More insights from the Local Consumer Review 2012

The Local Consumer Review 2012 was a study which was released in three stages. It asked consumers from the UK, Canada and the United States about their local SEO habits. Nearly 2,900 individuals replied and a lot of useful information relevant to website optimization was gathered. This information needs careful analysis to ensure it is useful for SEO consultants to use in improving SEO.

The third stage of the Local Customer Review emerged in June. There were some particularly noteworthy findings contained in the text and charts. If you are planning a local campaign, you will benefit from paying attention to them.

It is worth mentioning that Google Places has been replaced by Google+ Local. This shift may impact on the popularity of the Google local business service and it makes the Local Customer Review a little behind the times in this one area. The fact that Google acquired the review site Zagat last year is also worth bearing in mind. This is because Google has put reviews from Zagat at the heart of its local strategy. These reviews are poised to be influential and could well boost the popularity of Google+ Local.

Do customers share their experience online?

Among other things, the study indicated that customers who had enjoyed a positive experience were not necessarily shy to share it. Restaurant recommendations are made on a regular basis. Even dentists and doctors are commonly recommended to others, while hotels are also often mentioned. Customers also do not necessarily keep their negative experiences to themselves either.

What is more interesting is the way in which marketing information is shared. Unsurprisingly perhaps, word of mouth scored very highly. However, consultants may be pleased to learn that 32 per cent of the respondents had shared information via Facebook. That figure was up on two years previously. 13 per cent of the respondents said they had shared data via Google Places or Google Maps. Only 9 per cent had done the same thing via Twitter.

This kind of data is of obvious use for social campaigns. It would be a shame to ignore some of the other interesting information which can be gleaned from the report, however. This is because it is this data which can really give a campaign a competitive edge.

Can you get your customers to share their experience?

The report showed that people can usually be persuaded to share more than they currently do. A special offer can make individuals keener on sharing. In the current economic climate, value for money counts for more than it may have done in previous years. In 2010, 52 per cent of respondents revealed that they could be swayed by a special offer. However, 2012 findings showed that 66 per cent could be tempted in that way. These statistics underline the importance of the special offer tactic.

If a company wants positive news about its services to circulate then providing a special deal can really help with this. The sample used in the Local Customer Review was large enough to be significant to SEO planners, but it will be important to look out for new kid on the block Google+ Local in any future studies.

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