Armed with an index finger, pencil and an analytics package (other than google’s), I set out to see what I could I learn about those folks searching for local service businesses by looking at what they typed in. Here is what I found. (I included a scanned page of the “notes” so you could appreciate the “scientificness” of this study. I also find it useful to examine 2 campaigns separately, so that differences can be observed, as well as averages.)
I studied the campaigns of 2 different businesses and business types in different states. Both are service businesses with average customer worths in the $thousands.
Local Search Campaign NY
- Out of the 529 queries tracked, 253 contained a geographic indicator.
- 176 typed the business type first and then the geography; i.e. widget maker timbuktu
- 60 typed the geographic indicator first, followed by the business type; i.e. timbuktu widget maker
- Of the 127 queries where the searcher used the name of the county, 91 omitted the word -county- and 36 included it; i.e widgets orange vs. widgets orange county.
- 108 included the state as part of the query.
- Of those 21 typed out the state and 87 used the 2 letter abbreviation.
- 116 typed only the name of the city or county without including the state.
- 2 used a zip code
- 27 queries included the word -in-
- 40 were navigational queries for competing firms.
Local Search Campaign NJ
- Out of the 298 queries tracked, 177 contained a geographic indicator.
- 105 typed the business type first and then the geography; i.e. widget maker timbuktu
- 36 typed the geographic indicator first, followed by the business type; i.e. timbuktu widget maker
- Of the 107 queries where the searcher used the name of the county, 2 omitted the word -county- and 105 included it; i.e widgets orange vs. widgets orange county.
- 85 included the state as part of the query.
- Of those 15 typed out the state and 71 used the 2 letter abbreviation.
- 86 typed only the name of the city or county without including the state.
- 4 used a zip code
- 47 used the word -in-
- 17 were navigational queries for competing firms. 42 were navigational queries for this business and these seemed to accelerate as the year went on.
- I believe queries that include a geographic indicator are more likely to convert into sales for local businesses so I begin there. And I would not pay someone for “clicks” unless the report somewhat resembled this. For instance, if you get your click report and you see that only 25 out of 2000 queries include geography and you’re a local service business… run for the hills.
- People are more likely to use the sequence: “business type + geo” than “geo + business type”; about 75% -25%
- (answered in 2)
- Whether a “county searcher” includes the word -county- or not can vary wildly from place to place. Here is an example where an average would be of little use. In the NJ campaign, nearly every searcher included the word and in the NY campaign, the majority omitted it. The conclusion is to test for each county in which you advertise.
- About half the queries that include a geographic indicator, include the state. This occurred in both campaigns.
- Most people use the two letter state abbreviation (>80%). At least in New York and New Jersey they do.
- (concluded in 5,6)
- Zip Codes are nearly worthless.
- The word -in- is fairly common in queries that include a geo indicator, as in ‘widgets in Timbuktu.’ More than 10% in geo-queries in the NY campaign and 25% of geo queries in the NJ campaign included the word.
- Re-read #10 in both campaigns above: If you don’t have a website that can be found by searchers that are looking for you, you are losing a ton of business.