No. 224
April 10th, 2009

Links of Local Interest, Volume 5

Trafalgar Square by Yours Truly

If you missed this announcement, you’re either reading my blog for some reason BESIDES Local Search or you’ve been in a coma for the last two weeks: Google is now showing 10-packs on short-tail non-geo-targeted phrases.  Local is bigger than ever, baby!  And Danny Sullivan’s prediction from his 2008 SMX Keynote that we’d eventually see an entire page of Local results for searches where Google can gauge intent seems to be coming closer to fruition.   Big box retailers and IYP-type portals are going to begin to wonder where all their traffic went…

…In other news, my hourly consulting rates just doubled. 

Local search is a safe haven against the Google “Brand” update – Andrew Shotland’s brilliant analysis of what Google’s Feburary update (which many SEO’s believe is skewed to favor large, trusted brands) means for small businesses.  Essentially, in my view, it boils down to getting your business information out there as consistently as possible on as many portals as possible, link or no link.  The “Brand” update could be great news for SMB’s (particularly when combined with the announcement above).

Lots of chatter around Locksmith Mapspam last month.  

Locksmith spam in New York is so bad that it has even taken over well-known, venerable institutions like the Morgan Library and the Plaza Hotel.

First was this guest post on Mike Blumenthal’s blog by Rob Reynolds of Pop-a-Lock in which he proposes, among other things, postcard-only LBC verification for the high-spam locksmith industry, as well as mandatory DBA certificate validation.  

David Westbrook of Dew Point Productions (right here in Portland!) followed up with this post in which he asks the sensible question: why not just ban the offending domains from appearing in Google Maps, system-wide?

Even the Messianic aura of Barack Obama cannot protect the White House from being Mapjacked by locksmiths. (please note the date of that post!)

On a more serious note, MapsGuideJoel offered some valuable advice — in the event of duplicate or incorrect LBC listings, it’s in your best interest to claim ALL of them in your LBC account.   If the impressions/views of both listings are equal within your LBC account, leave the situation as is–Google has successfully combined them within Maps.  If they differ, you’ll want to suspend the listing with the fewest impressions. (Mike, did I get that right?)

And without any segue, but just because it was such a great post, Matt McGee answered a reader’s question about how he does Local Keyword Research a couple weeks back. Not surprisingly, my Local Keyword Research process looks almost identical but it’s nice to see validation of that process from one of the true experts in the field.  I find that the “pretend you’re in a larger city” usually works pretty well…although the absolute best KW research comes from a PPC campaign and analytics 🙂  I’m skeptical of any non-Google Keyword Tool for Local data, though.

And if you think there aren’t enough links here, stay tuned…something tells me there will be two more Links of Local Interest published later this week…