Google Place Search Changes How Local Searches are Displayed

Google Place

Today, November 8, 2010

Businesses will now have to have a visible and physical location if they want to be listed in a local search.

Google Local and Map have become a big influence on how people search and get results. We can demonstrate this by searching for ‘accountant’ and the search result returns a broad list of ‘accountants’, but perhaps too broad so we tend to search again by narrowing the result – adding a location to the search – ‘accountant in city’ and the results we see are now closer to home.

So it’s no surprise that Google should be taking a closer look at how we search and attempt to refine the process and provide a more meaningful search result by changing the Google Local search algorithm to make it easier for us to find what or who we are searching for locally.

Today, November 8, 2010 we see searches that reference local business and all the relevant places in that location in a new clustered visual display located in the upper right corner of a search result page. The now familiar map displays each business with red lettered pins, and links to each business. And as you scroll down the page the Google Places Map will scroll with the page so that it is always visible.

In addition to the way we see businesses displayed on Google Places, a new product is being launched – Google Boost.

Google Boost is a Google AdWords product that allows local businesses to feature more prominently in local searches. It allows small to medium size businesses the ability to feature more highly in searches, and concentrates much more on the relevance and location of that business than ever before. Now searchers will see sponsored location searches appear on the Google Places map as blue lettered pins and in search results with the blue marker pin next to the content description.

Search results for the ‘accountant in city’ will now appear first below sponsored listings and above organic listings. What this means is that results for a business in a location will now appear grouped with the other search results, making it much easier for searchers to find what they are looking for in a local area.

Google reports that Place Search results will begin appearing automatically when Google determines that you are looking for a ‘business in location’ search result.

Google-MapsGoogle also says “We’ve made results like this possible by developing technology to better understand places. With Google Place Search, we’re dynamically connecting hundreds of millions of websites with more than 50 million real-world locations. We automatically identify when sites are talking about physical places and cluster links even when they don’t provide addresses and use different names.”

Google Places is being rolled out across the world and will be available everywhere, in 40 languages once complete. Google is hoping to provide a better, local search to users, while exploiting a different revenue stream. It’s also competing with Facebook Places which was launched a while ago. Facebook was able to use very targeted advertising to provide a similar service to its users.

Google should have the advantage here though, as most Facebook advertising is passive, appearing alongside the primary content. Google’s Place Search is active and should have the advantage when it comes to conversion.

Location-based services are seen as a growing market, with Facebook Places and location aware services like Foursquare enjoying significant growth since their inception. Placing Google Place Search alongside search results, Google can hedge its bets while not detracting from its standard offering.

From an SEO perspective Peter Bowen at First One On says, “One of the downsides to this new display of results is how it will affect businesses that previously enjoyed number one placements for ‘business in location’ or featured well alongside the old Google Map.”

“Now with the introduction of Google Place Search in results it is quite possible that businesses that had worked hard to get top placements on page one now find themselves listed on page two! Other businesses that did not even have a listing on the old Google Map are now being brought to the top of the search results based on the location of their business and business listing in Google Places.”

What this means is that in the long run it will be more difficult for businesses to rank at the top of a local search unless they realize that they will have to spend much more time and effort on local search engine optimization. Businesses that had previously enjoyed a prominent position on the old Google Map without a website, which was possible before, will now find it almost impossible to maintain a listing without a well developed and locally optimized website.

Businesses will now have to have a visible and physical location if they want to be listed in a local search. In the past, businesses could hide their physical location and yet still be found locally through their websites, but now consumers searching for a business in a location will be able to determine if they contact that business or not based on their location. So as Google exposes competitors in searches, it is now revealing where those businesses are located – hopefully providing the consumer with more information before making a purchase decision.

Full Article: http://www.sitepronews.com/archives/2010/nov/10prt.html

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10 Keys to Facebook Success

How to Use Facebook to Get Results in Your Business

How to Use Facebook to Get Results in Your Business

Whether you like it or not technology is the way of the future. Everything you do and say will be online. If you decide it is all too hard, sorry to tell you but you are going to be left behind.

Social media provides a way to communicate to the masses, it means that you can expose your business to people that you would never have had the opportunity or ability to communicate and market to. It means that marketing your business all of a sudden becomes so much easier.

Facebook, being just one of the many social media communities, is an internet phenomenon which is currently sweeping the globe. Like instant messaging and sites such as YouTube, Facebook is a website which allows you to find and communicate with friends, share photographs, and compare your likes and dislikes.

Facebook has become so popular because it is uniquely viral in that you need to find ‘friends’ before you can communicate with anyone. People either have a love or hate relationship with Facebook since it gets to know an inordinate amount of information about you very quickly. However, you are in control of how much information you provide to the entire Facebook community or to your friends.

Facebook for Business

There is much debate as to whether Facebook is the place to be if you are in business. Is it worth your time and effort if the main users are consumers not businesses?

The answer to that is Yes. Marketing your business on any social media platform is not an arduous task, as much as many people think it is, it is about having a presence, building credibility, and educating your potential customers.

Remember, Facebook provides opportunities that you would never have been exposed to, so make the most of it.

To be most effective when marketing your business via social media, you really need to be talking to your target market. How you get them to “Like” your page is all about building your following and providing education about what you do and how you can help them.

You should also have a strategy in place on how you will market your business through social media. It’s like all your other marketing activities; it needs to be strategic not ad hoc for the best results.

10 Keys to Facebook Success

Here are 10 key steps to help you get the most out of Facebook marketing:

1. Create a neat page. You don’t have to fill out everything, but fill out at least the most important information in the profile section. Also, include a picture. People like seeing that they’re dealing with an actual person or business and not just some faceless company.

2. Keep your business profile separate from your personal one. Don’t go following your favorite bands or befriend your real life friends on Facebook with your business account. It’s okay to have a bit of fun with your business profile, but don’t forget its main purpose of marketing.

3. Make plans about what you’re going to say. What are you trying to accomplish? How can you make your page unique? How can you get the right audience interested in your page? How will you respond to criticism? To praise? Be strategic!

4. Brand your identity. You can now brand and theme your Facebook page similar to that of your website. Use the same logos and graphics, although you shouldn’t go overboard with them. Too many graphics will make your page difficult to load.

Create an Opt-in on your Facebook page to get followers contact details and all of a sudden you have another lead generation strategy for your business.

5. Interact with others. Participate in discussion and always give friendly, knowledgeable replies. Join clubs relating to your niche and offer suggestions and tips. Whenever somebody asks a question, offer a thoughtful answer.

If somebody says something you disagree with, let them know in a friendly manner, and provide a well-thought out reply as to why you do.

6. You’ll probably have to deal with some negativity. People can question your intentions at any time. Always be patient with your critics and deal with them in a professional and friendly manner. Don’t expect to always satisfy everyone. What you can do is maintain a positive image for your brand.

7. Try encouraging your fans to talk. Offer polls and surveys, asking your fans what they do and do not like about your niche. Try starting new topics such as ‘top 10 reasons why’ or ‘learn how to’ and then ask others to share their tips and ideas.

8. Keep everybody up-to-date with offers. Online communities need to be active, and one of the best ways to stay active on Facebook is to offer coupons and special deals on a regular basis. Also, having updates about discounts on your page will entice new visitors to follow you!

9. Hire a professional to create an app and offer it on your page. People really love apps, and your fans will even share them with their friends! Fun applications are a great way to attract attention on Facebook. You should be able to find a developer who charges fair rates.

10. Be consistent with your efforts. Log on every single day and post something! Even if you don’t have any updates, log on and participate in discussion. If you don’t get on Facebook every day and share tips, ideas, etc., people will forget about you. Also, don’t forget to use important keywords in your posts!

Follow these 10 steps to get the best out of your Facebook marketing campaign!

Full story: http://www.sitepronews.com/archives/2010/nov/1.html

Social Networking for Business Guide

Social-Networking-Business-Guide

It seems like there’s an over-abundance of social sites nowadays. For a newbie, it can be quite intimidating when first joining a network or two and building a community. A handful of questions may run through your head:

• Which networks to join?
• How to participate?
• What’s enough, or too much?
• How will it help my business?

So, to answer some of these, I’d like to present my “Social Media For Dummies” overview. First, a quick recap of my favorite networks and what they’re about.

Facebook – The ultimate platform for keeping up with (stalking) friends. I joined Facebook way back in 2005, you know, when it was just for college students and before you could even share photos (gasp!). I’ve witnessed the evolution of this mega-network over the years, and it has become, not only the 4th largest website in the world, but the best place to find people, keep up with them, and inform them. It is the son of Classmates.com on every possible steroid ever ingested by humans. The ability to share and communicate with friends and colleagues is seamless. Overall, Facebook is a great place to start your social networking endeavors.

LinkedIn – A must-have in every business person’s arsenal of tools. If you are (or hoping to be) in business of any sort, LinkedIn is a great place to set up shop. Very similar to Facebook, minus the annoying applications, plus job postings and resumes. This is where you network with those in your industry, join groups, research companies, and prospect clients. Build your credentials by asking colleagues for recommendations or head to the “Q&A” section to provide advice.

Twitter – Share, Learn, Meet. I wouldn’t be surprised if Webster adds a new definition for “tweet” this year. Within the first half of 2009, Twitter has gone from nearly 5 million users to over 23 million. It is the social media platform of choice at Fortune 100 companies. Easily share links, pictures, videos, articles… Oh, and personal updates… with followers. Twitter is kind of like the cocktail party of social networks. Here, you can easily reach out to strangers by tuning in to their tweets or quickly replying to them. A limited amount of customization keeps annoying advertisements and outlandish profiles at bay, unlike the outdated MySpace.

Digg, del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, reddit, etc. – Social Bookmarking to share and store your favorite links. You just read an article over at NYT.com that you loved. Use one or more of these bookmarking sites to share it with the world. Looking for information or articles on a certain subject? Head to one of these sites and search your topic, you’ll be able to peruse a list of articles or sites that others have found useful or interesting. Not only are these great for sharing, but storing sites for later use as well. Say you have a home desktop, a netbook for travel, and a work computer… customize your bookmarks and easily access them on each computer without updating each machine.

FriendFeed – All of your networks in one place. FriendFeed lets you put all of your networks in one big stream. Users can see your Facebook status, latest Tweet, pictures posted on Flickr, blog post, bookmarked article and much more when they follow your feed. Much like Twitter, but a whole lot more.

social-networking

Is Social Media Worth Your Time?

social-media-logosEvery one – from politicians, businesses, musicians, celebrities and many other groups of people – uses social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social networking outlets to spread their message, build their businesses and connect with others.

Do they know something we don’t?

Networking, whether online or offline, is a great use of time when done properly. As with anywhere you spend your time, knowing why you are doing it, how you will measure success and having a plan is the best approach.

With that said, I jumped in with both feet last year with the guidance of a social media expert, and I have found clients, joint venture partners, speaking engagements and other great connections through various social media outlets. I am a member of more social media outlets than I can count, but I currently focus on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. While I am not an expert in social media, here are five reasons to take some time to learn the benefits of social media.

global-social-media1. There Is No Direct Cost

There is no direct cost unless you opt for an upgrade, if one is offered. I haven’t paid for an upgrade and have steadily increased my list to include over 1000 followers between just three social media outlets, and without much effort.

2. Build Your Business by Connecting With Peers

Are you interested in finding joint ventures, affiliates, guest experts or other peers you can bounce ideas off of? In the last few weeks alone, I have located one large joint venture partner and have had several other partnership opportunities cross my desk. Business owners just like you are using social media to connect with others who are interested in using your articles, hosting you as a guest expert on teleseminars, webinars and live events, and even creating projects together!

3. Build Your Business by Following Reporters You Are Targeting

Would an article written by a certain reporter make your year? Follow them on Twitter or Facebook and see what is of interest to them and what they are writing about. You don’t know what golden nugget you’ll find by following them online that may open the door at the right time. Follow them and invite them to follow you as well! Or with LinkedIn you can find out how many degrees you are from them. You may surprise yourself by being only one or two degrees away from your target!

4. Showcase Your Expertise, Build Your Platform and Attract New Clients

Social media is an interesting animal. While many people use it to grow their businesses, you must be mindful about outright promotions. Generally speaking, heavy marketing of your products and services on these sites is a big no-no. Here’s how I do it. I’ll post something like this: “Just got off the phone with social networking guru Nancy Marmolejo. Now I’m off to finish writing my sales page for the Business Breakthrough Series.” People who are intrigued will check you out and may end up deciding to follow you and … bingo! They have just entered your world!

5. Reach Large Audiences

The world is your oyster in social media. There are only a few businesses that are truly limited by geographic boundaries, especially if you are in the information marketing business. Being active on social networking sites eliminates geographic boundaries and allows you to reach a vast number of people from all over the world. If you have products and services that can be purchased by anyone in the world, being active in social media is an absolute must for you. I recently held a teleseminar with people from over 10 countries in attendance, all from the comfort of my home office! And my sweat pants!

So, is social media worth the time? It depends. Social media is absolutely the wave of the future, and you will need to know something about it at some point. However, whether you work it into your plan for 2009 depends on your goals. If you have a goal of increasing your reach to prospects either locally or internationally, you can do that quite effectively through social media. However, if you can cannot and will not commit to learning how to “tweet” on Twitter or communicate on Facebook or use your connections on LinkedIn, it will not be worth your time.

My advice to clients when they are just starting out is to select one social media outlet, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, and master it before jumping into every outlet possible. You obviously need to schedule time for connecting, so select the social networking outlets that will benefit you the most.

Now that I am experiencing the financial results of my online efforts, I understand why this is such a great use of my time and I’m hooked!


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Top Websites of 2009 !!

50-websites

Sites to Visit

  1. Flickr
  2. California Coastline
  3. Delicious
  4. Metafilter
  5. popurls
  6. Twitter
  7. Skype
  8. Boing Boing
  9. Academic Earth
  10. OpenTable
  11. Google
  12. YouTube
  13. Wolfram|Alpha
  14. Hulu
  15. Vimeo
  16. Fora TV
  17. Craiglook
  18. Shop Goodwill
  19. Amazon
  20. Kayak
  21. Netflix
  22. Etsy
  23. Property Shark
  24. Redfin
  25. Wikipedia
  26. Internet Archive
  27. Kiva
  28. ConsumerSearch
  29. Metacritic
  30. Pollster
  31. Facebook
  32. Pandora and Last.fm
  33. Musicovery
  34. Spotify
  35. Supercook
  36. Yelp
  37. Visuwords
  38. CouchSurfing
  39. NameVoyager
  40. Mint
  41. TripIt
  42. Aardvark
  43. drop.io
  44. Issuu
  45. Photosynth
  46. OMGPOP
  47. WorldWideTelescope
  48. Fonolo
  49. Get High Now
  50. Know Your Meme

+ Read more

Thought of the week

twttr-fb

It was all pigs and birds this week 🙂

This week, technology has been feeding the Swine Flu hysteria, but also hopefully keeping us safe. There is a Google Maps Mashup totrack the spread of the disease. As well as an iPhone app to help you avoid it.

In non-flu-related news, Facebook has been showing some major Twitter envy this week. They opened up their “stream” API, which will hopefully lead to an assortment of useful tools including desktop widgets and personal feed management tools. But despite this new openness, the platform remains fundamentally closed, which means it will not offer any way to track emerging trends in the conversation data or search for what people are saying about your brand.

It’s a little disappointing that Facebook has only met the world halfway. There could be a lot of benefit to anonymous aggregated data. But should Facebook really be feeling the heat of competition. They’ve all but knocked MySpace out of the ballpark. And even though Twitter users are an attractive demographic60% of them quit within the first month.

Is Twitter the Facebook-killer or is it just the next Second Life?


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