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MIHMORANDUM
No. 682
September 27th, 2010


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“Putting” Google’s Citation Algo to the Test

It’s nearly unheard of that my two passions in life (golf and Local Search) intersect…but after Jim Furyk won $10 Million in the convoluted PGA Tour FedEx Cup yesterday (golf’s version of the Superbowl), that’s exactly what happened.

Furyk’s been a good, but not great, putter on Tour this year.  Despite being a Top-10 ranked player in the world the entire season, he only ranked 52nd in the putts-per-green category–and as any golfer will tell you, the name of the game is “Drive for Show, Putt for Dough.”  In Furyk’s case, that’s “Putt for a LOT of Dough.”

(Jim Furyk's mediocre putting statistics according to GolfChannel.com)

So a few weeks back, before the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston, he visited a local golf discount store — Joe and Leigh’s Discount Golf in South Easton, Mass.  He found a $39 putter in the used bin (most Tour-level players use putters that range from $200 – $1000 each) and put it into play the next day.  Evidently he was “super nice” and earned at least three new fans in the shop, as the good folks at Joe and Leigh’s proudly display on their website. Furyk, evidently, found the Joe and Leigh’s staff to be “super nice” as well, as he gave them a plug in his post-round interview when asked about how the dinged up flatstick found its way into his bag.

Sadly, it does not appear that he has given them a review at Google Places (or anywhere else Google is spidering) yet.  Which is a shame because if a PGA Tour pro stops into a small business, let alone buys something, I’m not sure what better endorsement a business owner could receive.  Clearly this would be one “power review” that Google would want to reward!

But, Joe and Leigh got a pretty nice consolation prize.  Furyk’s mention of their business led to 2,753 Google News results for their name and location this morning.  Now, probably not every single one of those “related articles” mention them by name, but there are all kinds of authoritative places like Boston.com (probably the best citation a New England business could get!) and GolfChannel.com (ditto for a golf shop) that DO mention their business name and city explicitly.

Now, to be clear, these mentions may not show up as structured citations on Joe and Leigh’s Place Page, since only the business name and city are mentioned, without an address, phone number, or even a link.  But if Google’s Local sentiment analysis component is as smart as we all think it is, I would hope that Joe and Leigh start to rank in the 7-pack for the phrase “used golf clubs Boston” (they’re currently at #4 in Google Maps) pretty damn soon.

I’ll be tracking their rankings and citations casually over the next few months & we’ll see if this bit of fortune has the impact that it should.

Major kudos go to Joe and Leigh’s, not only for their great customer service but also for their ability to capitalize on Furyk’s visit — both on their website and on Twitter.  They’ve also taken the initiative to claim their Google and Yahoo listings (yay!) –with terrific custom categories — but it looks like they might still have some work left at the other search engines.

More information:

Joe and Leigh’s Discount Golf Pro Shop
68 Prospect Street
South Easton, MA
02375-1575
(508) 238-2320