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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Loci 2011: Gib Olander

Gib Olander currently serves as Vice President Market Development for Localeze and frequent speaker at search marketing conferences. Localeze is a leading provider of business listing identity management, 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.


While my day job keeps me out of the day-to-day practice of optimizing local listings or sites, I still dabble at night to stay dangerous. So I have to give a shout-out to all the in-the-trenches practitioners who write articles counseling on the tactics of local search. THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge as you have saved many of us countless learning cycles.  Local search is in an interesting position as we kick off 2012, so it is important to share some of the bigger trends coming together to change the local landscape as we know it.

I’ve used this stat a many times in 2011 but it is more important than ever in 2012! Global smartphone usage set to hit 50% by 2013. Smartphones are outpacing PC sales and, according to Greg Sterling’s comScore mobile review, mobile advertising is ready to take off.

So my guess is that most of the readers of this blog (like me) are avid smartphone users (if you’re not GO BUY ONE RIGHT NOW).  Think of all the things that you do with this device – and think for a minute about your life without it. So now go wipe the sweat off your brow. It’s ok, you can keep it.  My point is we aren’t the typical user today.  We are early adopters, but once you start using a smartphone you never go back. If the numbers are correct, and the smartphone-using population does in fact double, look out because our little local world is about to explode.

I believe this dramatic shift in smartphone usage is going to lead towards “commerce” instead of advertising, or in support of advertising, so GrouponNow and the Foursquare partnership is going to be huge. We have to enable SMBs to manage the cost of sales with a new look at inventory management and provide tools to reach potential customers during the slowest times of day.

Panda rocked the directory world and is creating the need for authoritative content – who wrote the content, when and why are starting to be a more important again.  More content isn’t going to be the answer, it’s better, more authoritative content that will be king.

Another major change is the evolving world of apps. Being found when searching on the big PC is only part of the answer or equation now. The apps landscape has introduced us to some of the promise of the semantic web. Siri is amazing. The long tail has a new meaning in local and with mobile shoppers being likely to buy within hours, as opposed to PC searchers who take weeks, this local mobile fragmentation is ripe for the smart to gain an advantage as the traffic continues to segment.

But maybe the most important article of the year from my perspective was about a key acquisition by Neustar! For those that didn’t know that TARGUSinfo (now Neustar Information Services) was the parent company of Localeze, the future is bright, with loads of innovation coming in 2012.