Archive for August, 2010

Monkey See, Monkey Do: Yahoo SearchMonkey Absorbing Into Bing

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Yahoo! SearchMonkeyYahoo notified me a few days ago in an email that their SearchMonkey program is about to undergo a change, with their developer tools, gallery and application preferences set to close down on October 1st.

I wrote a few of the 163 search applications which were officially approved for the gallery:

Yahoo SearchMonkey App for L.L.Bean

Nostalgically, I’m bummed that the application development tools and gallery are going away. The Yahoo! team’s concept of enabling webmasters to have some say in custom-designing their own listings’ appearance in the search results was visionary. Marketers salivated at the prospect, and literally hundreds of people approached them in hopes of getting more influence over the search listings.

Indeed, the enhanced search result listings reportedly got around a 15% higher clickthrough rate, verifying many marketer’s theories that the jazzier listings would attract more attention from searchers, resulting in more conversion activities. (more…)

“Downtown” Searches In Google Maps

Monday, August 30th, 2010

For a couple of years now, Google Maps has decreased the influence of proximity upon rankings. However, what if your search query includes the keyword, “downtown”?

Downtowns and rankings in Google Maps

If the query includes “downtown”, such as in the phrase ”downtown coffee shops seattle”, or “downtown hotels, nashville, tn”, then proximity appears to be given a whole lot more importance. (more…)

Google Places Updates Policy For Reviews

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Google announced last week that they updated their guidelines and policies for writing reviews on organizations found in Google Maps / Places.

Consumer Reviews & Ratings Stars

Google’s reviews update may not be all that significant beyond needing to add mention of their newly-introduced protocol allowing business owners to respond to reviews. They probably took the opportunity to clarify the text while they were at it.

However, there are reasons to suspect that there could have been additional motives behind Google’s alteration of the guidelines. (more…)

Yellowbook’s Weforia: Could Group Deals Be Yellow Pages’ Game-Changer?

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Yellowbook has just this week announced the launch of Weforia, a group-buying/discount-deals service similar to Groupon. Like “Groupon”, the Weforia name is another “portmanteau word“, combining “we + euphoria”. The website for the new service sports a cheering crowd, evoking a music concert with the fans breathlessly waiting for the rock star to come out on stage:

Weforia - Yellowbook's new group-buying discounts and deals service

The excitement of the rock concert certainly illustrates euphoria, and is probably channeling the hopes and feelings of the YP industry even more than reflecting what the new product will do. But, you can forgive Yellowbook for wanting to celebrate with a victory dance prior to having their eggs all hatch, because this is unquestionably a very strong concept that has a great chance of working exactly as they hope, and they were first out of the gates in the U.S. to integrate this type of service (Yellow Pages Group in Canada announced their service, RedFlagDeals.com, just a few days before). Read on and I’ll explain. (more…)

Google Maps & Intersections

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

I’m not sure how many people might use this feature in Google Maps, but I suspect that relatively few people are aware that it exists. Google Maps allows one to submit more than just street addresses and city names in order to map location — they also allow you to submit intersections of cross-streets:

Google Maps & Crossroads - Main Street and Elm Street in Springfield, Massachussetts

To get a map of an intersection of two streets, you merely need to submit the request in this format: “[Street Name A] & [Street Name B], City]. In the above example, I use “main st and elm st, springfield, ma”.

Developers are probably even less aware that this feature is available in Google Maps API (more…)

New Advisory Board Roles

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

I have recently joined the Advisory Board of Name Dynamics, the company which handles Universal Business Listings. (Press Release: Name Dynamics Announces Advisory Board of Key Search Industry Leaders)

I’ve also joined the SEO Advisory Board of FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters Company. (Press: FindLaw SEO Advisory Board)

I’m looking forward to serving both of these companies and contributing to their success!

Lighthouses Becoming Obsolete Due To Geolocation Technology

Monday, August 16th, 2010

I was interested to see in the New York Times this weekend that lighthouses and lighthouse keepers are becoming obsolete, in large part due to geolocation technology, such as GPS equipment on ships (probably due to cheaper radars, too).

It’s sort of sad to see an entire, specialized discipline and its iconic structures abruptly made unnecessary in this way, just from technological disruption. (more…)

Local SEO 101: Domain Naming

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Domain naming is closely related to branding. If you have some flexibility — that is, if you don’t have a website or your website hasn’t been operating for very long — you might want to engineer your domain name to give you maximum Local SEO value. Choosing Domain Names for Local Businesses & Local SEO(If you’ve already been operating on a brandname for quite some time, you might still consider these tips for a separate domain name for your blog.)

The right domain name can give you a marginal edge above the competition when people are searching for your products and services.

Back when I wrote “Extreme Local Search Optimization Tactics“, I suggested renaming a business to include local search keywords so that your company could more closely match with the queries that most consumers would type into search engines when seeking your type of business. While those “extreme” tips were intended to be so over-the-top as to be a joke, the concept of having an optimal name is not.

For instance, a business named “Acme” isn’t going to match searches for “auto repair” as closely as a business named “Acme Auto Repair”. Descriptively-named businesses have the added benefit of always advertising/informing consumers as to exactly what they provide, each time their names are displayed, so there’s likely some significant overall advantage to descriptive names beyond search optimization.

Renaming businesses has been done for local search optimization, although Google has become sensitive to it being done non-officially, and formally/legally changing a business name or getting a DBA may be more trouble/expense than it is worth. (more…)