David Mihm is the President & CEO of GetListed.org, in addition to running his own Portland-based search engine consulting business. He’s a Search Engine Land columnist and a frequent speaker at the SMX, SES, and Kelsey Group conference. He has created a number of tools to assist the SMB in navigating the rough waters of local more easily and publishes the annual survey of Local Ranking factors. More importantly he cares about the state of local search and how it impacts SMBs. He brings that sensibility and an astute mind to his list of articles that stood out for him in 2010.
He thinks through the issues top to bottom and whenever I have a question, he is the one that I call.
The Local conversation this year was once again dominated by Google, and in particular, its decision to completely reinvent its Local interface, moving away from the 10/7-pack and into a blended organic/local SERP. (Btw, it bothers me that we still do not have a conventional term for this type of result two months after it launched!). So a couple
Looking ahead to 2011, I think it’s going to be all about reviews, reviews, reviews this year as the differentiating factor for most Local SMB rankings. Google’s extensive–though not quite exhaustive–push of Hotpot here in Portland these last couple months only goes to show how much stock they’re putting in reviews. So I want to bring people’s attention to a couple of your posts in this arena.
Then, a couple of conceptual / theoretical posts–one by Chris Silver Smith that highlights an often-overlooked fundamental principle of Google’s Location Prominence patent, and one by Carolyn Johnston of Microsoft addressing one of business owners’ and marketers’ biggest frustration: why is my business data wrong, and what’s with all of the duplicate listings?
And, one tactical post–in my opinion the most actionable post in our industry over the course of the entire year–hats off to Garrett French.
Localization, Unique Data Sets & the Future of Search –
Few people follow the economic side of Google’s UI decisions as closely as Aaron Wall. In this article he lays out some of Google’s less altruistic motives behind Place Search.
Dead Fingers Walking –
Andrew Shotland’s darkly satirical commentary on the same Places UI upgrade (pre-dating Aaron’s article by several months thanks to your own publication of the beta Place Search interface, Mike).
What Are the Implications of the New Integrated Local Search Results? –
Your own commentary on this seismic (or catclysmic, if you ask Andrew) shift in the way Google returns results for Local Intent searches.
Review Services – Do Positive Only Reviews Have a Place? –
Perhaps not one of your greatest literary epics, Mike, but I see this debate raging for many years, particularly as Google begins to incorporate self-generated testimonials and hReviews into its Place Pages. It’s an extremely important question to ask both the search engines and the marketing community.
Principles for a Review Plan: Considerations in encouraging customer reviews –
You pretty much nail the matrix of important considerations in this easily-digestible column.
A New Behemoth Emerges in Google Maps: Wikipedia –
Chris Silver Smith highlights the importance of the highest-rated referring Place-related document as part of Google’s Location Prominence patent, here pointing to Wikipedia as a very highly-rated source. Perhaps not actionable for most businesses but I think the concept behind this discussion is incredibly valuable.
Why Local Listings Data Is Tough –
A great “Q&A” posed from the perspective of the marketer/SMB to the search engine that is very illustrative of the difficulties in getting accurate data to flow all the way through the Local Search Ecosystem.
Phone Number Co-Citation Analysis for Local Link Builders –
Garrett French’s terrifically efficient strategy for making sure you’ve got your competitive bases covered when it comes to Local listings.