January 10, 2008
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 â€” 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
January 9, 2008
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:
â€¢ 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.
â€¢Traffic to MapQuest has remained flat year on year and is down 20% in the past 6 months.
â€¢Google Maps traffic is up 135% year on year and is up 7% in the past 6 months.
â€¢The growth for Google Maps is from traffic from the Google search engine.
â€¢This can’t really be attributed to an increase in consumers looking for Google Maps.
â€¢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.
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
Date: Tues, Jan 8 2008 9:21 am
From: “Maps Guide Jen”
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!)
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?
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?
January 8, 2008
The Google LBC Bulk Upload feature has been down, its been up, its been down again. It now appears to be up.
It was reported in Google Groups- Maps for Business this afternoon that the bulk upload feature is now working again
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.
January 6, 2008
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.
Over this past year one of my most frequently read articles was Which On-line Directories provide details to Google Maps (Nov 2006)I decided to revisit the current data (Thanks to Miriam at SeoIgloo) to see which directories Google was using for the restaurant industry and to see how things had changed. I also realized that this might provide some baseline data to answer the question of whether Google’s relationship with CitySearch had changed.Google Maps attempts to gather authoritative details of a local business by crawling & parsing the semi-structured data of on-line directories (see also Bill Slawskiâ€™s patent summary). The restaurant industry is one of the industries that clearly benefits from local search. I have analyzed the local listings of the first 16 restaurants listed in the Buffalo, NY market and summarized which on-line directories Google is currently using and compared them to those used in November of 2006. There are some interesting differences.
||Jan 2008 # Listings
||Nov 2006 # Listings
|More from 10best.com Â»
|More from Allmenus.com Â»
|More from ChefMoz.org Â»
|More from DiningGuide.com Â»
|More from Frommers.com Â»
|More from Gayot.com Â»
|More from JiWire.com Â»
|Provided by the business owner
|More from RestaurantRow.com Â»
|More from SuperPages.com Â»
|More from Talkingphonebook.com Â»
|More from Wcities.com Â»
|No Longer in Restaurant Listings
Some observations and notes and additional findings: (more…)
January 5, 2008
Update 7:14 am 01/08/08 MapsGuide Jen to stay!
I’m not going anywhere quite yet! You’ll be seeing more posts from Maps
Guide Sirene in the group, but you can’t get rid of me that easily ;o)
Well Dave, there is a Santa Claus after all!
In a surprise announcement today, it was noted that Maps Guide Serene will be answering questions in the Google Maps for Business Group. This appears to be one of those good news bad news arrangements where Maps Guide Jen finally received the help she so desparately needed. However, it seems that Mapsguide Jen is being replaced as our intrepid interpreter and mystic seer of the cryptic meanderings of Google Maps. It appears that Maps Guide Jen has either been promoted or moved on.
I like to think that it is the former. And I will forever more think of Jen as MapsGod Jen. In related news it has been announced that a foundation may be set up in her name.
MapsGod Jen will forever be remebered for her hard work,a steady hand at the helm and equanimity in the face of duress and and an angry mob..
January 4, 2008
January 1, 2008
Mobile User Survey Redux: the Late Adopter
After Greg Sterling surveyed SEL readers on their mobile internet usage patterns, I thought it would be interesting to survey a totally distinct user group. Greg agreed and we surveyed the 1123 registered readers of OleanInfo.com, a local portal site catering to folks interested in Olean NY. Roughly 80% of OleanInfo’s readership lives within 40 miles of Olean, NY, a small town in western NY State.
The readership was chosen for contrast with the SEL readers. Presumably they are rural or of rural origins and less technically oriented. They proved to be, as a group, classic “late adopters”. 85.8% of the OleanInfo respondents were over 40 and 58% over 50 and as a group had very low mobile internet use. This stood in contrast to the SEL readership that was 84% under 40 of which almost half access the mobile internet once per week or more.
â€¢ 90% of respondents report using their cells to text message (thus they do sooner or later adopt)
â€¢ 0% penetration of the iPhone
â€¢ Very low (12%) penetration of traditional smartphones
â€¢ 87% had no mobile internet usage AT ALL
â€¢ 26% reported using Free DA and of those 32% used Goog-411 and 44% uses Free-411. (Remember that the Goog-411 billboard campaign took place in Olean)
Here are the results of the survey taken last week. OleanInfo respondents are listed first with the comparable SEL response in parenthesis.
What sort of mobile phone do you currently own?
- Conventional cell phone — 87.6% (58.7%)
- Traditional smartphone (e.g., BlackBerry, Treo) — 12.4% (30.7%)
- iPhone — 0.0% (10.7%)
Indicate how many of the following you do with your mobile phone (multiple answers permitted):
- Send and receive text/SMS messages — 90.9% ( 97.2%)
- Access the mobile Internet — 22.7% (56.9%)
- Use downloaded applications (e.g., Mapquest Navigator, Google Maps for Mobile) — 12.1% (36.1%)
How frequently do you access the mobile Internet?
- Never — 87.2% (33.8%)
- Once a month or less — 4.6% (13.5%)
- Two-three times a month â€“ 4.6% (5.4%)
- More than once a week — 1.8% (21.6%)
- At least once daily â€“ 1.8% (25.7%)
If you don’t access the Internet on your mobile phone, why not (multiple answers permitted)?
- Keying in queries is frustrating — 21% (45%)
- The network is too slow — 6.2% (52.5%)
- The screen on my phone is too small — 14.8% (57.5%)
- I don’t have a mobile Internet plan — 77.8% (45%)
Which of the following mobile search engines/sites do you use (multiple answers permitted)?
- Ask â€“ 17.4% (8%)
- AOL â€“ 4.3% (0%)
- Google â€“ 78.3% (90%)
- Microsoft Live Search/MSN â€“ 26.1% (8%)
- Yahoo oneSearch/Go â€“ 41.3% (20%)
- Note-The high response rate on this question implies that the question was not fully understood
Do you use any of the free directory assistance options?
- Yes â€“ 26% (29%)
- No â€“ 74% (71%)
If you use any of the free directory assistance options, which one(s):
- Goog411 — 32% (73.9%)
- 1-800-YellowPages (AT&T) â€“ 28% (8.7%)
- 1-800-Call-411 (Microsoft) â€“ 12.0% (8.7%)
- 1-800-Free-411 â€“ 44% (21.7%)
Indicate your gender
- Female â€“ 38% (24%)
- Male — 62% (76%)
Indicate your age
- 18-24 — 1.8% (17.3%)
- 25-30 — 2.7% (25.3%)
- 31-40 — 9.8% (41.3%)
- 41-50 — 27.7% (12%)
- 51-60 — 30.4% (4%)
- Over 60 — 27.7% (0%)
Where do you reside?
- US/North America — 99.1% (65.3%)
- Europe — 0.9% (25.3%)
- Asia — 0.0% (9.3%)
The survey has the caveats of any internet survey and the results only reflect the reality of the group surveyed. That being said these responses provide an interesting contrast to the results of the SEL reader survey.