All posts by Mike Blumenthal

Google Maps: KML for authority and ranking?

If you are looking for information on Ranking in Google Maps you might want to view these:
SMXEast Presentation: A patent review of Maps Ranking Factors
Ranking Factors in Google Maps – Cracking the Code SMX Local
10 Likely Ranking Factors of Google’s Local Search Algorithm

We know that Google is using KML files and Geo Sitemaps to establish location and legitimacy for bricks and mortar businesses. Could it also have more importance on ranking than we currently know?

Carter Maslan, VP of Maps, has indicated that businesses should start using KML files in his interviews with Greg Sterling & Eric Enge.

Eric Enge: I first heard about KML a while back and I have seen some stuff suggesting that KML would allow you to provide a deeper level of metadata about your business. I believe people have talked about using this within the context of the sitemap files, is that something that is useful for people to do?

Carter Maslan: Yes, it helps a lot in knowing the precise geographic location that is being described by a page so it is definitely good to have a sitemap that references a KML file with an accurate description of the entities referenced geographically.

Eric Enge: Right, the sitemap file is something that is authenticated, and therefore the KML file would be by implication authenticated.

Carter Maslan: Correct. It helps both from that perspective and simply just knowing that there is additional information about that place, and that it is also correlated with that web page, helps.

As Martijn Beijk pointed out in a previous comment: if the Local Business Center = 2, then a Bulk upload +KML file + a geo sitemap + Webmaster Central = 2 as well. Whether that math is exactly correct, KML process does seem to convince Google of the legitimacy of a bulk upload and increases the authority of the business listing in Google’s eyes.

The KML process should be a standard part of the Local Search Marketing arsenal when using bulk uploads to create business listings in Maps.

Martijn has written an excellent tutorial on creating a KML and a GeoSitemap for Google’s Webmaster Central. I tested Martijn’s process using the Mike Test to determine if I can learn it or not. I can report that it passed my test.

Here is a summary of the steps involved to complete the needed steps:
Continue reading Google Maps: KML for authority and ranking?

Google Insights? I’ll say…

I had just finished reading this disturbing speculative piece on possible federal legislation referred to as the i-Patriot Act when I bounced over to the NY Times for my cheerful morning read and noticed the photo in this article about Google’s new Insight Tool….

I had been a little disappointed that Google had not included me in their pre-briefing on the new product. After looking at the photo, I can say that I was relieved that I had not been invited as I am not wont to wear a tie. Although one has to wonder when the head of the FBI and Justice Department started running Google’s product announcements. I guess on second thought they wouldn’t have let me in anyways.

The Lazy Son of The Mother of All SMX Local/Mobile Recaps

This is a summary of summaries and related posts from SMX Local Mobile. I had the intention of writing several posts but being the lazy son and having found some good reporting I thought I would just provide you a complete set of links. They are arranged in the order of presentation at the conference:



Live Blogging Yahoo SMX Local-Mobile Keynote Greg Sterling, SearchEngineLand

Keynote by Frazier Miller Michael Jensen,,

Covering SMX Local and Mobile – Frazier Miller Keynote – Don Campbell, Expand2Web

SMX LoMo Keynote: Frazier Miller – Chris Silver Smith,

SMX LoMo Keynote: Gur Kimchi – Chris Silver Smith,

Local Search Tactics:

SMX Local and Mobile Coverage – Ranking Tactics for Local Search – Don Campbell, Expand2Web

Local Search Ranking Presentation – SMX LoMo 2008 – Will Scott,

Sources of Local Business Reviews – Michael Jensen,

Local Search Ranking Tactics – Michael Jensen of SoloSEO.comAndrew Shotland,

Local Search Ranking Tactics – Steve Espinosa of – Andrew Shotland,

Monetizing Local & Mobile: Who’s Making Money:

SMX Local and Mobile Coverage – Who’s Making Money? – Don Campbell, Expand2Web

Monetizing Local & Mobile: Ten Tips (Plus Three) for Going Mobile Profitably -Bryson Meunier,


Local Mobile Case Studies:

Local Case Studies- Mary Bowling – Michael Jensen,

Blended Search in a Mobile World: Optimizing Digital Assets for Mobile Devices-Bryson Meunier,

Managing a Local/Mobile Search Marketing Campaign:

Five (5) “POWER” Tactics for POWERful Local/Mobile Marketing Campaigns that Give You Super-POWERful Results - A Cheezy Presentation On Purpose from Brian Carter, Director of Search Marketing @

Cracking the Code

CRACKING THE CODE: Inside the Black Box of Mobile Search Algorithms
– Jordan Kasteler,

Ranking Factors in Google Maps – Cracking the Code SMX Local – Mike Blumenthal


SMX Local and Mobile Recap – Don Campbell, Expand2Web

The Mother of All SMX Local/Mobile Recaps – David Mihm,

SMX Local Mobile Grows Up: The Future ArrivesMarty Weintraub,

Google Maps missing reviews returned to rightful owners

There had been recent reports in Google Groups for Maps and elsewhere of review gone missing.

Intrepid Maps Guide Jen reports today that they have been found:

Hi B.J.
The Maps team implemented a fix for your listing (and others that were
similarly losing reviews). You should find that they are now all appearing.
Let us know if you notice anything amiss!

Yahoo! Maps Updated

From the Yahoo Geo Blog:

We’re proud to introduce a new version of Yahoo! Maps, which includes an update to Yahoo! Local Search integration, usability, and Print Page improvements.

These past few months we’ve focused on improving the usability of Yahoo! Maps, and some of the modifications we encourage you to try include:

  • Improved Local Search integration that utilizes the Search/Direct Display Index
  • More user-friendly Driving Directions – a more user-friendly left rail that’s both wider and more legible (larger text), for easier reading of driving directions
  • A redesigned Print Page
  • The ability to minimize multiple driving direction instructions to save vertical space
  • The ability to display inline turn-by-turn images for each driving direction segment
  • An Interactive Print Page Map
  • Users can now select from a variety map views (full route, full route + finish, full route + start + finish)
  • Drag/Pan/zoom functionality for print page maps
  • Interactivity between Points of Interest (POIs) and Map view; minimized POIs are removed from the map view
  • Improved POIs – with ability to minimize/collapse multiple POIS to maximize viewing area

Looks like they are taking a play out of the Google play book. If it increases visibility of Yahoo Local, 3 cheers! Perhaps the announcement of Click and drag to adjust your route is in response to the many complaints that Google is experiencing over their Maps Update and the lack of direction reordering in the new interface.

By the way, the standard 2 field, 3 tab interface with classic directions and reordering can still be access via the Text View Option.

Local Links of Interest

Yahoo! Local adds Web References and Imports Reviews – Stephen Espinosa,

Yahoo! Local seems to be taking a step in a direction that will indirectly help SEO’s by adding web references and importing reviews into their local listings.

Google on One Boxes and Grouping Result Types to Fill Informational Needs– William Slawski,

A preview of “Google on One Boxes and Grouping Result Types to Fill Informational Needs”.

IDC: Smartphones Continue to Outpace Industry – Greg Sterling,

IDC, which tracks global shipments of mobile handsets, said that smartphone growth was 40% YoY compared with 10% growth for so-called feature phones. But even feature phones are getting better and becoming more viable as mobile Internet access devices.

Google Now Notifies Of “Search Customization” & Gives Searchers Control – Danny Sullivan,

Google is now showing “search customization” messages to inform searchers when their search results have been modified from “normal” due to a searcher’s geographic location,

Google Maps and the wrong URL

There has been a large uptick in reports in the Google Maps for Business Groups of wrong URL’s being assigned to a business listing in Google Maps and the Local Ten Packs. These reports often speak of nefarious competitors, hijacked listings or lost business.

I have written about this problem in the “archeological” past (here and here) and noted that this assignment of URL’s was an artifact of an over aggressive Google algorithm.

However, the posts in the group and inquiries from peers had become so numerous that I inquired of a Google whether there had been a recent change in the algo or whether just more people were noticing. The response was, that more folks are noticing.

We are experiencing a new wave of newly (and poorly) educated business owners who are taking note of the value of Maps but are clueless as to how to handle this and other “features” of Google Maps. So this post is directed to them (if they make it this far in their quest).

1-Take control of your listing in the Local Business Center

2- DO NOT  leave the URL field blank even if you do not have a web site

3- Either enter the URL for your business profile from another local site that has good details or create a profile page at one of the free web site sites and use its URL.

4- If you feel uncomfortable doing the above then put into the Local Business Center until you have either created a new website or taken step 3 above

Allowing Google to automatically assign a URL to your business listing is roughly akin to the oxymoron of allowing the Commander in Chief to be in charge of Military Intelligence. A we have learned, neither has worked very well.

Google LBC Communications Options Explained

Earlier in the month, Google upgraded the Local Business Center with additional communication options:

A number of readers expressed some confusion about the feature. Maps Guide Jen was kind enough to elucidate its limited function in an email exchange that we had recently.

Mike: Could you give us any insight into the new Business Communications feature in the LBC…when will it be functional, what sorts of things we might expect to get from it and what “Receive notifications when changes are made to your business listings” means?

Maps Guide Jen: The new communications feature in the LBC is functional already; the way it works is that if we make any major changes to the LBC (for example, this latest UI change) or if we have any news that we think Local Business Center owners should know about, people who have selected the choice to receive notifications will hear about them directly.

Mike: Has it been used by Google yet?

Maps Guide Jen: We haven’t sent anything out yet! But we will 🙂

From what I can gather the “Account Updates Receive notifications” feature is likely to include notifications for system wide updates such as the recent UI refresh and is not intended to provide any additional granularity at this point.