All posts by Mike Blumenthal

Yelp Review Summaries Back in the Google Knowledge Panel

I am not sure whether this message has been approved by Jeremy Stoppleman but at least for now, with the new reviews from the web announced yesterday summaries now showing in the Knowledge Panel, Yelp is back.

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For those of you that don’t go back to the “early” days of Google Local, it would seem like it’s deja vu all over again. I wrote this in June 2010:

Yelp’s relationship with Google Maps has been off and on again. Their reviews have disappeared and reappeared on Google Maps over the past 3 years as Google’s and Yelp’s relationship has waxed and waned. But the relationship now seems to be on once again. About 10 days ago Yelp’s reviews again started showing up on Places Pages.

Updated Google Schema Review Guidelines for Local Businesses

Review rich snippets are a powerful local markup type but they have been open to abuse and misuse. Google with release of their critic review snippet extension has also significantly updated their rules for Local Business‘s use of review rich snippets on their website.

IN typical Google fashion, the new rules while adding additional use cases manage to direcgtly contradict the previous rules particularly in regards to whether you can mark up reviews from third party sites (previously you could but you can no more.

At the GetFiveStars blog, I have detailed the new rule changes and which of the new rules you should be aware of when implementing rich snippet mark up on your site.

Head over there and let me know what you think of the new rules.

Yelp’s Stoppleman on Interstitials & My Yelp Account

h/t to Matt McGee for assembling this on Storify

Video: Local U Advanced Speaker Series – David Deering & Schema for Local

LocalU Advanced takes a deep dive into the nuts and bolts of the bleeding edge of local search. Our upcoming LocalU Advanced is taking place the night of October 20th and the day October 21st. To give you a sense of the topics we will be covering we will be interviewing some of the speakers that will be there. David Deering, one of the foremost practitioners of Schema markup will be heading two sessions; Advanced Schema Markup for Local Businesses and a deep dive problem solving session Schema Q&A. If you want to learn the latest in Schema you owe it to yourself and your team to come.

In this first interview of our speaker series with myself, Mike Ramsey and David Deering of TouchPoint Digital, we discuss a number of recent developments, new Schema standards, updated Google rules and some in depth Schema ideas as to how it benefits the local business.

Cross posted at LocalU.org

Google Expanding SMB Test of “Write Directly to Search” Feature

Google has confirmed that they are expanding the test of a “write directly to the search” results product first seen in January for presidential candidates and in the March time frame seen for small businesses. According to Google the test is expanding from “10’s of small businesses to thousands”.

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I am in Canada at the moment and unable to see them but you should them appearing regularly in the US
We should be seeing more and more examples in local branded search results over the next 30 days.The test is being run in the US, Brazil and India. The product has not yet been seen being tested with larger brands but is also being tested with live events like soccer matches, certain vertical solutions and other entity types likes schools.

Essentially the product, which has no formal name (I refer to it as Google Posts or Google Podium or maybe the product that “shall not be named”), allows an small business (or other entity) to easily create “cards” that present directly in search results much like an AMP page. In the March SMB tests these local “cards” showed on broad search terms but it appears that in the new test these “cards” will typically show on a brand search in close association with the Knowledge Panel.

Think of it as a live, real time stream of local business content for search. The local card is essentially a super lightweight, fast loading web page that resides directly on Google and may become one of the simplest ways for a business to create a web presence for user discovery.

The product apparently uses a dedicated app/environment that is a super simplified way for a small business to post images, text, links and videos in real time. With these cards, Google is opening up a more dynamic, real time content arena for local businesses. The cards, as in the previous test, can be easily shared by searchers via email or social channels. Essentially Google is attempting to make search results more of a destination and possibly viral.

Given that this current test is focused around showing these local cards on branded results only, I could envision a companion monetization by “boosting” a card to broader local search terms or charging for possible calls to action.

Given that the test is being expanded in Brazil and India as well implies that Google might be seeing this feature as a web alternative for small businesses in developing countries with less bandwidth and computing resources.

When viewed in conjunction with AMP, Places Actions (the ability to schedule a visit via the Knowledge Panel), Google Local Trip Planner and other long standing features like click to call, you can see a long term product arc that is making Local search results the final destination for users rather than a stopping point on a purchase journey. 

Update (via Joy Hawkins): here is a search My Special Day that returns the results.

 

 

LocalU Advanced Agenda & Super Early Bird Pricing

LocalU Advanced is my favorite conference of the year. And you probably get tired of me saying this but this will be one of the best ones yet.

The agenda has been released and it is chock full of great speakers:

– Darren Shaw will be talking enterprise citation campaigns
– Cindy Krum will discuss digital marketing in the age of AI
– Joy Hawkins will be exploring the ins and outs Google Local listing management
– David Deering will be covering advanced Schema techniques
– Paul Keller shows you how to amplify your content with Facebook
– Mike Blumenthal will be looking at the impact of social, reviews and semantics on local search ranking

Join Mary Bowling, Will Scott, Aaron Weiche, Mike Ramsey, Willys Devoll of Google PLUS all of our guests as we discuss both agency and enterprise issues in sessions on Local Link Building, Content, Google Enterprise issues, Google trouble shooting, mobile rankings and a ton more.

The event will start Thursday night with our traditional social gathering and continue all day Friday. This event will include both Agency and Enterprise tracks. Light breakfast & lunch included. If you are bringing three or more folks we offer an additional $50 discount. Bring your whole team.

If you have some new staffers and want them to get additional training we will be offering our intermediate event the day before.

Here is the full agenda:

Continue reading LocalU Advanced Agenda & Super Early Bird Pricing

Google Testing More Aggressive Review & Content Calls to Action on Mobile Knowledge Panel

Google seems to be either testing or rotating in more aggressive of the Knowledge Panel on mobile to garner reviews and additional location details. I am awaiting Jeremy Stoppleman’s forthcoming hue and cry.

Last week over the cours of the day I saw these three Knowledge Panel presentations for the same location. (These have probably been available for a while but I just noticed it.)

Write a Review call to Action Knowledge Panel
Write a Review call to Action Knowledge Panel
Additional Details request mobile Knowledge Panel
Additional Details request mobile Knowledge Panel
Normal Mobile Knowedge Panel
Normal Mobile Knowedge Panel

Google Continues Unifying Google My Business & Bulk Interfaces/ Improves Insights

Google is in the process of updating the Google My Business and My Business List (bulk) interfaces to create greater consistency of the user experience. Several weeks ago they launch a new navigation experience and today they are updating the Info Panel. My sense is that there is more to come. (h/t to Joy Hawkins and the Localsearchforum)

Simultaneously with the improvement to the interface Google is rolling out on an account by account basis, a completely new Insights platform. Initially the new analytics platform will only provide improved visuals but according to Google the complete guts to the system were rewritten and provide a basis for future expansion of capabilities.

Screenshot 2016-08-09 14.43.54

from google:

GMB and GMBL have long been different products with different interfaces and editors. This has caused confusion for our users, many of whom end up using both products.

To simplify the user experience we are taking steps to unify the products so that everyone will use a single GMB interface. There will always be features that benefit users with multiple locations, but we want the navigation and editing experience to be consistent.

A few weeks ago, we launched a navigation experience that is consistent for users with a single location and those with multiple locations.

We are currently in the process of launching a redesigned editor that will make many tasks easier for our merchants, including:

  • Style that previews the merchant’s Knowledge Panel
  • Updated editor for hours and address
  • Improved messages regarding listing states with clear calls to action toguide users
  • Clearer UI for Google Updates that clearly shows what’s live on Maps vs what the merchant last provided
  • Convenient links to view the listing on Google Search, Maps, and Google+
  • Ability to make a business as permanently closed

The improvements are slowly rolling out for the single listing editor. We will eventually replace the multi-listing editor with the same interface; however, that will happen at a later date.

The improvements are slowly rolling out for the single listing editor. We will eventually replace the multi-listing editor with the same interface; however, that will happen at a later date.

Screenshot 2016-08-05 13.50.36

Screenshot 2016-08-05 13.47.55

Unfortunately the new Insights product still has limited date range and comparison features, no multi location aggregation of data and the data is not yet integrated with Analytics or the Google My Business API. But Google has indicated to me that these are all things that they are looking at. Whether the reliability of the data is greater is also TBD.

Google Now Inserting Critic Reviews & Top 10 Lists into Mobile Local Search Results

Google announced the inclusion of expert opinions and top 10 list data into local search results. For now its appearing on restaurants but I assume that it can and will show more widely as Google figures out how to assign these sorts of results to other entities.

These results are currently on mobile browsers and the Google App. When they will be migrating to the desktop is not known.

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Note that the search results only shows the special designation on some listings

It appears that if they are on more than one list, then the listing will receive a special designation in the mobile Local 3 Pack results.

On this search result Hutch’s shows the special designation in the search results but in the mobile local Finder, the top three restaurants show the designation.

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Even though all of the top three had at least one list that they were on that showed in the mobile Local Finder.

It appears that the difference is that Hutches is on more than one list. When you drill in this is what is visible:

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When you click on the original source list you are then taken to the website. That’s at least 3 clicks in for those of you that are counting.

Update: I am seeing this on the desktop but it is buried deep in the Local Finder:

restaurants buffalo ny   Google Search

Developing Knowledge about Local Search