms, and particularly those that host large social graphs. I’m thinking here most specifically of:
Many of the HyperLocal News platforms are also positioning themselves as Local Community platforms. For example:
You also have open city initiatives/discussions such as those initiated by:
For additional information on open city initiatives, see here.
Then there are do-it-yourself City initiatives and tools, for example:
You have Local Event platforms, such as:
And finally, organizational and community tools around local causes. See:
This is really just a very small sampling of possible ways/platforms for organizing people within a geographic community. I look for a lot of innovation in this space over the next several years.
HyperLocal Business Models
This viewpoint explores various ways to make a HyperLocal business commercially viable. There’s some great pioneering work being done by Jeff Jarvis and the folks at CUNY here – see the New Business Models for News Project at CUNY, and Jarvis’ overview of the work on HyperLocal business models here.
More on this to come.
Chris Silver Smith asks if Google Maps has switched from PageRank to “BizRank” in an interesting post from June 2009.
Another nice post from Chris Silver Smith on Local Business SEO for Geo titled Should You Geotag Pages For Local SEO? As Silver Smith points out, geocoding web pages is acheived through semantic markup formats such as Geo microformat, ICBM meta tag (GeoURL), RDF tags, and the Geo tag meta data format. These various approaches are nicely summed up at the following Geotagging wikipedia page.
Which format to use? Here’s what Silver Smith has to say on the matter:
If you were only going to add one set of geotags, I’d suggest adding either the Geo microformat or RDF, because they’re supported in some ways by Yahoo! and Google (”supported” in the sense that both deliver up local content with microformats, and both have used microformats and RDF for purposes of special results listing treatments). Also, providing the coordinates on the page visibly can enhance usefulness as people are able to copy them directly into their GPS devices.
A couple fantastic posts from Chris Silver Smith on optimizing Search at Local Newspapers.
Optimizing Search for News
The first article is titled Local Newspapers Need To Embrace SEO To Survive. This article provides suggestions for how Newspapers can more fully embrace SEO to make their news content more discoverable in search results. Here’s one particular area of improvement Silver Smith feels Newspaper’s might focus on – Newspaper archives:
So, what’s to be done?
While there are a great many areas where online newspaper sites might improve and increase revenue prospects, one of the greatest untapped potentials on newspaper sites in my opinion is the news archive section. Even among poorly optimized newspaper sites, some articles may vanish into a walled-garden archive section at some point, going dark for search engines. Combined with very poor on-site search utilities, it’s as though these articles don’t exist at all for consumers.
I can’t count how many different newspaper sites I’ve visited where I’ve searched for articles which I knew existed, yet the on-site search engines could not locate them. In some cases, the “live” sites had search engines separate from archive search, yet offered no explanation to users as to which should be used and in what cases. Do articles pass into archive after one year? Two? Three? Why can’t the on-site search show them, regardless? In many other cases I’ve found articles by searching in Google, but the article is no longer available when I click through to the newspaper site, and searching within the site fails to reveal it. Did the article “expire” and pass into the archive graveyard or something? No messaging on the resulting error pages reveals this, nor suggests viable means for locating the article.
…How many articles are locked away in these old archives?!? It surely varies from newspaper to newspaper, but the potential numbers are staggering. While clicks on pay-per-click ads on newspaper sites may add up slowly, there’s no doubt in my mind that if newspapers dramatically expanded the content they have available to search engines, the clicks and associated revenue would increase. These newspapers must not realize the potential they’re sitting upon!
In the remainder of the article, Silver Smith offers specific ways that Newspapers can optimize their news articles for Search.
Optimizing Business Listings and Online Presence for Discovery and Citation on Online Newspaper sites
The second article is titled Three Ways To Optimize Business For Local Search Via Online Newspapers. Whereas the previous article focused on search optimization for news content, this article focused on search optimization for business listings.
A couple very nice pieces.
Another excellent blog post by Chris Silver Smith: Brave New World For Yellow Pages: Google Nabs Marketshare, Strangles Local Directories, from September 2009.
Also see the following related posts from Chris Silver Smith:
- Why Use Microformats?
- How To Geocode An Address & Optimize Location Pages
- The hCard Microformat & Local Search Optimization
- Optimize Local Events With hCalendar Microformat
A very provocative article from Chris Silver Smith at Search Engine Land on Google’s algorithm for ranking local landmarks, which Google has recently branded as Favorite Places. This algorithm, often referred to as “PlaceRank”, was apparently first highlighted by Bill Slawski in 2007 in a post analyzing the related Google patent.
Silver Smith’s post goes on to explore how the Placerank algorithm gives prefential treatment to Wikipedia pages, as well as highlights a couple articles on optimizing for PageRank:
- Can Your Business Achieve Landmark Status In Google Maps? – Chris Silver Smith, December 2009
- Google PlaceRank in the wild – Ash Nallawalla, December 2009
For additional local search-related commentary, see additional recent Chris Silver Smith’s articles here.
Geolocation is certainly a dominant trend for 2010.