It’s not the first time “crop art” or corn field maze designs have been used to promote a company. Read the rest of this entry »
Matt McGee’s news piece on SEL caught my eye this morning, reporting that Google Maps now sports a new look and feel. The change was apparently announced late yesterday on the Google LatLong blog (I have to agree with Matt’s aside, their blog redesign is not an improvement).
The change comes after a few weeks of observed changes to Google Place Search and rumors and speculation about “big changes coming to Google Maps” followed by increasing buzz around place editing bugs and map interface errors.
Could this be what all the hubbub was about?!? At first glance, most of the changes seem relatively superficial.
This likely does explain some of the errors I encountered yesterday when attempting to do some searches and driving directions requests – that was likely during their code propagation. However, it still seems to me that there could be other changes on the horizon for when Google Plus for businesses rolls out.
Unfortunately, I can immediately see errors in the code that was just rolled out. For instance, the tooltips which appear when moused-over contain encoding errors, rendering various special characters like ampersands and apostrophes into gobbledygook:
People have reported seeing the “7-pack”, or local integrated listings under Universal/Place Search, in Google SERPs less in the past few days (reported on Search Engine Roundtable and WebmasterWorld). I’m seeing some similar cases where local queries are not invoking the business listings as I would’ve expected previously (such as for “Memphis locksmiths”).
So far, one of the prime theories in the discussion forums is that Google might’ve done that in advance of their antitrust hearings in Washington this week, in order to appear less aggressive by allowing more competitor directory pages to rank higher. I find that theory hard to believe, although it’s possible.
However, another theory is that this could be linked-to the recent rumors I earlier reported upon regarding Google planning to launch some “big changes” to Google Maps on October 1st. I opined that this could tie into their planned release of Google+ pages for businesses, and I think that’s still the case.
If Google were merely showing fewer local listings in the SERPs, I might suspect that Read the rest of this entry »
It’s almost, but not quite, shocking to me that Amazon has launched another experiment into local business marketing with the Amazon Local daily deals service. I just got an email promotion for Dallas-Fort Worth area from them this morning:
Amazon apparently uses LivingSocial, with which they are an investment partner, to power this service, and it launched a short while ago in June.
There are lots of companies hopping on the daily deals bandwagon, and this has been described as one of many “Groupon killer” competing services out there.
What’s almost shocking to me about it is that Amazon launched an online yellow pages directory some years ago with A9, back in 2005. The product was innovative (the first business directory to provide “Street View” pictures of businesses, perhaps), and those of us at Superpages watched the development with some apprehension. But, they did a very crappy job at SEO Read the rest of this entry »
I happened to see Greg Sterling briefly at SMX East today, and he alerted me that Google announced that they’ve launched “+snippets” for Maps, allowing users to share Google Maps pages with their friends in Google+:
According to Google Trends, it appears there may have been a significant drop in traffic from Google referrals to major Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs) sites:
Yellowpages.com, Superpages.com, Yelp.com, Citysearch.com, and WhitePages.com all look like they’re dipping in sync.
Is it possible that IYPs have fallen under the treads of a Panda update?
It’s still perhaps early to tell, but it’s looking like they’re all experiencing something similar.
I was excited to be invited to write a guest piece over at Bruce Clay Inc’s blog this week, and my article on “10 Image Optimization Tips for Local SEO” provides a few ideas to help further enhance a small business’s local search signals.
Bruce Clay is of course a well-known and well-established technical search marketing expert who helped pioneer the field, and I recall reading his work and sitting in on his presentations at industry conferences from the very early days of SEO, back when I was working in obscurity within a big mega-corporation. So, it was a particular honor for me to be invited to foist my thoughts on — I mean contribute a professional article on — his blog!
In all seriousness, I’ve used Bruce Clay’s tools over time, and I believe his LocalPack business listing distribution service is well worthwhile for any business beginning to establish its listing information in major online directories and local search engines everywhere. (And, FYI, this was not a paid endorsement a quid pro quo endorsement by me — Bruce Clay’s people have not asked me to write about their products nor link to them, and I have no financial connection with them.)
Thank you guys for inviting me in to participate on your blog, and making me feel welcome!
I posted a piece about Google’s new “Page Speed Service” over on SEM Clubhouse this morning, and in it I describe a bit of how it will speed up websites and thus help with both SEO and user-experience. Those are mostly good things.
But, I go on to compare it a little with old AOL service processes. Like the old AOL service, which used to compress and cache webpages across the internet (sometimes changing those pages for the worse), the Google service is also a little disturbing in the “Big Brother” sense.
Google, through search, already occupies so much of consumers’ time on the internet, and it’s often the first leg or starting-off-point for many consumers’ web interactions. If large numbers of websites also use the Page Speed Service, then Google could be hosting the entire end-to-end experience for the internet.
If they start using their dark fiber network as part of the routing of this new Content Delivery Network, one’s internet usage moves partially off of the shared public grid onto a completely private network. Your user experience would not necessarily be altered, but it’s disturbing from the standpoint of it beginning to build a defacto “walled-garden” experience upon the infrastructure of a single company which begins to resemble the mother of all monopolies.
When an internet experience (or mobile access experience) is completely within a silo, it risks having all sorts of odd rules imposed upon it. Such as a lack of network neutrality, the forcible intrusion of unwanted ads, snooping, and outright suppression of materials not deemed to be in the best interests of the owner corporation.
While Google has been known for being more philosophically against censorship and suppression, and has been a supporter (to some degree) of net neutrality, the potential for issues if they own the end-to-end web experience expand exponentially. The old adage applies, regardless of good intentions: “It’s not wise to put all your eggs in one basket.”