If you manage business listings on a large scale, you may remember a glitch from a few months ago (and even towards the end of last year) that Google Places was showing a limited number of locations in the account if you had more than 1,000. The functionality of the account was there and all of the information in the bulk feed was published but you were unable to access individual locations through the dashboard if they passed the thousand mark.
Frustrating, yes but since it was wide spread, we had to work with it until it was fixed. Well, it looks like we are in a similar situation again but this time locations are being doubled within the account. After the correct feed gets uploaded, there could be an additional thousand listings in your account. If you download this feed, the doubled listings will be included.
What does this mean for management of locations? Not much. So far, it looks like additional locations (that are already managed by you) are only being added to your account and feed. I haven’t seen anything to suggest that duplicate listings are being published due to this. Also, it doesn’t look like it is as wide spread as the original issue either. For the time being, it will disappear soon so don’t worry about it.
Does typing billing information on a tiny phone screen deter you from online shopping? A recent article explains that shopping only ranks #13 as the most common activity done on a mobile device. But, depending on the type of shopper you are, you may want to rethink your strategy for the holiday season to avoid the crowds. If you’re an advertiser, don’t let this keep you from implementing an effective mobile strategy since mobile searches contribute in large part to in-store purchases. Plus, Google released projections for mobile shoppers with the holiday season approaching. These few alone should motivate you to make necessary optimizations to your mobile campaign:
- 15% of “Black Friday” searches will be from mobile devices
- 44% of searches for last minute gifts & store locators will be used for last minute gifts.
- Mobile Devices drive in store traffic-65% of high end devices have been used to find a business, and then made an in-store purchase.
For retailers that aren’t implementing a paid campaign, make sure your location information is correct on all directories, because last minute shoppers will still be looking for you, even if they don’t plan on purchasing on-the-go. Product feeds will also be useful to let potential customers know what you currently have in stock. Year over year, smartphones usage has increased and now 2011 will mark continued growth for mobile shopping.
Last week, Local Search Traffic launched its very own Local Search Lowdown Blog. While you have been getting a few local marketing tips through our parent company, Location3, We invite you to take a look at our blog that focuses specifically on local search.
We will be covering a wide range of topics including map listings, local PPC, industry news and location-based social media. In addition, you’ll get a chance to meet our team as we share more information. Take a look at our posts so far: Local Search Lowdown
As of this morning, if you ride a bus and live in Boston, Portland, Ore., San Diego or San Francisco, you can check if you preferred mode of public transportation is running late in Google maps. This interesting video provides some of the new features that work on your desktop or an Android phone.
Transit Updates in Google Maps
Currently, the US is only testing this in the four cities I mentioned earlier, but they are also rolling this out in two European cities, Madrid and Turin. I can’t wait until they roll this throughout the US and I don’t have to take a chance on catching the next one.
In honor of this month’s holiday, we thought we should have a list of some of Cinco de Mayo favorites.
1. Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day – This is the most popular Cinco de Mayo myth. The real date of Mexico’s Independence Day is September 16. May 5th is really a celebration of Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862.
2. I felt compelled to at least have one thing dedicated to local search. With a mix of authentic, fusion and some places I’ve never been to, here’s a map pack shot of the top results for “Mexican restaurants Denver”
3. Horchata. If you’ve ever had this, you’d know that this delicious sweet drink tastes best with a little bit of cinnamon. Here are two different recipes so have fun learning how to make it.
4. Who doesn’t like a guinea pig in a sombrero?
5. Finally, if you’ve ever wondered how tequila is made, here’s a brief explanation, along with a few drink recipes. Being a wine connoisseur is nice and all, but when you know your Tequila, it says, “I’m smart, but I still like to party.”
A few months ago, I posted a blog on local shopping which allows you to see which products are available at the stores around you and compare prices. Yesterday, Google announced that this information can now be included on your place page.
Right now it is uncertain how or if this will make an impact on business’s map listing ranking. Depending on a business’s products, this change could enhance the user experience but is ultimately left up to Google to make that decision.
As much as I would enjoy this feature as a customer, I can’t help but wonder what this will do to business’s traffic numbers from local search efforts. It keeps people informed, but at the same time, keeps searchers on Google and this may impact online conversions.
One thing to also keep in mind is that business’s will need three different accounts to get this, which can all be found here. Each feed also needs to be updated on a frequent basis so be sure inventory is up-to-date.
Overall, I think this is a great idea to enhance the user experience. Since we aren’t sure if it will make a difference on visibility, it could be worth a shot depending on the business, but keep online traffic and Place Page goals in mind.
Photo from NBCUniversal
Imagine my excitement when a suspect on last week’s Law & Order SVU mentions that the suspect was harassing his customers to improve his ranking in Google. He treats them poorly and then continues to call and harass them on the phone. He’s trying to get them so mad that they decide to write something about his business on the internet, eventually increasing his ranking and making him more visible.
Pathetic, right? Asking for feedback from your customers has been a pretty common practice but this is obviously going too far. Plus, with Google’s recent changes on offering incentives for reviews, you may change your mind on the way you do business. Specific guidelines on writing reviews explain the issues Google has with incentive-generated reviews; mostly weighted on being biased and untrustworthy.
Protecting your online reputation is very important since reviews are available for everyone to see. In the local space we’ve seen how reviews can help improve your ranking but more importantly, we’ve also noticed that some businesses would rather focus on improving their ranking rather than improving the quality of service. Since service quality is something that is much easier to control, focusing on that is a better business strategy.
Use the reviews written for your business as a training tool. Is the review about a customer service issue? Take the time to learn how your employees are interacting with customers and train them if necessary. Is the review about how expensive your products are? Maybe it’s time to make some price adjustments.
If you stay current by reading the reviews you’ll stay more connected to your customers and understand what they want and where they are coming from.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Det. Benson and Det. Stabler solved the case and the sketchy business owner doesn’t turn out to be the killer.
Managing a PPC campaign and your Map Listing can get a little tricky as they both take a lot of work. Depending on Google’s algorithm, your listing may not always show up where and when you want or you may be continually changing keywords to optimize your PPC campaign. The good news however, is that now location extensions are being included directly on the map when you do a place search.
Although we’ve seen location extensions (which include your address and phone number) for a while, now we are able to see a blue pin on the map signifying the location of your business mixed in with map listing results and you don’t have to cross your fingers to get a higher rank with your map listing (which also includes your address and phone number).
This can help your local PPC campaign plenty, since the whole idea is to bring in more traffic to your location and you control when and where your ad is seen.
However, don’t completely disregard your map listing either. These can be just as important, especially if you are a small business with little money for online advertising. As long as you claim your business, you control the accuracy and description of your business.
Regardless of how you get your information out there, through paid search or through local map listings, it’s important to make sure you’ve taken the time to research the relevance of your content and make sure it’s accurate everywhere it is displayed.
As the holidays are quickly approaching, and you rush to find the perfect gift, make sure to save yourself some time and do a little research before you find out that your preferred shopping center doesn’t have what you’re looking for.
Last month, Google added new features to its shopping pages. With the new features, you can compare prices from local stores, online vendors and even see which stores in the area have a particular product in stock.
This is great from a local search marketing stand point because when you click on a particular location for “more info,” you get directed to the location’s place page. Hopefully, the store hours are posted for your customers and there is enough time for them to come in and get what they need. Or, if it is available online from Google products, they can purchase it then.
From a shopping stand point, it will save you lots of time from going store to store, calling different locations and if it isn’t available, maybe find an alternative to what you were looking for in the first place.
I don’t know about you, but I’m convinced my holiday shopping will be finished in a week and I can make it home in time for some hot chocolate.