1. Search Engine Marketing

Local Scorecard: Google, Microsoft, Ask 1, Yahoo 0

On a whim, I decided to conduct a search from a few engines while staying at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas this weekend. It proved to be a quick, interesting experiment.

First, I tried Google, and I was signed into my account (signifying I’m from NY). Google’s first two ads were generic, but the third, in a shaded blue box above the natural search results, was from lasvegas.citysearch.com. Three ads to the right also were targeted to Vegas.

Windows Live
didn’t return any locally targeted ads, but it came out just as well, returning a box above the natural results saying "top local restaurants for restaurants near las vegas, nevada" with three restaurants listed. There were no ads up top so this was the most prominent spot on the page. Well done.

As for Yahoo, where I was also logged in, it didn’t target the ads at all, nor did it offer any local listings for my generic search. It did offer a helpful hint up top: "
Also try:nyc restaurants,
chicago restaurants,
new york restaurants." Great, thanks.

Finally, I tried Ask.com. I didn’t realize they’re already defaulting to the AskX.com site, which seems like a bold, risky move given that it just seemed to be in beta a few days ago and still has some quirks. For a site that’s gaining market share, do you really want to mess with the entire user experience? As for my search though, it returned Citysearch’s Las Vegas site as the number one result – great targeting, and great for business, given Citysearch is Ask.com’s sister company under IAC.

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