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Yahoo Adds Local Business Snapshots Next To Search Results

yahoo-y-logo-2013 You're gonna say to yourself, "That looks a lot like Google's local search results." I'm talking about the latest interface change that Yahoo has announced: the display of local business information alongside search results. The local business info includes basic business information, photos, hours of operation and some data specific to the business type -- i.e., restaurant listings may show "Menu" and "Reservations" links. Yahoo's announcement says the idea is to "make it easier to get the essential facts for any business in the U.S. right on the search results page." The business [...]


MapQuest Transfers Local Listings Management To Yext

mapquest-featured Last October, MapQuest started outsourcing local business listings management to Yext. The "claim your MapQuest listings" page is hosted by Yext (I believe) with a co-branded look and feel. Yesterday, MapQuest notified business users that its local business center and basic local listings product would be formally shutting down. Here's the text of the email that went out: We wanted to inform you that the basic version of the MapQuest Local Business Center (LBC) is shutting down. As of January 31, 2014, you will no longer be able to access your listings account within the basic version o [...]


Local SEO Scam Of The Month: Craigslist SEO

scam-featured Most SEO consultants I have met are pretty decent, hard-working folks. But there are plenty of SEO con artists out there, and it kills me every time I see a small business (or a big business) get taken. Recently, I had the privilege to witness a true Picasso of SEO con artists. I am sharing this with you, dear reader, so that the next time you are jonesing for that cheap, quick SEO fix, you might calm yourself down and add some great content to your site instead. I was consulting for an agency that builds websites for local businesses. One of their clients had lost patience waiting for the [...]


4 Go-Tos To Make Online Reviews Work For Your Business

Yelp profile By now, everyone knows that online reviews can have a tremendous impact on consumers' purchasing decisions. Ultimately, a single review -- positive or negative -- can tip the scale in favor of one company over another. No doubt, the power of reviews on Google+, Yelp, Angie's List and other local search directories continues to mount. Review prominence in search results is also rising, as they often appear for a business just below their company website and make up the majority of the corresponding top 10 search results. Major search and review sites weight online reviews very highly, and [...]


Local SEOs Sound Off On Google+ Local Hijackings

google-plus-local Earlier this week, Danny Sullivan reported on the hijacking of thousands of local hotel listings within Google+ Local. Those listings had been replaced by third-party hotel booking services. And while it's unclear how long those third-party links were in place, several knowledgeable people have surmised it may have been at least a month, if not longer. Without offering any substantive comments about the situation, Google appears to have cleaned up the problem and mostly, if not entirely, restored the proper links. There's been no explanation forthcoming about how this might have happened f [...]


Google Now Cards Hit The Desktop For Mac, Windows and Chrome OS Users

google-now-featured The ever-helpful Google Now service is now available on your desktop for both Mac, Windows and Chrome OS users. This Google Now service features Google Now cards that are run through the latest Google Chrome build (Chrome Canary) and will work for those users who are currently logged-in to Chrome. According to the "Google Operating System" blog to enable the feature users need to simply follow these directions: "You only need to go to chrome://flags/#enable-google-now , then switch from "Default" to "Enabled" and click "Relaunch Now" at the bottom of the page to restart the browser. [...]


Health & Medical SMBs Spend More On Marketing Than Other Industries

online vs offline copy When we conducted an online survey of 668 US small and medium-sized businesses in October 2013, a large number of these businesses (just over 20%) classified themselves as belonging to the Health & Medical Industry. This group consisted of a wide spread of specialists, including chiropractors, dentists, mental health practices, medical family practices, pharmacies, psychologists and general physicians. We asked them a number of questions related to their attitudes and use of internet and mobile marketing, and their engagement with search agencies. Interestingly, we found they spent mor [...]


Yelp Turns Up The Heat: 285 Consumer Alerts Issued Over Fake Reviews

yelp-alerts-featured It's been almost a year and a half since Yelp began issuing Consumer Alerts when a business on its site has been caught trying to get fake reviews; but after a cautious start, that program appears to be turning up the heat. According to an interview with CEO Jeremy Stoppelman in The Telegraph, Yelp has now slapped 285 businesses on its website with Consumer Alerts. When Yelp issued its first set of Consumer Alerts in October 2012, only eight local businesses were hit. Then last August, Yelp revealed that it had issued its second round of alerts. No specific numbers were shared, but the c [...]


Thousands Of Hotel Listings Were Hijacked In Google+ Local

google-hotel-featured Thousands of hotels listed within Google+ Local appear to have had links leading to their official sites "hijacked" and replaced with ones leading to third-party booking services. Google+ Local listings are what Google depends on to provide results in Google Maps or Google Search, when people look for local businesses. A Hijacked URL For example, here is the "verified" page for the Courtyard Marriott in Sherman Oaks, California: The arrows show how the URLs for the hotel's official website leads to "courtyardmarriott.roomstobook.info" rather than the hotel's actual page here within th [...]


How Local Businesses Can Leverage Twitter’s New Nearby Feature

twitter-nearby Twitter has made headlines in recent weeks with the quiet launch of its experimental Nearby timeline, which allows eligible mobile users to discover tweets posted by others in their immediate vicinity, regardless of whether they are following them. This feature is currently available to a select number of users who have opted-in to allow their location information to be shared on Twitter. Nearby appears as its own tab alongside the Home tab within Twitter's mobile apps. As shown right, the tool features a map with the user's location indicated, surrounded by pins for the locations of ot [...]


Google Apologizes For Berlin Street Being Renamed “Adolf Hitler Platz” On Google Maps

Google maps icon In a story reported by NBCNews.com's World News, the popular Berlin square Theodor Heuss Platz was momentarily renamed "Adolf Hitler Platz" on Google Maps. Google apologized for the error in an email sent to NBC, stating, "We were made aware of a wrong and inappropriate Berlin street name on Google Maps and have corrected this as quickly as possible." Spotted by a Google Maps user, NBC said Google didn't know how long the inappropriate street name had been listed on Google Maps; although, the news network claimed local media reports suggest the error had been in place for a couple of hou [...]


Google Preps “Hotel View” Interior 360 Imagery

Google Street View Pegman Icon Call it Google "Hotel View." According to the Associated Press (via Fox), Google is photographing hotel interiors as part of an effort to enhance its travel content. Perhaps even more interesting, says the article, is that the initiative is being run not under the umbrella of Google Maps but through Google Wallet. It's not clear whether that last statement is accurate, however. Google has been slowly rolling out more and more interior photography for local businesses over the past few years. This may simply be a logical extension of that effort. According to the AP, Google is ma [...]


Checking In: Our Top Local Search Columns Of 2013

sel-2013-local-featured As more and more small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) venture into the digital marketing arena, they are quickly recognizing the importance of being visible within local search results. This past year saw the official launch of Google's Knowledge Graph Carousel for local search results, creating a more visually pleasing user experience for searchers. Additionally, Google continued the rocky process of updating its business listings management from Google Places to Google+ Local. Whether you're an SMB trying to navigate the world of local search on your own or a large brand with [...]


Use Google Keyword Research To Target The Long Tail In Local Search

seokeywordresearchpic There's something of a void where local business marketing is concerned. Local marketers understand they need to target keyword queries in SEO and PPC campaigns, but they assume they know what people search for, and they miss out on valuable referrals because of it. Here's a brief guide on local keyword research to close the gap. Companies tend to get somewhat myopic about understanding how consumers try to discover their type of business. It's natural to find out how some people find your business and then focus your efforts on building and reinforcing that successful vector -- even to the [...]


Google Maps Pegman Is Now Santa For Christmas

santa-pegman If you go to Google Maps and look at the Pegman used for browsing street view images, you will see the Pegman is wearing a Santa hat. The Santa Pegman is not new, it was shown to us when Google had a welcome back party for the Pegman in the new version of Google Maps. Plus, Google has had the Pegman wearing a Santa hat since Christmas 2010. Hat tip to Alex Chitu for spotting this. [...]


What Will 2014 Bring For Local Search? 6 Predictions

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 12.37.48 PM Another year is closing and search marketers are anxiously looking ahead to what is on the horizon for local search in 2014. As opportunity grows for businesses to connect with customers via search, so do the challenges of determining the best approach and the potential for search engines to change the game entirely, as Google did with Hummingbird in 2013. Here are a few local search happenings to expect in the coming year. National To Local Approach For Brands The idea of a coordinated national to local strategy will become a reality for more brands and local businesses in 2014. Many l [...]


Microsoft Photosynth Creator Agüera y Arcas Joining Google

Blaise Agüera y Arcas Last night, the NY Times reported that the man primarily responsible for Microsoft's Photosyth product, Blaise Agüera y Arcas, is joining Google. Agüera y Arcas is not simply an engineer or technician, he offers a rare combination of technical expertise, design and product vision. Agüera y Arcas joined Microsoft when his 2003 startup, Seadragon, was acquired by Microsoft Research in 2006. The next year, that technology launched as Photosynth, one of the most innovative software tools or products Microsoft had then produced to date. Unfortunately, the Photosynth never caught on among [...]


62% Of Marketers Say Local Search Is Getting Harder

local-search-map-featured During the recent InsideLocal webinar series, I've had the chance to gather the opinions and feelings of the hundreds of search agencies, consultants, "in-bound" marketers and business owners who logged in to listen. We ran a number of on-the-spot surveys (or polls) during each webinar, which helped to complement the expert views provided by our speakers. In these polls, we addressed a number of issues ranging from "Is SEO getting harder?" through to specifics of "Review Strategy" and "Optimization for Service Area Businesses." The following charts represent the results of these polls an [...]


8 Tips For Planning Your Small Business’ 2014 Marketing Strategy

marketing strategy While the holiday season is undoubtedly a busy period for small business owners, it's important to set aside time to plan your marketing strategy for the year ahead. How will you continue to maintain and grow your business in 2014? What plans do you have to keep your business on track and stay ahead of the competition? Issues related to marketing are top-of-mind for small business owners going into the New Year. In fact, according to Yodle's recently released First Annual Small Business Sentiment Survey, 42% of small business owners said they are worried about finding new customers, maki [...]


Bing Brings Enhanced Mapping To Windows 8.1

Bing Maps Preview Yesterday Microsoft announced "Bing Maps Preview" for Windows 8.1 (including tablets). The new mapping app offers a range of enhanced features and capabilities. It seeks to bring highly realistic, 3-D imagery together with a more intuitive UI. Google Earth and what used to be called Microsoft Virtual Earth have always been a bit slow and clunky as daily mapping and local search tools. Now with Bing Maps Preview Microsoft is trying to merge the daily, mundane world of local search with the more imaginative and leisure uses of 3D mapping (virtual sightseeing, travel planning). Microsoft sa [...]


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