Category Archives: Google Places (Maps & Local)

Comments, research and information about Google Maps (Google Local)

Nominees in Local Search category: 2008 SEMMY Awards

2008 SEMMY NomineeThe following are the nominees in the Local Search category for the 2008 SEMMY Awards. The judge(s) will narrow this group down to 5-6 finalists. Congratulations to all nominees! Thanks for the recognition!

Weather Channel Interactive Introduces New Weather Mapplet for Google Maps

Weather Channel Interactive Introduces New Weather Mapplet for Google – by The Weather Channel, GISUser.com
“The Weather Channel Interactive Introduces New Weather Mapplet for Google Maps. The Weather mapplet on Google Maps will be a part of the Featured Content section in the My Maps utility. The mapplet can be found by visiting maps.google.com. To find the weather layer on Google Earth, simply activate weather box under ‘layers’ in the sidebar.”

As Google strives for market share gains they have used a number of techniques to increase maps usage. They have extracted significant gains by keeping folks on their main search site and increasingly driving traffic to their maps product. There are only so many gains that can be achieved this way.

Increased functionality has and will increase market share and weather seems the perfect tool to provide that one stop mapping and increased Google Maps usage. I wonder though if by having this functionality in the My Maps area it will find enough usage to impact their market share.

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Google acknowledges Adword experiment with Local Address

A Google rep has responded to an eamil inquiry about the reported inclusion of the local address in Adword ads (reported here and here and here) and acknowledged a limited experiment.

The source within Google confirmed in an email that they are testing Ads that include the additional address line with a small set of advertisers and are not accepting additional testers. The feature has not yet been launched and there are no plans to expand the beta at this time.

If the experiment proves successful look for it to be implemented in Adwords in the future.
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Hitwise Data: Mapquest Giveth & Google Maps Taketh

Heather Hopkins’ analysis of MapQuest and Google Maps traffic trends in her post GoogleMaps Making Inroads Against Leader, Mapquest reveals more than is obvious at first glance about Google’s market share gain in the maps race. While Yahoo’s share decline has been steady over the year, Google’s jumps appear to have come at the immediate and direct expense of MapQuest.mapquestgivethgoogletaketh3.jpg

Greg’s post made me more aware that Google has made multiple moves to increase their map share. I have identified Google’s “actions for each of their first three spikes (I am sure that a more nuanced and detailed chart would likely show more):

1- Google removed links to other mapping products SearchEngine Land January 16, 2007

2- Google upgraded the onebox with more links to maps January 31, 2007

3- Google roled Maps out to many more countries. Sept. 14, 2007

Hitwise in the past has confirmed that there is a lag in their data is due to the nature of of their data collection and Google’s rollout schedule of the update. Thus the ramp up in market share starts slightly after the announcement. It appears that Mapquest makes a rebound after the initial loss but never back to their original numbers.Each of the first three events were due to different strategies on the part of Google. In case one they removed links that sent visitors off to other maps sites. In case two they added a significant number of inbound links to maps. In case three they expanded their markets served.

It is not clear what caused the impacts at points 4 and 5, perhaps someone can fill in the blanks.

Local Links of Interest

Local SEO 2008 Predicitons - Andrew Shortland, LOC@LSEOGuide. Andrew is doing the fumes of Delphi Oracle thing.

Google Maps Gaining On Market Leader Mapquest – Greg Sterling, SearchEngineLand provides some great analysis about Google neutrality and technology in the maps market share mayhem.

iPhone specific web sites — do they make sense? – Martin Kleppmann, Yes-No-Cancel
Bill Gates and Company Want to Watch You Watch TV, Buy Groceries, and Use Your Credit Cards and Cell Phone (and Take Notes) – Bill Slawsk, SEOByTheSeal

Google Maps gaining market share vs. MapQuest

Heather Hopkins at Hitwise has analyzed MapQuest and Google Maps traffic trends in her post GoogleMaps Making Inroads Against Leader, Mapquest that clearly demonstrates how Google controls their own traffic destiny.

Her main points:

• US visits to Maps websites is up 10% year on year and MapQuest is still the leader, receiving more than half of all US visits to Maps websites last week. However, Google Maps is gaining fast.

•Traffic to MapQuest has remained flat year on year and is down 20% in the past 6 months.

•Google Maps traffic is up 135% year on year and is up 7% in the past 6 months.

•The growth for Google Maps is from traffic from the Google search engine.

•This can’t really be attributed to an increase in consumers looking for Google Maps.

•Google sends more of its own traffic to Google Maps than to Mapquest, a change that occurred last March.

It was actually last February when Google expanded the Local OneBox, and they made clear their ability to drive search traffic to Maps. With Universal Search and their increased use of the Plus Box in the main search results and Adwords & their use of addresses in Adwords, they are also demonstrating their power to keep users from needing any additional mapping product as well. The static market share of MapQuest and the declining share of Yahoo demonstrates why it is Google’s game to loose.

An excellent analysis of these larger issues by Greg Sterling can be found at SearchEngineLand.

Google Maps: The case of the Missing Citysearch Reviews

Maps Guide Jen has provided an update on the missing CitySearch reviews and the missing CitySearch directory entries in Maps:

 

TOPIC: Restaurant reviews from CitySearch have gone missing

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Date: Tues, Jan 8 2008 9:21 am
From: “Maps Guide Jen”

Hi Mike,

I believe this is a different issue from the Beefeater’s restaurant. As you’ve noted, Citysearch’s content is currently missing from Google Maps. We are taking steps to resolve the system error and repost their listings.

No need to call in the chickens or detectives yet (phew!)

Thanks,
Jen

On Dec 6, 2007 8:04 AM, mblumenthal wrote:

Dear Maps Guide Jen:

I am sure you recall the case of the missing reviews where for 7 months (from Jan 07 until Jul 07) I
struggled on behalf of a client to get his reviews in Google Maps updated. In the end Google Maps updated their reviews of his restaurant.

However I, like several other posters, now find his reviews from
CitySearch gone (Beefeaters Restaurant, Bradford, PA). Given the
struggle to get them into maps, the owner of the restaurant was
concerned about their recent disappearance.

Can you shed any light on the recent turn of events? Need I unfurl the
dreaded rubber chicken? Is Nancy Drew in the house?

Mike Blumenthal

While it may not yet be time to call the chickens (I had enough of those last week), it may be time to call the detectives! If Google can’t find these reviews, where did they go? I wonder if they will show up on those 18 minutes of tape?

Google Search – Just how local can it go?

In a post today, Google Letting Addresses into AdWords? Greg Sterling pointed out that Google appears to be allowing street address as a 4th line in the adwords (see Therapia lower right in image below). As Barry Schwartz points out below he first saw this in early December.

What struck me about the search result page (message San Francisco)was the number of changes implemented over the past year that integrate more local information onto the main search results page. Notice how much closer at hand local information and Google Maps is in general and how many local inflections Google has added to the page beyond just the Local OneBox.

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Google Map’s Business Location Bulk Upload Still Not Working

MapsGuide Jen had noted in the Google Group – Maps for Business that the bulk upload had been fixed as of January 4th. That “fact” was reported here and at SearchEngine Roundtable. However according to recent posts in the Group (here and here) it appears that the bulk upload feature is still not working. This feature has been missing in action since approximately December 20th.

While Google has reportedly been working on changes to the Bulk Upload feature to minmize Mapspam, it appears that MapSpam has also been on the upswing of late.