Category Archives: Local Search

General information about Local Search techniques, technology and trends

Cool Tool of the Trade – Capturing Full Screen Search Result Screenshots


I just upgraded to Firefox 4 and was offered the opportunity to try Awesome Screenshot. It solves several problems that I frequently deal with when writing this blog and communicating with clients – capturing a full screen of a Google search result (or any web page for that matter) and easily annotating it (see sample of output to the right – click for larger size).

This Firefox plugin (also available for Chrome and Safari 5) does just that as well as providing quick upload to a public URL for online storage of the image and the opportunity to easily share the image via Twitter, Facebook, Buzz and email clients. It passed the “Mike Test” with flying colors. The “Mike Test” is the ability for me to try, learn and use a piece of software productively in 10 minutes or less.

Here are some sample screen shots of the process using Awesome Screenshot: Continue reading

NYTimes Rolling Out Fee Based Program in Canada First


I just received the following email. Under the new plan, my current reading style would cost $35 /mo. That’s not going to happen.

NYTimes NYTimes NYTimes
NYTimes.
An important announcement from
the publisher of The New York Times 

Fine Print

Dear New York Times Reader, 

Today marks a significant transition for The New York Times as we introduce digital subscriptions. It’s an important step that we hope you will see as an investment in The Times, one that will strengthen our ability to provide high-quality journalism to readers around the world and on any platform. The change will primarily affect those who are heavy consumers of the content on our Web site and on mobile applications.

This change comes in two stages. Today, we are rolling out digital subscriptions to our readers in Canada, which will enable us to fine-tune the customer experience before our global launch. On March 28, we will begin offering digital subscriptions in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

If you are a home delivery subscriber of The New York Times, you will continue to have full and free access to our news, information, opinion and the rest of our rich offerings on your computer, smartphone and tablet. International Herald Tribune subscribers will also receive free access to NYTimes.com.

If you are not a home delivery subscriber, you will have free access up to a defined reading limit. If you exceed that limit, you will be asked to become a digital subscriber.

This is how it will work, and what it means for you:

  • On NYTimes.com, you can view 20 articles each month at no charge (including slide shows, videos and other features). After 20 articles, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber, with full access to our site.
  • On our smartphone and tablet apps, the Top News section will remain free of charge. For access to all other sections within the apps, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber.
  • The Times is offering three digital subscription packages that allow you to choose from a variety of devices (computer, smartphone, tablet). More information about these plans is available atnytimes.com/access.
  • Again, all New York Times home delivery subscribers will receive free access to NYTimes.com and to all content on our apps. If you are a home delivery subscriber, go to homedelivery.nytimes.com to sign up for free access.
  • Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit. For some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles.
  • The home page at NYTimes.com and all section fronts will remain free to browse for all users at all times.

For more information, go to nytimes.com/digitalfaq.

Thank you for reading The New York Times, in all its forms.

Sincerely,
Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
Publisher, The New York Times
Chairman, The New York Times Company

Fine Print 

As a loyal reader of NYTimes.com, you will receive a special offer to save on our new digital subscriptions. We will e-mail this special offer starting on March 28, the day we begin charging for unlimited access to our Web site and mobile apps*. We truly value your readership and look forward to bringing you the world’s finest journalism every day.


Fine Print

*Mobile apps are not supported on all devices. Does not include e-reader editions, Premium Crosswords or The New York Times Crosswords apps. Other restrictions apply. 

This message was sent to inform you about an important change to our Web site and NYTimes applications. Please note, if you have chosen not to receive marketing messages from The New York Times, that choice applies only to promotional messages. You will continue to receive important notifications that are legally required or could affect your service.

To review our Privacy Policy, please go to:
http://www.nytimes.com/content/help/rights/privacy/policy/privacy-policy.html

© 2011 The New York Times Company / 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10018

Web Bug from http://ads.nytimes.com/adx/bin/adx_remote.html?page=email.nytimes.com/misc/heavyA.03.17.11/html&posall=Bottom1&pos=Bottom1&type=noscript

Apparently, the subscriptions ($15, 20 or 35/mo) will be sold through iTunes. At least Apple will be getting richer if no one else does as they will get 30% monthly of each subscription they sell.

Infographic: Owning Your Local Web Equity


When presenting at Get Listed Local University we talk with a large number of small business owners. Many that we have met are attempting to understand the big picture of internet marketing and how the pieces relate.

These SMBs are trying to make a decisions amidst the buzz as to where to focus their on-line efforts. The goal of this infographic was to provide a foundation for that understanding from the perspective of long term investment in their marketing efforts. It is not so much a guide to those marketing priorities as it is a guide to understanding the trade offs in loss of control as you move your efforts onto the platforms controlled by others.

This graphic was originally inspired by a Lisa Barone blog post titled 11 Reasons Your SMB Still Needs A Web Site and refined with the help of David Mihm, Mary Bowling and Matt McGee.

The infographic is available for embedding in various formats and layouts on this page for both web display and print.

I would love to hear your feedback about the graphic and would like to know if you find it useful in communicating to SMBs.

(Click to view whole graphic)

Web Equity Infographic
Continue reading

GetListed Portland


Today, I am presenting at the sixth GetListed.org Local University in Portland, Or. If you are coming PLEASE take a moment to introduce yourself as I would love to meet you.

For those of you that attended the presentation these links will provide background information and details for a pathway to dig deeper into the world of managing your listing on Google Maps. For those of you that are not in attendance, the links provide a good overview of critical base line ideas and tactics that every local campaign should embrace.
Google Maps – Its not your mother’s yellow pages.

Slide 2 - January 2011 Search Engine Market Share
Slide 12/13 - The Importance of Page One Visibility
Slides 16/17 - How the Google Cluster Works
Slide 21- Choosing the Right Category – A Tool
Slide 21 - Writing a Great Business Description
Slide 21 - Google Places Policies: Quality guidelines
Slide 22 - Creating a GeoSitemap – A tool
Slide 28/29 Local Search Ranking Factors – the many variables
Slide 28/29 A brief list of 10 Ranking Factors – somewhat old but still valid and a quick read
Slide 28/29 Thinking about your Business Name in the Internet Era
Slide 30 - Custom Maps – A Goldmine
Slide 30 - User Generated Content – Geo Tagged Photos
Slide 30 - How To Gather Reviews
Slide 30- Where to Gather Reviews
Slide 31- The Importance of Citations
Slide 31 - 20 Citation Sources in the US
Slide 36- A Listing management tool

GetListed University Spokane- New All Day Agenda


GetListed.org Local UniversityI am traveling and speaking in the Pacific Northwest this week. Get Listed Portland on Tuesday, Searchfest on Wednesday and Getlisted University Spokane on Friday. Needless to say it will be a light posting week.

I am particularly excited about GetListed University Spokane for two reasons. It celebrates GetListed University’s first year anniversary. It has been an exciting year of great conferences, making great new friends and learning the ins and outs of putting on truly local marketing events in local markets.

Equally exciting is the fact that this year in Spokane we are rolling a new, all day event. In the past events, while we manage to cover lots of material, a common recommendation was to expand the event to an all day format. (To see every comment, like and dislike about previous events read the Local U feedback page.)

To sign up for the event use the discount mb2011 for a $30 dscount off the full day price of $149.

If you are an agency and wish to bring your clients we are offering a “7-Pack” of tickets for $699. To get the agency pricing it is necessary to reserve Your 7-Pack via email. If you are planning on attending the event, please let me know and be sure to introduce yourself!

During the morning, we cover the big picture background that every small business needs to understand. In the afternoon we dig into the tactical details and provide real world examples of successful practices that any SMB can implement. Here is the full day agenda:
Continue reading

GetListed Local University Portland


The next GetListed Local University is coming up shortly: Portland on Tues, February 22 at the downtown Gerding Theater at the Armory.

Getlisted U has been a fun event for me. I get to work with lots of great folks and present directly to small business people.

One of the things about GetListed Local U of which I am particularly proud is that there is absolutely NO selling and NO pitching by any of the presenters, sponsors or attendees.

None of the speakers are doing this gig for leads. In fact just the opposite in that we hope to leave the attendees in the hands of competent local SEO’s that can ethically guide them through the process of online marketing. That frees us all to say exactly what we think (you know how shy I am about that) and to create an incredibly open, welcoming space where ideas can be freely shared.

This comment that came from our recent Birmingham event reinforced our practice:

I was expecting a sales pitch, but it never came. The instructors all showed passion for their topic. No questions were side-stepped or dodged. I can’t wait to start using what I learned today.
– Nicholas A. Kopp

Why am I telling you all of this? Most of the readers of this blog are professionals and I want to encourage you to bring your clients to our Portland event using our Agency Package “7-Pack” at the discount price of $399 for seven tickets.

    7-PACK BENEFITS

  • Over 50% off each ticket (normally priced at $129)
  • Additional tickets beyond the seven are available at the reduced rate
  • Increased credibility among clients & attendees
  • Inclusion of your logo & website mention as a Local U featured participant
  • Special reserved seating at event
  • Inclusion of your company/organization logo in rotating partners deck
  • Networking with presenters and other attendees
  • Our special enforcer, Ed Reese and his sidekick Fernando will knee cap anyone that violates our no pitching policy

Reserve your GetListed Local University 7-Pack today!

Note: GetListed University Spokane on February 25th, because it is an all day event, will cost $699 for the 7-Pack

Local Search Tools For the SMB and Professional


I have been using two “new” local search tools of late and have been impressed with both of them.

The Local Search Toolkit from seOverflow has recently been released from beta and upgraded to work with the many changes that occurred recently in Google Places. The tool provides competitive information for a range of information for the top 7 listings in a given geo search. It will provide both URLs and totals for each of the following: Site Title Tag, Categories, Citations, Reviews , Number of Photos, Number of Videos, whether the listing is Owner Verified and the listings Distance to City Center.

It’s free and provides a wealth of information. It’s useful for determining which reviews sites are most prevalent in which industries and which citations sources are the most prominent.

Another tool that I often use is the Whitespark Local Citation Finder. The free version has been around for a while and is also useful in finding citations for either keyword phrases, your own site or those of a competitor. They just released the Local Citation Finder Pro version. The Pro Version is $20/mo and normally I do not write about products that charge a fee but it has a new feature that I am finding incredibly useful (they provided me with a free subscription).

Local Citations Pro now offers the ability compare the specific citations between any number of  searches and or business listings. So for example you can examine your business listing and the citations for the listing that is tops in your category and against the citations for a series of search pharse. The information is offered up both visually and via a spread sheet file: Continue reading

Big G vs. The Trip Advisor – Smackdown Continues in The Review Ring


Ah yes, the rancor in the review industry does continue and in fact it seems to be turnin’ into a wrestlin’ match. The actors players competitors wrestlers have staked out their corners and the taunting has begun for the match later this evening.

Google has been throwing reviews around like ring side chairs. Reviews from tripadvisor.com have been coming and going from Places Pages faster than an Elbow Drop off the Top. Google seems to be attempting to not show them as much, per TA’s request but in their stead we are often seeing the very same reviews form Tripadvisor.ca or .ie. In some cases, we are even seeing the TA reviews on the Places Page from actual owner website via the TA review widget. (Thanks to Steve King from SimPartners)

The real winner in this match appears to be a site called TravelPod.com. They are a site that synidicates TripAdvisor reviews and in a quick survey of hotel Places Pages for major cities, they are showing prominently on the main SERP and the Places Page for sites that had TripAdvisor reviews. Their review totals often match TA’s exactly. Clearly, TA’s efforts to block Google from summarizing content from their review corpus is not going to be a successful tactic.

One then has to ask why TA has gone on their very public PR tear. Posting at their blog and across twitter via the #AskSteve hashtag, their CEO continues to answer (albeit at a trickle) questions about the tiff.

I found TA’s answer to a question that I asked interesting:

Q: @mblumenthal – How does the hotel benefit by TripAdvisor pulling their reviews from Google?

A: For hotels to thrive on any site, consumers must have a great user experience. We’ve pulled our reviews because Google Places doesn’t offer a good consumer experience.

Now where have we heard that refrain before? It seems that Steve pulled a play from Google’s playbook when answering that one.

Effluent always seems to run down hill. And it seems that wherever an SMB might stand in this current match is by definition, down hill.

TripAdvisor Reviews and Google Places – the Saga Continues


Su from the Inn at Tanglewood Hall, a bed and breakfast in York Harbor, Me alerted me on the 20th to the fact that TripAdvisor reviews were once again missing from Google Places. Today she sent me this missive from the CEO of TripAdvisor, Steve Kaufer inviting questions via Twitter about the TripAdvisor-Google battle over review content in Google Places. I am reprinting his message in full:

***

#AskSteve on Twitter: TripAdvisor Talks Google Places and Invites Questions

With more than 70% of all searches in the U.S. alone, Google is the world’s  dominant search engine with considerable power over displaying what users see on the web. With Google Places, it is abusing this power.

The success of any website relies on two crucial elements: how useful it is to the consumer and therefore how highly it ranks in search engines.  With both of these elements, Google is manipulating its systems and position to promote Google Places over other competing sites.  Links to Google Places appear at the top of the ‘natural’ search despite being an inferior product to sites that are dedicated to review collection and therefore more useful to the consumer.  Google is also forcingTripAdvisor to allow its reviews to be on Google Places, and as the world’s largest travel site with more than 40 million reviews and opinions, become the key content provider in Google Places for hotel and other accommodation reviews.

While we expect competition in the travel planning sector, we expect the success of the competition to be decided by the consumer.  The EU Commission is currently investigating claims of how Google is adopting unfair practice; Google Places is another example of how they are abusing their dominant position in search.

As the situation continues to unfold, we know that many of you may have questions about Google Places and how we at TripAdvisor are approaching it, and I want to get those questions answered.  Over the next couple of days, we’ll be asking you to share these questions on Twitter, and I’ll be answering them right here on the TripAdvisor blog.  Follow us at @TripAdvisor for additional details on how to submit questions and join in on the conversation.

Steve Kaufer, CEO, TripAdvisor

Guidelines for submitting questions:

  • I’ll only be answering questions about Google Places.  Questions on other topics will not be responded to at this time.
  • In order to have your question included, please be sure to use the hashtag #AskSteve.
  • I will be answering ten questions.  Answers will be posted here, on the TripAdvisor blog, and shared on Twitter. Follow @TripAdvisor for updates.

To see the Twitter question stream…. Continue reading

Loci 2010 – Gib Olander


Gib Olander currently serves as Director of Business Development for Localeze and frequent speaker at search marketing conferences. Localeze is a leading provider of merchant content management services, which includes; collection, organization, validation and distribution of merchant content. This content is widely used in the local ecosystems and the data is the foundation of place information at a large number of sites including Bing, Facebook and Twitter amongst others.

From this vantage point, Gib sees the industry dynamics from the inside out, providing useful insights to many in the industry.

***

2010 was a transformative year, I struggle with calling it a year of convergence or a year of fragmentation. Convergence because everywhere we looked a local component was added, we’ve had: social local, mobile local, local search, local commerce, mobile Local search, social mobile search, ETC. Or was it a year for fragmentation with traffic being driven to businesses from a wider variety of sources than ever before, I don’t think 2010 answered many questions but it certainly built the infrastructure for where the space is going in the future, it’s never been a better time to be involved in the Local search ecosystem.

This early in the year article set the tone for the change taking place in the internet space in general. In February you heard major Local publishers declare that Facebook was the leading source for traffic to their site over Google with Facebook growing at an incredible rate it was only natural that they launch a local initiative.

By 2011 it’s expected that 80% of mobile devices are going to be GPS enabled which changes everything. This location based service patent by Apple is an example of the innovation going on in mobile. There are now more than 6000 Location based or at least location aware apps for the iPhone alone. 2010 was the year of Mobile & Local with great innovation from companies like Foodspotting and in the advertising world of Local & Mobile new initiatives like Where Ads were launched creating a new revenue models to fuel the growth.

With foursquare usage continuing to grow and dozens of services, games, applications, networks adding check in functionality it is a trend to watch. One of the most impactful presentation’s I witnessed this year was from Michael Metcalf from Yahoo, he really gave me an understanding of how important our personal Location History and our Spatial Network are, it’s about so much more than the next badge you are going to win, it’s just a matter of time before the value gets unlocked to its fullest.

Local as an important layer of context really emerged, Twitter embraced that concept with their places announcement showing that the context of a clearly defined place is a powerful tool.

Google as friend or foe became a hot topic again in 2010 first with Yelp then with TripAdvisor,  resulting in Google launching its own service/platform to create the content it wants.

Google continued to amaze with the amount of innovation they rolled out during the year with the most notable being the self-described search refinement of Google Place Search resulting in the ever increasing importance of establishing, monitoring and managing your business identity with a standard and consistent Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP)

From the Localeze perspective I felt like we had an amazing year of progress  Here is a list of our press releases in 2010

Thanks for a great year, I can’t wait to see how things emerge in 2011!