No. 515
September 30th, 2009

Links of Local Interest, Volume 9B

“Doing the Mowing” by LeonRW

A continuation of some of the most important stories in the Local Search world from August and September.

Best Practices for Business Titles on Google Maps

Earlier this month, Tom Crandall of SEM ReportCard exposed NetworkSolutions’ spammy SEO recommendation to stuff keywords willy-nilly into one’s Google Maps business title.  While I’ve always advocated using a descriptor in your official DBA (i.e. instead of “DDS” or “MD” use “Dentist” or “Surgeon”), keyword stuffing to that degree is completely absurd for anyone, let alone a company with NetSol’s reach, to be recommending.

Recall that earlier this Spring Maps Guide Joel weighed in with Google’s official policy on Business titles — keep in mind that registering a completely spammy DBA isn’t a good idea either.  Keep searchers in mind when you think about your business title…if it looks spammy to them, it’s going to get reported eventually, given the wiki mentality to Maps that Google continues to pursue.

An Impressive New Local Portal

Greg Sterling reported on Yext after seeing a presentation at the TechCrunch 50 a couple of weeks ago.

I love their interface and relative transparency of their Pay-Per-Call business model…but because of the limited number of verticals they’re currently targeting (also a smart strategy, in my opinion), at present, it looks like more of a competitor to Angie’s List than any of the major players.

Speaking of Angie’s List, I’m seeing a lot more of their TV ads these days.  And Peter Krasilovsky recently reported that Angie is making a concerted effort to boot un-credentialed contractors from their index.

It would be nice to see some sort of system like this take place on Google Maps but I’m not sure Google is ready to invest in the human interaction that kind of system would necessarily entail.  But perhaps they’ll do something like award major bonus points in the algorithm to contractors in relevant categories who remain listed on Angie’s List after the purge.

Matt McGee on the “New” Bing Local Update Process

MSN Live used to have hands-down the worst claiming procedure (only by mail, via a poorly-Xeroxed, overly-wordy missive with a long key that had to be entered into an even longer URL one character at a time).

And while their messaging remains a little confusing even for an experienced marketer like Matt (there’s a delay after a business owner verifies her listing before any changes go live), the process for updating a Bing Local listing is light-years better.

(Matt also authored this humorous post this month on the need for reputation management even by Local Search Engines and service providers.)

Learn about Local Search at SMX East

I’ll be speaking about “Local Search Ranking Tactics” at SMX East, on what is probably the most intimidating panel of Local Searcharati every assembled. Joining me on-stage will be Mike Blumenthal, Mary Bowling, Andrew Shotland, and Will Scott; we’ll be moderated by Greg Sterling.

The conference takes place at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan next Monday – Wednesday and I’m told there are “still good seats available” if you’d like to sign up. 🙂

Learn about Local Search at Bend WebCam

Mark Knowles and his team have done an amazing job at recruiting top speakers from all over the country, including Chris Winfield of 10e20 and Marshall Simmonds of Define Search Strategies / The New York Times.  This presentation will be geared towards a beginner-to-intermediate audience, and I’ve got a bit longer to present (about an hour!).