No. 489
August 15th, 2009

SMB’s, Local SEO’s Lose Their Best Friend at Google Maps

One of the more important news items of the Local Search Summit in San Jose will actually happen Friday in Mountain View.

It will be the last day at Google for Jen Chin, a.k.a. MapsGuideJen.  She’s leaving the smog and congestion of the South Bay for Graduate School in Environmental Management at a prestigious university on the East coast.

Through her appearances on Local Search panels at search conferences, in discussions in the Help Forums, and selected emails with those of us in the Local blogosphere, she’s been the most active (and I would say the most empathetic) Google employee with respect to the difficulties SMB’s and Local SEO’s face in the Local Business Center.

Quite frankly, a number of LBC frustrations could probably have been alleviated with more Jen Chins.  Many of the positive steps Google has taken in the last six months towards Local Business Center support and outreach were no doubt the result of her advocacy at Mountain View.

LBC Product Manager Ari Bezman seems to have been anointed Jen’s public-facing replacement as the point of contact between Maps Execs and the Local SEO community.  Although he has big shoes to fill, he got off to a great start at the LSS.

We’re sad to see you go, Jen, but best of luck with your new career!