Topic: Search

Reputation Search

Google’s New Local Search Results Reduced from 7 to 3 Listings 0

 

As one of our go-to resources for the latest SEO news, Search Engine Land reported, Google this week updated their search results so that three businesses display under local business listings for any search on Google.  Previously up to seven businesses along with their address and phone number were shown as part of a given search.

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An additional click is now also necessary both on mobile and desktop to get an individual business’ phone number as phone numbers do not currently display for the new Google 3-Pack.

How this May Affect Your Business

Businesses listed as the lower four of the previous 7-pack for any search are clearly affected as they no longer display on a completed search. For businesses with multiple locations, taking advantage of organic search tactics will be as important as ever. Setting up and monitoring your local profiles and most importantly, having your own review portal can be part of your plan. Contact ReviewPush today to get started.


Source: Review Push

Google Tests Chat for Businesses 0

You may have recently spotted a chat icon for a local business in your Google search results. This is an experimental feature that Google is currently testing, which provides a text-based form of contact between customers and businesses.

A live chat option is incorporated directly into search results for a local business, along with details like reviews and ratings, price level, address, and hours of operation. A link shows whether the business is currently available. If the business is available for chat, a Google Hangout launches with a click of the link. This is available on either desktop or mobile.

GoogleChat

The new experimental chat gives customers the ability to ask businesses questions in real time, such as the wait time for a table at a restaurant, or checking to see if a particular item is in stock at a retail store.

Check out this TechCrunch post to read more about Google’s test chat functionality.


Source: Review Push

Announcing Moz’s New Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing 0

Posted by Trevor-Klein

I’m thrilled to announce the next in Moz’s series of beginner’s guides:
The Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing.

Content marketing is a field full of challenges. Creating content that provides great value to your audience what we’ve come to call 10x content is difficult enough, but content marketers also regularly encounter skeptical employers and clients, diminutive budgets, and you guessed it a noted lack of time to get it all done. You’re not alone. You’re fighting the good fight, and we’re here to back you up. So is Carl.

Meet Carl, the Content Cat. He’ll show up in every chapter of the guide for a little levity and to remind you that you’re in good company.

There’s no denying the importance of content marketing. In its annual study of more than 5,000 marketers, the Content Marketing Institute showed that about 70% of all marketers, B2B and B2C, are creating more content than they did one year ago. Nearly half of B2C marketers have a dedicated content marketing group in their organizations. While this guide is written primarily for those who are relatively new to content marketing, we’d certainly recommend that more advanced marketers take a look through, as we often find veteran teams are missing some key fundamentals.

Say no more; show me the guide!

What you’ll learn

The guide has nine chapters, and we’ve organized them in the order we think folks should think about them when they’re approaching content marketing. Start with planning and goals, move through ideation and execution, then wrap up with analysis and revisions to the process.

1. What is content marketing? Is it right for my business?

Before we dive too deep into strategy and tactics, there’s something we need to clear up: What in the world is content marketing, anyway? Look it up in 10 different places, and you’ll get 10 different answers to m that question. In this chapter, we break it down and offer a look into whether or not it’s a worthwhile investment of your time (spoiler alert: It is).


2. Content strategy

Arguably the most important part of any content marketing effort, your content strategy is what keeps you aligned with your company’s goals, ensuring you’re putting your time and effort into areas that will help move needles and earn you the recognition you deserve. There’s more to it than meets the eye, though, and this chapter paints a holistic picture to get you started.


3. Content and the marketing funnel

Most folks who are new to content marketing assume that it belongs right at the top of the marketing funnel. We’d like to bust it out of that pigeonhole. The truth is that content belongs at every stage of the funnel, from brand awareness and early acquisition to retention of loyal customers. This chapter shows you which kinds of content typically work well for each major phase of the funnel.


4. Building a framework and a content team

There are some things you’ll need to figure out before you even start coming up with ideas for your content. What tools will you use to create it? What processes and standards will you put in place? Who will you work with, and how can you get them aligned with your goals? Setting the framework for your future success will save you from major headaches, and this chapter aims to make sure there’s nothing you’re overlooking.


5. Content ideation

We’ve all had it happen. We need to write something be it a blog post, a whitepaper, even an email and when we sit down to make it happen, nothing. No ideas come to mind. Coming up with ideas for content that really resonates is deceptively difficult, but there are many tricks that’ll help get the proverbial gears turning. We’ll go through those in this chapter.


6. Content creation

After all that planning, it’s finally time to dive in and do the hard work of actually creating your content. From getting the formatting right and working with design/UX teams to the most important cliche you can remember — to focus on quality, not quantity — this chapter will help you make the most effective use of your time.


7. Content promotion

You’ve done it. You’ve put together a wonderful piece of 10x content, and can’t wait to see the response. Only one thing stands in your way: Getting it in front of the right people. From working with industry influencers to syndication and social promotion, there are a great many ways to connect your content with your audiences; it’s just a matter of choosing the right ones. This chapter aims to point you down the right path.


8. Analysis and reporting

Nobody (seriously, nobody) is able to perfectly target their audiences. We make assumptions based on what we know (and can surmise) about the things readers will find valuable. The only way we can get better is by taking a look at how our past content performed. That’s easier said than done, though, and data can often be misleading. This chapter shows you the basics of measurement and reporting so you can get an accurate picture of how things are going.


9. Iteration, maintenance, and growth

Like all aspects of marketing, content should be iterative. You should take a close look at how your past work resonated with your audience, learn from what went right (and what went wrong), and revise your approach next time around. It also pays to revisit your processes from time to time; as your organization and your audience grow, the tactics that served you well at the beginning could well be holding you back now. This chapter explores how you can scale your content efforts without sacrificing the quality you’ve worked so hard to instill.


What are we waiting for? Let’s get started!

Thanks

The biggest thanks and the majority of the credit for this guide go to Isla McKetta. She was an immense help with early planning, and wrote the lion’s share of the guide. Derric Wise led the UX efforts, illustrating much of the guide and bringing Carl the Content Cat to life. Huge thanks also go to both Kevin Engle and Abe Schmidt for their fantastic illustrations. Thanks as well to Lisa Wildwood for her keen editing eyes, and to Ronell Smith and Christy Correll for their additional reviews. This guide never would have happened without all of you. =)

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Source: Moz

Facebook Launches New Places Directory 0

Facebook has launched a new directory that allows users to search through businesses and destinations in cities across the world. Facebook uses your friends’ check-ins and what’s happening in a specific location to help you discover the best places in town.

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Once you identify a specific city using Facebook Places, you will be taken to the main directory page where you are able to see popular places and the option to browse a list of cities from all over the world.

Facebook Places also allows you to browse through businesses and places by category (i.e. Restaurants, Hotels, or Bars). Each main category displays five businesses with average ratings. A sliding feature for each business shows recent reviews that you can easily browse through (with your friends’ reviews at the top).

The new Facebook Places directory received major visual improvements compared to the previous version. The new version also puts emphasis on user feedback by placing reviews and average ratings front and center.

Check out the link below to learn more about Facebook Places.

http://searchengineland.com/facebook-launches-new-places-directory-208105


Source: Review Push

Where Did Google+ Local Go? The Google Places API Change Made Simple 0

Posted by MiriamEllis

Earlier this month, I was standing on an 8,000’ pinnacle of the Sierra mountain range at the precise moment when winter arrived.

A few miles and minutes back down the highway, it had been golden fall with aspens, oaks, and big leaf maples in peak color. Then the sky darkened, showering hail. Right before my eyes, hail turned to snow, wildly whirling, salting the evergreens into obscurity.

Winter had come.

It’s a rare, exhilarating thing to witness patient Nature change in the blink of an eye, but returning to work from my time in the mountains, I met with another sudden change – one that took me by surprise, even if it shouldn’t have: the Google Places API had stopped delivering Google+ Local page URLs and was rendering Maps-based URLs, instead.

If, like me, you’re a Local SEO, you’ve learned what Google is like this in the space we call our work. Overnight, familiar packs change, crazy carousels appear, branding upends, functions disappear.

And you’re the one who has to explain all these shifts to your clients and co-workers.

I’m hoping this article will make it a bit easier for you to do so. With Google+ Local pages all but invisible to the public now, here’s how to describe the features you work with and the value of the work you do.

What’s the Google Places API? What happened to it?

Google describes this API as drawing from the same database as Google Maps and Google+, and it’s part of what powers tools like Moz Local and Michael Cottams’ Google+ My Business Page Finder. Plug in a query and the Places API previously returned direct links to the Google+ Local pages of millions of businesses. These URLs looked like:

https://plus.google.com/102761177822287678547/about

Now, the same queries return a Maps-based result instead, the URL of which looks like this:

https://www.google.com/maps?cid=7676087051067575200

While this in no way detracts from the usefulness of a tool like Moz Local, it does prove that Google is definitely, absolutely parting Plus from Maps and it means we Local SEOs have to walk a new talk. It just doesn’t work anymore to tell clients that they need a “Google+ Local page.”

This comes as no surprise if you’ve been following the ongoing industry discussion of the gradual removal of visible Google+ links from nearly every Google interface. Likely you’ve already started trying to use new terminology in talking to customers, but if you haven’t, the sudden sea change of the Places API URLs is a clear signal that it’s time to do so.

What do these changes look like?

In the recent past, you ­­were telling your clients that they needed a Google+ Local page, powered by their Google My Business dashboard, and looking something like this:

Because SERPs and tools are no longer returning Google+ Local pages, like the above, clients and users are unlikely to ever see these anymore and may not even know what they are. Instead, right now, they’ll mainly be seeing one of two different interfaces when searching for a local business.

Interface 1: The Local Finder Knowledge Panel

A typical local search — like “sporting goods store Denver” — will bring up a 3-pack like this, with a link at the bottom to click for more places:

If you click that link, you’ll be taken to what is commonly being termed the “Local Finder” view, with a list of businesses on the left and a map on the right. Click on one of the businesses in the list and you’ll get a Local Finder Knowledge Panel result on the right, like this:

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=sporting+goods+stores&rflfq=1&rlha=0&tbm=lcl&rlfi=hd

Interface 2: The Maps Knowledge Panel

Instead of going through the 3-pack, this is the interface I now see being reached via both branded searches and tools that use the Places API. It’s also the interface you’ll reach if your search starts in Google Maps instead of in the main search display. Let’s look up “Dick’s Sporting Goods Denver” (or set your location to Denver, provided that’s still working for you):

This brings up a branded result with a clickable teardrop icon (note, no link to Google+) on the left and a SERPs-based knowledge panel on the right. Click on the teardrop and you’ll get to the Maps-based knowledge panel:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Dick’s+Sporting+Goods/@39.593903,-104.9672887,17z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x6a86f080d7dbcba0

This interface contains the business name on a blue background, the rest of the NAP below, as well as additional information.

So, in sum, in addition to the now-familiar in-SERPs knowledge panel you get for many branded searches, you now have the Local Finder Knowledge Panel and the Maps-Based Knowledge Panel – at least, this is what I’m calling them, but you might think of something better! And, of course, the panels and packs may have special features for restaurants, hotels, car dealerships, and the like.

Making it as simple as possible for clients

The main thing to convey to clients is that all of these different displays have the majority of their origins in just one place: the Google My Business dashboard. That’s where they need to get their NAP right, add their photos, set themselves as SABs or brick-and-mortars, and all of that other stuff you’ve been doing for years. If the client can get it right there, this data will feed all of the various interfaces.

Signals of claiming?

It used to be easy to tell, at a glance, whether a business listing was claimed or not. The checkmark shield would appear next to the business name on the Google+ Local page. Unless I’m somehow missing it, I am not seeing a checkmark shield on any of the newer interfaces. However, I did come across something in the Maps-Based Knowledge Panel that may be of assistance. There appears to be a “Claim this business” link on some of the panels I’ve seen in the past couple of weeks, and my guess is that this is now our indication that the business hasn’t yet been claimed.

Still want to see a Google+ Local page?

Okay, even if no one else is still seeing these, maybe you’re feeling a bit nostalgic and just want to take a look at a good ‘ol Google+ Local page. Here’s how to do it:

1. Sign into your Google account.

2. Perform a main engine search structured with quotes like this:

“site:plus.google.com” “dicks sporting goods store” “denver” “about”

That will get you to this:

https://plus.google.com/102761177822287678547/about

There could be reasons you’d want to do this. Those of you who specialize in duplicate listing detection may already be figuring out how to use these commands to be able to continue surfacing those pesky duplicates — but let’s keep that for another post, written by someone more wizardly than me in that department.

Head hurting over all these changes?

Yeah, I know. I find it helps to take a short hike – maybe up in the mountains nearest you. In the meantime, it can help to remember that, as the Local SEO in your agency, you bring your greatest gifts to both team and clients in being the one who’s on top of all of these shifts. Mike Blumenthal puts it this way:

“Google’s rate of change is so many times greater than the rate of adoption that no SMB has a clue what they should [be doing] with Google these days.”

Whether this bodes well for Google’s ultimate future, I won’t comment, but I do know it ensures that Local SEOs will have a vital seat at any marketing agency table for some time to come. So, put on those snow chains and keep churning up this road. Your dedication to research and study will continue to fuel your greatest value.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Source: Moz