The staff at Local U have been hard at work putting together the Spring conference schedule for Local University. We are particularly excited to announce the first Advanced workshop for SEO professionals and experienced local search marketers that will take place in Seattle on June 7. Never before have so many Local Search experts been in one room at the same time, and it’ll be a great opportunity to pick all of our collective brains to get a leg up on your competition.
We hope to see you at one of our coming events. If you have any questions about this series, feel free to visit its “homepage” at getlisted.org. We are planning our fall schedule now so if you would like to help sponsor a Getlisted.org Local University event in your community email me at email@example.com.
The Preschool Learning Center (PLC), a small school for the developmentally disadvantaged in rural upstate NY , is like most not for profits: overworked, understaffed, a heart of gold and a very limited budget. There is probably no better program for kids with autism anywhere and certainly not in the markets they serve.
We helped them build their website in 2008 and it has been moderately successful for them. It has provided them reach throughout their marketing region and it has attracted a large number new job applicants. But they wanted to do more but were having difficulty seeing their way through the many options for communications and sharing. They attended the Getlisted.org Local University seminar in early November and learned a great deal about the relative strengths and weakness of the possible directions they might take their local & social efforts on their limited budget. At the seminar Matt McGee offered them this tidbit to help them get clarity: If you want to know where your clients are online, ask them.
It was advice that the PLC took to heart. Gerry Guild, the staff psychologist, put together a Social Media Assessment (available here) that did just that and gathered the exact information that they needed to craft a path forward for improved communications with their clients.
I think the results of the survey are telling. The results and the survey also provide an excellent framework for any small organization with similar questions about how to move forward in the complex social media landscape. The PLC survey puts communications with the client first and it models a process that every not for profit (or any smaller organization) should think about following to better understand where they should put their on line marketing and communication priorities.
Today, I am presenting at the seventh GetListed.org Local University in Ellicottville, NY. in cooperation with Google, Bing and range of local sponsors. Some of you I know and the others I hope to personally meet. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask any questions that come to mind or to just introduce yourself.
These links will provide background information and details for a pathway to dig deeper into the world of managing your listing in Google Places and ethically approaching the review process. 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 Places – Its not your mother’s yellow pages.
As part of Getlisted Local University we occasionally survey the attendees. We ask several questions to assess their level of knowledge about search in general and local search in particular. This survey sample size is very small and self selected from those that registered for the seminar. The participants are primarily small and medium businesses and the market area they occupy is mostly rural. The results however are consistent with previous informal surveys.
I am always shocked that so many businesses have created Facebook Business pages and so few have claimed their Google Places page. I have been at the local thing for such a long time that I frequently forget how few businesses actually make a concerted effort to understand and benefit from Local search.
4.Do you have a website? (y/n)
5.Have you “claimed” your local business listing in the Google Places Dashboard?
6.Does your business currently have a Facebook page?
1)There is still a huge upside to Local search
2)Google Places has not yet succeeded in gaining mindshare against Facebook despite the very real benefit it offers and their longer time in the market.
Local University: WNY is coming to the Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, NY next Tuesday, November 1, 2011. The afternoon session is nearlySOLD OUT, however there are still seats available in the morning session.
We’re bringing in some of the nation’s leading online marketing experts as well as Google and Bing for an intensive four-hour crash course in Internet marketing that will help the SMB navigate the possibilities for marketing their business on the web. The SMBs will learn Search & Social Marketing tips and techniques that will lead to sustained, long-term search engine visibility (and new customers) in their local markets and beyond.
There will be two identical 4 hour sessions ( from 8am – 12pm and 1pm – 5pm). The speakers include Matt McGee, David Mihm, Mary Bowling, Ed Reese, Cecelia Stewart of Google Places, Aaron Weiche and myself. Bing has also recently signed on as a sponsor and the Bing Portal Product Manager Joe Futy will be there demonstrating their new business portal. With Google’s assistance we were able to provide 25 college students with “scholarships” to attend the event.
We will be holding “office hours” offering free website reviews for attendees in an adjacent room at the Holiday Valley Resort from 8:30am – 1:00pm and from 1:30pm – 6:00pm. Slots are available on first-come, first-served basis in 15-minute intervals. If you would like to reserve a time for one of us to review your site, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your preferred time.
Pricing for the event is $129. Click here to register. Enter the discount code: MB2011 to receive special pricing of $99 (save $30).Hope to see you there!
The benefits of multiple locations are obvious if you need them. The benefits of the map preview are not so obvious but very real. KML files require a mapping API to generate the lat long info included in the file. Sometimes the information from the API, even from the same map provider, renders the location differently than reality or differently than the public mapping program. It has always been a good idea to check the KML file’s lat-long accuracy by loading it into something like Google Earth to be sure that it pins the locations correctly. Now Geo Sitemap Generator previews the pins on a Map for you when you go to download your files saving you a necessary step.
I thought that the most hassle free order method was to just go to my local ATT store. It was the obvious choice. There is never a line, the staff is friendly. The affable salesman knows me by first name and is an avid iPhone owner himself. I could be catered to and I wouldn’t have to think too hard. I thought how can I go wrong?
Not to worry. With ATT there is always a way.
The choices offered to me by ATT:
1)I could preorder and wait for 3 weeks for delivery or
2)I could come in next Friday and stand in line or
3)Since I am consulting in Phoenix next Friday, I could stand in line there.
As my son would say: Yea right.
I pulled out my iPhone while standing frustrated at the ATT sales counter & went to the Apple site. It suggested I download the app, which I did. Within 3 or 4 minutes I had preordered my iPhone. I asked my salesperson (who I felt really sorry for) to advise the chain of command of the outcome.
There are two simple ways of telling Google and the other search engines where your business is located via your website. One is to create a KML file and an attendant geo-sitemap. The other is to provide your full business contact information in rich snippet format on the site. Now there is a way to easily do both with one simple creation tool from Michael Borgelt of 51Blocks.
From a single input of your basic NAP + web information, the tool creates a kml file, a geo-sitemap file pointing Google to the KML file and an HTML code snippet in the new schema.org format for your business contact info.
You then paste the code snippet onto your contact us page or into the footer of your website, place the kml & geo-sitemap files in your public html file of your site and then reference the geo-sitemap file from the Google webmaster tools. The KML file can also be uploaded to Google MyMaps to create an embeddable direction and location map for your website.
I doubt that Google needs both signals to trust your site but by doing both you have future proofed your site for any eventuality.
This is not a tribute to Steve Jobs directly. Although in the end it may be one of his greatest legacies. Will Siri become the new Qwerty?
I have been in the technology field for over 30 years. I have seen a number of radical changes that became metaphors for how things were supposed to be done. Many, but certainly not all, of these metaphors were created at the hands of Steve Jobs.
QWERTY defined the keyboard. The Apple II defined a generation of PCs. Sony defined what the home video recorder should be. The Mac defined what a Window and Window based programs should behave like. The iPhone defined how touch functions on a smartphone and what a smartphone is.
These defining products and the companies that produce them don’t always win the battle in the market place for various reasons but the idea sticks. The technology becomes iconic and lays the path for others to follow. Sometimes the followers overtake the creators, sometimes the creators win. The market is a brutal overseer.
Siri, the natural language interface for the new iPhone 4s, is one such product. It may not be the product that wins the battle in the market place, it may not be the specific product feature that everybody has to have in their pockets in 2015 but if it isn’t, whatever is there will be like Siri.
Imagine a world where you say to your phone: Find me the best Asian restaurant within 25 miles. Or: Text my wife to meet me at 21. Or: Schedule an appointment for me with Joe the PR Guy and send him a text. Or: Tell my friends on Facebook that our team won!
All of the sudden the only thing that matters is the answer. Nothing else. You won’t be looking at a search box, you won’t be landing on someone’s home page, you won’t be looking at an ad…In fact you won’t be looking at anything.
You won’t need to. Not all of your interaction will be voice driven but depending on your mobile needs a large portion of it could be. You no longer need to look at your phone to enter a query in a search box. You just ask for the answer and it will just give it to you.
The answer can come from a single source or a range of sources. The brand of search engine is no longer important, the brand of phone that you are asking the question on is. Your only relationship is with the phone. Either it works or it doesn’t. Search engines and web brands could potentially fade in importance.
The winner in this next interface battle gets to pick where and who it gets the answer from. If Siri needs three data sources, it uses three data sources. If it needs four, it looks at four. That complexity is all hidden and the user not only doesn’t need to visit multiple websites, the user doesn’t even need a special app. Siri, or something like it, becomes the great equalizer for data sources. An OS for voice as it were. It handles the complexities. You just need to ask it.
Will it do what Apple says it will? There was a time when you couldn’t trust what Apple or any technology firm said. You had to have it proven to you. Even though this is a new Apple, one molded by the demanding perfectionism of Steve Jobs, this is one of those times when you will need to know that the natural language interface works and it works seamlessly.
If it does, it becomes THE WAY that you want to interact with the device. The new QWERTY as it were. Maybe not all all the time but certainly with mobile search and more frequently than not with mobile local search.
It also becomes the great disintermediator in mobile. It may be the greatest disintermediator of all time. If it works.