No. 1557
August 12th, 2012

10 Questions from Distilled SearchLove

As you’ll see in a future post this week, I’ll be speaking at two Distilled events this coming fall–SearchLove London and SearchLove Boston.  As a unique part of their “initiation process,” they had a pretty extensive questionnaire.  Given how sparse my posting has been this summer & the fact that there aren’t any tremendous secrets in the text below that I’d want to withhold for only their attendees, I figured I would turn it into a blog post:

  1. What is your biggest life accomplishment? 
    Jeez. Tough question. Honestly, I don’t feel like I have a single ‘biggest life accomplishment’ yet.  I am incredibly proud about what we’ve been able to build with GetListed but my professional life isn’t the be-all, end-all of who I am.  I guess, honestly, it would be building enough of a career that I have been able to move to Portland and travel to a ton of places around the world that I’ve always wanted to visit.
  2. If you weren’t working in marketing – what would you be doing? 
    Most likely, doing something in the golf industry, or an outside chance of getting involved in politics.  Not as a politician but more likely at a thinktank or non-profit where I could help brainstorm common-sense middle-of-the-road policies that our idiot Congress would have no choice but to pass once they got out into the public consciousness.
  3. What is the last book you read? 
    The Darwin Economy – a FASCINATING proposal from economist/historian Robert Frank about transitioning away from an income tax to a progressive consumption tax. A quick and thought-provoking read, if you are into that kind of thing.
  4. What would be the first thing you would do if you ran Google? 
    Start charging for Google Plus Business Center and hire Mike Blumenthal to be the Matt Cutts of Local with (at least some of the) the annual revenues.  Google’s Local product might be the most complex of any of their offerings both from a technology and a customer service perspective, so I can understand the difficulty of this task.  While not perfect, they made amazing strides with Vanessa Schneider in the public and private forums over the course of the last 12-18 months, but her departure has left a huge void for both search marketers and business owners.  Google has needed a public-facing presence with authority to speak to what’s going on in Local since Day One and it’s mind-boggling that haven’t hired Mike to be that person yet.
  5. Favourite blogs?
    Screenwerk – Greg Sterling
    Understanding Google Maps & Local Search – Mike Blumenthal
    Small Business SEM – Matt McGee
    NGS Marketing – Nyagoslav Zhekov
    Local Visibility System – Phil Rozek
    SEOmoz Blog – Group
  6. Favourite search marketing tool?
    Google Mapmaker – I’ve found Mapmaker to be singularly helpful in cleaning up poor NAP and category information associated with clients’ Places.
  7. Hottest search topic at the moment?
    Google Plus vs. Google Places — when is the full integration for business owners finally going to arrive?
  8. What’s the one service you find extremely useful that most people don’t know about?
    Arjan Snaterse’s GeoSitemap & KML File Generator.  Although Google discontinued its support of the geositemap format several months ago, KML files can still be referenced in your normal XML sitemap, and for large businesses with hundreds or thousands of locations, this file can help you create an authoritative reference for the true physical identities of those locations.
  9. How are you integrating Google+ within your link building strategy?
    From a link building standpoint, not at all.  But the review “game” on Google Plus holds some fascinating possibilities in terms of segmenting customers by type, date of visit, business-owner networking (vs. B2C networking), and more.  And with the new Zagat rating system (although we’ll see if it’s still in place by the time of the Distilled conferences in the fall), a threshold of 10 Google Plus reviews seems to hold considerably more weight than the previous 5-review, 5-star system.
  10. Would you rather have 1 link or 100 tweets?
    Totally depends on the type of business.  If I’m an average small business owner with a brick-and-mortar presence, the long-term benefit of 1 decent link to that business’s search rankings far exceeds any temporary bump from social media, without a doubt.  Now, if I’m a search marketer & I am looking for additional exposure on a blog post I’ve written, or something like that, then Twitter would definitely be more powerful in terms of gaining mind share.