Posts Tagged ‘Google Places’

New Infographic Shows How Influential Yelp Reviews Are In Local Search

Thursday, September 5, 2013

We often talk about the growing influence of online reviews in driving local purchasing decisions. We came across an interesting new infographic from Merchant Warehouse, created by Column Five, which compiles recent research to illustrate just how significant a local business’ presence on Yelp, the online review site, plays in its ability to attract customers and new business.

As the graphic shows, there’s a lot that more that local businesses can and should be doing to engage potential and existing customers on local sites like Yelp and others – ranging from Google Places to YP.com, DexKnows.com, YellowBook.com and SuperMedia.com. Check it out.

Yelp

 

 

Will the New Yahoo CEO Focus on Local Businesses?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

In my Local Search column on Search Engine Land this month, I discuss Yahoo’s recent appointment of Marissa Mayer as its new president and CEO, and the opportunities that presents for local businesses should she decide to focus on reinventing the company’s once dominant local search platform, Yahoo! Local.

Mayer, who previously served as the Google executive in charge of local, maps and location services, lives and breathes local. She is also an expert in creating innovative user experiences in the space. I argue that if Mayer makes local a priority at Google – which still commands one of the largest audiences on the Web with 700 million monthly users – that local businesses will have yet another platform to actively consider for local advertising.

In my piece, I overview what Yahoo! Local looks like today and provide some thoughts on where Mayer might take the platform next. Click here to reach the full column.

4 Tips for Taking Ownership of Your Local Business’ Online Presence

Tuesday, September 20, 2011



In my Locals Only column on Search Engine Land this month, I provide local business owners with important tips on how to preempt, identify and effectively mitigate threats to their online presence.

As a New York Times front page story earlier this month on the virtual closing of local businesses on Google Place by spammers showed, even temporary damage to a local business’ online presence can have a detrimental effect on its ability to attract new customers.

My column focuses on four areas that local businesses should take into account when it comes to protecting their online presence:

  • Ensure that “owned properties” – including websites, social media channels and local search site profiles – send a clear message that a business are open and ready to help customers
  • Use public relations outreach to build and maintain strong relationships with local media and influencers that can be leveraged in times of need
  • Develop a comprehensive response strategy that can be immediately implemented if the business encounters an unexpected reputation hit such as a negative blog post or competitive SEM campaign
  • Monitor online conversations about the business on an ongoing basis and be ready to respond at a moment’s notice

Read my full Search Engine Land column here.

Google Acquires Zagat in Effort to Strengthen Local Offerings

Monday, September 12, 2011

Last week, Google made a major move in the local search space: it acquired Zagat.

The deal, estimated at $100 million to $200 million, will bring together Zagat, whose user-generated ratings and reviews of restaurants are among the most regarded in the dining industry and with consumers alike, with Google, which is placing an increasingly strong emphasis on local content.

Google estimates that about 20% of its daily searches are for nearby businesses and offerings, and that the percentage is even higher on mobile, according to the New York Times. The Zagat acquisition will strengthen Google’s ongoing efforts to boost its Google Places platform, which it launched last year after its unsuccessful attempt to acquire Yelp, the popular local search site and Zagat’s largest competitor.

It will be very interesting to see how Google integrates and leverage the Zagat brand. At present, Zagat’s online presence is limited – and its listings on Google not high – because the site is subscriber-only. On the print side, Google said it intends to keep publishing Zagat’s printed books, which it says are very profitable – proving again that print and online complement one another in a number of ways.

For more on Google’s announcement, read their blog post here or the New York Times overview of the deal.

NYT: ‘Closed, Says Google, but Shops’ Signs Say Open’

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The front page of The New York Times today features a story about a new scam hitting local businesses online: virtual “closings” in the popular Google Places directory.

Reporter David Segal explains that in recent months, numerous healthy local businesses have been labeled “reportedly closed” on Google Places through a site feature that allows users to anonymously update company profiles.

The false updates, which are being blamed on business competitors and dissatisfied customers, are either going unnoticed by businesses or taking a long time (days or weeks for some) to be fixed – leading to a significant decrease in customer leads. For example, a bed-and-breakfast in Hawaii that was reported closed on Google Places said that their bookings for this month were far lower than normal, which they attribute to their altered profile on the site.

Google said they are aware of the problem and are working to introduce updates in the next several days to mitigate it. Late last month, the site implemented a new feature that sends business owners an e-mail alert when the status of their business changes.

This story raises a lot of questions about the reliability of crowdsourcing local business information and the potential for real damage to customer leads when listings are altered. It also lends to the importance of business owners having a solid understanding of the local search space, and owning their social media channels and monitoring their online reputation so that they notice these issues right away.  In my view, it’s another reason why business owners rely on Yellow Pages listings – the reassurance that they will provide accurate and reliable information to consumers.

Take a look at the full article here. And if you’re a small business owner, be sure to keep a close eye on your Google Places profile until Google introduces a permanent fix.

Google Places Removes Business Reviews from Third-Party Local Sites

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Google Places, the popular service that features pages for millions of local businesses across the country, made a major move last week by removing snippets of customer reviews featured on its site that were taken from third-party local sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp and CitySearch.

The change was welcomed by the affected local sites, which have argued that their reviews were proprietary. Moving forward, Google Places will only feature reviews written by its own users.

Click here to read full coverage of the change by The Wall Street Journal.