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Time For SMBs To Tackle – Or Be Tackled By – Online Reviews

reviews-240px So much of search focuses on being found. But being found doesn’t do much good unless you’re also chosen. The only thing worse than not being found is being found and rejected from consideration. There’s no doubt that online reviews play an increasingly central role in the consumer path to purchase. Research consistently shows that the vast majority of consumers -- as high as 9 in 10 consumers, in one survey -- say they are being influenced by both positive and negative reviews during their decision process. Yet, despite this clear trend in consumer shopping behavior, a surprising [...]


Google Yanks Fake FBI Listing From Google Maps, Puts New Blocks In Place To Stop Further Abuse

google-maps-fake-fbi In response to a string of cases where fake business/organization listings have been added to Google Maps, Google says it has removed those listings and put in place new hurdles to make it more difficult for this kind of abuse to get through its system. This latest run of problems came to light about a week ago, when some users discovered they could use Google Map Maker to create fake businesses that would be verified via a phone call. In the beginning, many of the fake listings were harmless. More recently, the same user took advantage of Map Maker to create fake FBI and Secret Service [...]


Google Brings Back Right-Click-For-Directions To Google Maps

classic-new-google-maps Google Maps users can once again right-click anywhere on the new Maps to get quick directions to or from the spot that they're clicking. They can also use the "What's Here" option to quickly get the lat-long coordinates for any spot on the map. These are two of many features that users have asked Google to bring back from Classic Maps to the new Google Maps. There are still several other missing features -- some of which Google has promised will eventually show up again. The screenshots below show what happens when you right-click on the new Google Maps (left) compared to a right-click i [...]


German Design Firm Claims Willful Patent Infringement Over Google Earth

Google Earth A German design firm is claiming that Google and Google Earth have infringed its patent (USRE44550 E1) and is seeking triple damages under the notion that the infringement was intentional or willful. The firm, ART+COM ("ACI"), makes the following claims: The development history of Google Earth indicates knowledge and infringement by key Google employees Google Earth "bears remarkable similarities to ART+COM's commercial system, which was developed nearly a decade prior to Google's introduction of Google Earth" The claimed patent and method for rendering geographical objects (Terravis [...]


10 Local Marketing Myths Hamstringing Your Business

Local Online Marketing Myths - Local SEO Myths As an internet marketer, I frequently encounter local business owners (and large chain store companies with many local outlets) that haven't had time to really understand online marketing. Many of them have latched onto some myth that's completely false -- and which can keep their businesses from soaring as high as they otherwise might. It's not surprising that local business operators can lack knowledge about online marketing, or that they can get exposed to misapprehensions about how local marketing should be conducted. Google's CEO has been quoted as saying that the world is now generati [...]


Google Says (Some) Missing Features Will Be Added To New Google Maps

google-maps-600 Google took its new Maps site out of beta this week, but many users noticed that some of their favorite features from Classic Maps were missing. Not to worry, Google says. It's aware of that and plans to bring at least some of those missing over to the new Maps site in the near future. The team will continue to work to improve the new Google Maps, so look out for better performance and additional features, like send to car, in the coming weeks. That mention of the Send To Car feature is as specific as Google would get in its replies to our questions about the missing features we've n [...]


Google Places Quality Guidelines Updated

google-local-places-featured Google quietly announced within the Google Help forums that they have made a clarification update to their Place quality guidelines to help business owners know what they can name their business within Google Local and what they can not. In short, Google is allowing a single descriptor within the business name, if and only if that descriptor is location information or describes your business offers. Here are the revised guidelines: Your title should reflect your business's real-world title. In addition to your business's real-world title, you may include a single descriptor that help [...]


New Google Maps Comes Out Of Preview Today

google-maps-ipad-featured Roughly last May at Google's "I/O" developer conference, the company introduced an updated version of its desktop Maps experience. Since that time, it has been in "preview," allowing users to go back and forth between the "classic" and new versions. Today, it's coming out of preview and soon will be the default PC Google Maps experience. Since its introduction, Google has been adding features, tweaking and adjusting the new Maps. Overall, it's a more visually-compelling product than the old Maps with a wide array of enhanced features. Among them: Rich images, photo tours and interior p [...]


Why Duplicate Business Listings Are Like The Walking Dead

zombies-danger-risk-600 In the Local SEO biz, we spend a lot of time fixing duplicate business listings. Duplicate records of your business appearing throughout the Local Search ecosystem can cause a variety of issues like messing with your Google Local rankings, causing you to lose business, and may even make you feel like you're experiencing a zombie apocalypse. The problem is no matter what we do, dupes often come back from the dead to haunt us. Why is that? TL;DR Warning: Time to eat your local data vegetables. [caption id="attachment_184636" align="alignleft" width="300"] Image Courtesy of the Ansel Sho [...]


Yelp Supersizes Its Local Profiles, Makes Them Less Busy

yelp-icon Yelp has redesigned parts of its web UI to make them more visual and to surface more information. In particular business profile pages have been changed to emphasize images, featured user reviews and key pieces of local content, all of which are now more prominent. The changes are not yet live for me, which is a happy event. I was able to capture a "before" image of San Francisco sushi restaurant Tataki South. The "after" view of the profile below is supplied by Yelp. The screenshot below is the same business profile. Information like business hours is easier to see. Review highligh [...]


Products, Prices & Proximity Are Most Important Info On Local Business Websites

local-search-featured Historically, website design and optimization have been uncomfortable bedfellows. The structural and content requirements of SEO were seen to restrict the fluidity of design and user interaction, while a narrow focus on website style often meant that the need to gain visibility in search and convert clicks into customers was overlooked. While these reluctant friends have kissed and made up, there is often too great a focus on design and optimization over the basics, i.e., what information customers value the most when they visit a website. In January of this year, we (BrightLocal) survey [...]


Yahoo Turns To Yelp To Beef Up Local Search

Yahoo-Yelp deal According to a report appearing today in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Yahoo will be incorporating local content and listings from Yelp into its main search results. As the article points out, Yelp has a similar deal with Microsoft-Bing and, of course, with Apple (maps). Yelp has an API that permits third parties to use a portion of its reviews and local listings content. The Bing deal, announced in June of last year, is a more elaborate version of that with a deeper integration. Below is a screenshot of how Yelp content is shown in Bing search results today: Yahoo has recently sta [...]


YP Wants To Compete Directly With Google And Yelp In Local

YP logo When one looks across the local digital landscape there are many companies and apps but few consumer “brands.” In specific verticals, like travel or automotive, there are companies such as TripAdvisor or Cars.com. But “horizontally” on a national level there are very few top-of-mind, major players. That list starts with Google and Yelp and could include Apple (re maps) and maybe Foursquare and Groupon. Mapquest has faded and Facebook’s local efforts are still what we might call embryonic. The various yellow pages and directory publishers, once dominant in local, have had great [...]


5 Uncommon PPC Strategies For the Local Business’ Toolkit

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 9.21.38 AM Any search on PPC strategies will yield a tremendous amount of resources that are focused on generalized positive and negative PPC strategies for local businesses, e.g., keyword management, bid management, negative keywords, landing page optimization. What is often not as readily available is information on uncommon and highly effective PPC tactics that squarely benefit local search marketers by giving them a competitive advantage in bringing in leads. The following tactics should be a part of the local business marketer's toolkit and will return enormous rewards. Tactic 1: Attributio [...]


Google Requiring Some Business To Reverify Their Listings Or Be Removed From Google Maps

google-local-places-featured Some business owners are receiving emails from Google requiring them to reverify their listings within three-weeks or their listings will be removed from Google Maps and Google+ Local. The emails contain the subject, "Action Required: You have 3 weeks to save your Google Places Listing." It is unclear how many businesses have received this notification and how many businesses this may have impacted. Google's Jade Wang said in a help thread that these emails are indeed from Google and should be taken seriously. The email reads: Due to changes in Google Maps, we’d like to inform you [...]


Yelp Reports $233 Million In Revenue For 2013, Up 69 Percent From 2012

yelp-logo-featured Yelp released its 4Q 2013 financial results today, reporting end of year net revenue at $233 million, representing 69 percent year-over-year growth from 2012. While delivering the earnings report call, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said, "It was a phenomenal year for Yelp." Yelp's fourth quarter revenue in 2013 totaled $70.7 million, a 72 percent growth rate over 4Q 2012. Yelp also saw 47 percent year-over-year growth in cumulative reviews, with approximately 53 million reviews now on the site. Unique site visitors averaged 120 million per month, representing a 39 percent year-over-year gro [...]


Telenav Thinks Scout Can Take On Google Maps

Skobbler app Last week Telenav acquired Skobbler for roughly $24 million in cash and stock. Skobbler is based in Berlin, Germany and is to OpenStreetMap (OSM) what Red Hat is to Linux according to Ryan Peterson of Telenav. For those not aware, OSM is the Wikipedia of digital mapping. It relies on a global force of over 1.5 million volunteer editors or contributors. Telenav, which got its start in white label navigation and enterprise fleet tracking, is the creator of Scout, a consumer navigation app that Telenav believes is capable of taking on Google Maps. According to Peterson, the Skobbler acquis [...]


Microsoft’s $15 Million Check-in: Will Redmond Buy Foursquare?

microsoft-foursquare-featured Microsoft has invested $15 million in Foursquare and said it will license the former's location data according to news released yesterday. Foursquare aspires to be "the location layer for the internet." With real-time feedback about local data accuracy, based on user movements and check-ins, Foursquare is becoming a stronger and stronger source of local information. However I wouldn't necessarily agree with the notion that Foursquare's data are the most accurate in the market. Google and Yelp may still have better data -- although I suspect Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley would dispute that. [...]


5 Tips To Kill The Competition In Local Search

local-search-map-featured If your business has a local presence -- anywhere -- you must take advantage of Google+ Local. Creating and optimizing Google+ Local profiles is a critical marketing practice for local small businesses, multi-location enterprises, national franchises and companies with a single physical location. It will help you reach the 97% of consumers who search for local businesses online. Google+ Local not only helps web searchers find and share local business information, it can also help your business get displayed near the top of Google SERPs. When a search is made with local intent, Google typi [...]


6 Local Tips For Small Business SEO Success

SEL - Billys Bakery Graphic We all know that a key component of any small business' marketing strategy is to effectively position its brand in search engine results. But is it possible to dominate search results with content you control -- or at least content you've influenced? The answer is yes. There are simple and effective ways to boost visibility for your business in search results, while simultaneously improving related marketing efforts in social media, ratings and reviews, and media outreach. Take a look at my six tips for local SEO success, along with action items for each in order to successfully implemen [...]


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