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420 Dilemma? Marijuana Emerges In Local Search

Marijuana in Maps and Local Search Listings Today marks the first time that April 20th -- known amongst pot smokers as "420" and frequently celebrated with smoking parties -- is a legally observable event in the United States (in some places, at least, since the states of Washington and Colorado have legalized recreational use of the drug for adults). So, what does this mean for local businesses and marketers? In 2010, I conducted a limited audit to see if 420 party locations, as well as marijuana dispensaries, appeared in Google Maps. I found little more than a user-generated map back then -- but fast-forward to 2014, and we be [...]


Survey: Older Generations Embrace Mobile As Local Shopping Companion

senior_woman_on_smartphone Conventional wisdom tells us that younger generations trump older generations in their use of mobile devices during the local purchasing process. While teenagers use their smartphones at every opportunity to find local businesses, read reviews and scan deals, their parents and grandparents rarely rely on their devices to take advantage of what is increasingly available via mobile, right? Maybe not. According to the results of a new consumer survey conducted by Thrive Analytics and released today by the Local Search Association, older generations -- including Boomers and Seniors -- are embra [...]


WSJ: Local Businesses Losing Reviews After Yelp-Yahoo Deal

yahoo-yelp-600 The recent Yelp/Yahoo partnership has angered some local business owners who say years of positive reviews are now gone from their Yahoo Local business listings. Some of their stories were told this week in the Wall Street Journal, including Colonial Hardwood Flooring of Lexington, Mass. The company says it had built up "six years of mostly positive feedback" on its Yahoo Local listing, but now it only shows one Yelp review that was posted on February 14, 2014. Colonial Hardwood's owner tells the WSJ that "it's a slap in the face that they took all those reviews down overnight." A [...]


MapQuest Aims For Reboot With New Content, Partners, UI

mapquest-featured A few years ago, while others were investing in their mapping platforms, AOL was coasting with MapQuest. AOL's sustained neglect of the online mapping pioneer cost the site its leadership in digital maps. Now, the company hopes to claw its way back with new content and functionality in what was described to me as phase one of a new multiphase rollout. Call it a reboot. Although the site has had several false starts in trying to do that over the past couple of years (e.g., MQVibe). Despite this, MapQuest's strong brand has kept the AOL division from falling off -- dare I say it -- the map [...]


Study: 78 Percent Of Local-Mobile Searches Result In Offline Purchases

local-search-map-featured Today comScore, Neustar Localeze and agency 15 Miles released the findings from their latest Local Search Study. Now in its seventh year, the survey of nearly 5,000 US adults was conducted in December 2013. Respondents "were individuals who [had] conducted a local business search in the last twelve months." There were also behavioral data captured in the study, which examined search behavior across search engines, yellow pages and local directory sites and "portals." There is a wealth of data about consumer behaviors and attitudes toward local search and content discovery across platform [...]


Google Places Adds New Features To Its Bulk Location Management Tool

google-local-places-featured Googler Jade Wang announced yesterday Google Places is rolling out new features to its bulk location management tool. According to the announcement, the new features will include a "Status" column that lets users know if a Map location is live, unverified, has errors, data conflicts, is a duplicate, or if it is pending review. The "Conflicts" interface is being updated as well: The updated [conflicts] interface will show you details on how a location page might differ on Maps/Search results versus what’s in your dashboard. We’ll show you what is live on Google, and which field is di [...]


Survey: 85% Of SEOs Shoot For 1-5 New Local Reviews Per Month

shutterstock_179555099-ratings Managing reviews and reputation isn't a new discipline for search consultants and agencies to focus on, but it is gaining prominence as reviews take on more significance in the world of local search. Consumers consult online reviews more regularly in their research process and put an increasing amount of trust in ratings and review sentiment when determining which local business to contact. Seventy-nine percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, according to the BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey.  Reviews also play a significant role in gaini [...]


No Joke: Google Maps Brings Back “Search Nearby” Feature

google-maps-600 You're going to hear a lot of rejoicing when this news spreads: Google has returned the "search nearby" feature to Google Maps. #celebrate!!! Amidst all of today's Google April Fools' joke announcements, the company tweeted the feature's resurrection earlier today. After doing a search on Google Maps, you can click again in the search box to get "Search Nearby" to show up as an option. Ever since Google relaunched Google Maps in February, users have been complaining about the disappearance of that particular feature. Here are a few tweets about it from just the past couple days: [...]


An Open Letter From Google To Local Directory Sites (Parody)

yelp-SERP-clustering To:           Local Directories From:     Google Re:            Local Search Rankings Hey guys... You may have noticed that over the past year, a lot of the organic traffic to your sites has been... well, we guess the right word is "tanking." As you know, it is our stated goal to organize the world's information while simultaneously doing no evil. And, while you certainly have helped us manage the world's information (thanks for adding schema to all your business listings and reviews so we could figure out how to beef up our Google+ Local listings!), we are starting [...]


Why “Barnacle SEO” Is Making A Big Comeback In Local

Yelp SMB Click Test Although I'd heard of "barnacle SEO" as a tactic at some of the early SEO conference networking events, the first real proponent of it in local search was Will Scott. I want to say that Will originally published this post on the now-defunct Local Search News in early 2008; but alas, the original has been lost to the silicon sands of time. Will creatively defines the concept of barnacle SEO as follows: Attaching oneself to a large fixed object and waiting for the customers to float by in the current. Directly applied to local search, this means optimizing your profiles or business pages on [...]


The Local Search Event Horizon: Adopt Events Markup For Your Business

Local Business Listings on Android Wear Smartwatch This month, Google Maps just announced a new events feature appearing on Android phones which has already been appearing in desktop local search results -- for some types of business, events information is now being displayed in addition to the other local profile elements. The focus on events continues to indicate how much importance Google places on this data (and why local businesses should optimize for it). Here's an example of the events feature screenshot from my Android phone -- the venue is Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco: As you can see, Google shows a few listings unde [...]


Yelp and YP Enter Into “Strategic” Content, Distribution Partnership

YP + Yelp YP and Yelp have announced a strategic partnership that will in the near future provide YP advertisers with an enhanced presence on Yelp and effectively bring Yelp into the YP Local Ad Network. There is probably a revenue sharing deal in the background but the parties declined to discuss terms. Yelp has existing content deals with Yahoo, Bing, Apple and others. However, this YP deal is quite different than those, which are mainly about the inclusion of Yelp reviews content in local search results. Under the terms of this deal, as I understand them, YP advertisers will gain access to the [...]


Bing Adds Directions Driving Directly In Search Results

bing-airport-maps-featured Bing announced they now offer driving directions in the form of a quick answer directly in the Bing search results. For example, last week, I drove from New York to Toronto and I wanted to tell how long the drive was. So all you need to do is search for [nyc to toronto] and Bing will tell you it is about 7 hours and 31 mins and 491 miles. Clicking on the map will take you to Bing's turn-by-turn driving directions, and it also works when you try it from your Windows Phone, iPhone and/or Android devices. Here is a picture: Of course, Google has offered a similar experience for a whi [...]


Which Is The Most “Generous” Search Engine To Local Businesses?

local-search-featured Earlier this month, one of our customers asked an interesting question in a training workshop. They wanted to know which search engine displayed the most local results for different types of search terms. Google gets the lion's share of focus in the SEO world, particularly in Local. They also have the most developed local search product (vs. Bing and Yahoo), but does this mean that they present more local results to searchers? We discussed our own assumptions on this matter and did some digging online but couldn't find any research that compared the display of results on Google vs. Bing vs. [...]


Yandex Buys Israeli Geo-Location Platform KitLocate

inside-yandex-featured Yandex announced this morning that it has acquired Israeli startup KitLocate. According to third-party sources, the deal was worth “several million euros." Yandex will gain and maintain a presence in Tel Aviv though the acquisition. The chief virtue of KitLocate is that it can provide location to apps without using much power unlike GPS or triangulation, which can drain mobile batteries. KitLocate also has both iOS and Android SDKs. There's also a "social location" capability that can detect and notify app users when they're in proximity to one another. Yandex will incorporate KitLoca [...]


Yahoo Goes Live With Yelp Local Reviews

yahoo-featured Last month the Wall Street Journal reported that Yelp reviews were being integrated into Yahoo search results. This morning Yahoo formally announced the partnership: Now when you use Yahoo Search to look up a local business in the U.S. on your smartphone, tablet, or PC, you’ll see user reviews, business information, and star ratings from Yelp. We’ve also added a new photo viewing experience to show high-quality photos from Yelp, other partners, and the businesses themselves. The information is equally available from Yahoo Search and Maps. When you click on "read all  . . .  reviews" or [...]


Survey: Consumers Blame Brands For Bad Location Data

local-search-map-featured Today at SMX West local data and marketing platform provider Placeable released findings from two related surveys it recently conducted online. The company polled consumers (n=1,000 US adults) and marketers (n=228) to gather data on local search attitudes and behaviors. Marketers were asked to discuss their behavior when they acted as consumers. Overall the marketers (as consumers) were more mobile, more interested in personalization and more active in social sharing and content creation than their "ordinary consumer" peers. Below are some of the more interesting "regular consumer" find [...]


Better Data, Public Transit Coming To Apple Maps In iOS 8

apple-maps-featured According to unnamed sources cited by 9to5mac, Apple's forthcoming iOS 8 will see a number of improvements to its mapping product across platforms. The site says the next Apple mobile OS will offer: Better and more complete points of interest and business data Public transit information and directions (rolling out first to major US cities) Much of the discussion in the article is about subtle changes to the Apple Maps UI or functionality improvements coming with the new OS. Further out, says the report, are indoor maps and augmented reality:  "Apple has also begun work on augmented [...]


Yahoo Rolling Out Indoor Maps (via Nokia)

Yahoo indoor maps Yahoo has started to integrate indoor maps into its newly upgraded mapping product. Even though Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer didn't want to go head to head with Google in "local" (read: maps), Yahoo has been improving its mapping and local search user experiences of late. The inclusion of venue maps comes courtesy of Nokia's Here division. Yahoo isn't creating these maps itself; Nokia has been collecting and mapping venues in different categories for a number of years and now has coverage in 45 countries, with more than 1,000 venues being added monthly according to the company. Nonetheless, i [...]


As Google Upgrades Google Maps Business Listings, Conflicts Happen Including Duplicate Listing Issues

google-local-places-featured Google has been automatically upgrading Google Place listings from the old system to the new Google Places dashboard. With this upgrade, there may be conflicts that prevents the upgrade from completing. The latest conflict is that there are duplicate listing issues and Google needs you to step in, fix the issue and then complete the upgrade process. Google has recently began sending out notices of the duplicate place listings conflict via email to those impacted by this issue. The email reads: We'd like to inform you that Google Places no longer accommodates more than one authorized owner [...]


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