Have you ever wished you could get a feel for a neighborhood in a new city or unfamiliar area before making the trek to that Thai restaurant with great online reviews? Knowing in advance if the area is known for nightlife or romantic views will convince some to flock and others to flee. Yelp saw enough demand for this kind of insider information that it created a feature on its site called the Wordmap, which shows the density of keywords used in reviews to provide additional local-search context.
B2C marketers may need to take this information into consideration when publishing and monitoring brands’ online content for local SEO. The insight could trigger a new keyword strategy or prompt companies to start conversations about their historic surroundings, waterfront views or convenience to suburbs.
The Yelp tool uses a heatmapping technology to show the density of keywords used in local reviews. Currently, the function is limited to cities where the site has the highest concentration of reviews from which to draw – Austin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Paris, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Washington, D.C.
However, this is an important development for businesses that aren’t in these core communities, because online reviews are playing larger roles in purchase decisions online and off. Brafton recently covered a study, which found online reviews now influence daily purchasing decisions for 5 percent of consumers.
Fifteen percent said they check reports weekly before patronizing a business and over half said they occasionally read reviews to assess whether a local business is good.
Developing a presence on key sites is the first step toward determining whether local search information is sending the right messages to target audiences, but it’s not always enough to set the best conversations in motion. Brands that publish steady streams of web content spark discussions about their companies with local audiences, inviting reviews about the neighborhood’s charm or trendy vibe that will attract consumers online.