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Apple Maps “Announces” New U.S. Business Listings Data Providers

November 19th, 2014

Just posted this on the Apple Maps Marketing blog, but it’s too big a deal to not put here as well:

At the launch of Apple Maps Connect, we submitted an inquiry about submitting a client with a few hundred locations to Apple Maps.  Today we received the following email:

“Thank you for your recent inquiry and interest in publishing your business locations via our new Business Portal. At this time, we are only accepting bulk submissions from businesses with at least 1,000 locations. In the meantime, you may want to research the service offerings provided by the following companies that currently provide us business listing information on behalf of their clients: (in alphabetical order):

DAC Group
Factual
Location3 Media
Marquette Group
Neustar/Localeze
Placeable
PositionTech
SIM Partners
SinglePlatform
UBL
Yelp
Yext
Yodle

Please note: Information about third party services is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Apple does not warrant or guarantee any particular result (including publication of your business in Apple Maps) or the accuracy or reliability of any services provided by any third parties referenced herein.”

While we already knew that Factual, Neustar/Localeze and Yelp were providing data, all of these other companies are new. This should be a huge windfall for them. Also what happened to Acxiom?

 

Comments OffTags: Apple Maps · Yelp · Yext.com · Yodle
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Local Directories May Survive Google’s New Local Knowledge Pack

November 18th, 2014

Last week, Google started to switch out its local Carousel results for a new set of mobilish-type pack results that appear to rely heavily on its local Knowledge Panels, so let’s call it a Knowledge Pack, or “K-Pack”, for the purposes of this post.

In his seminal post Some Thoughts On The New Pak Results From Google, Professor Blumenthal mused:

“I would love to hear what happens to web traffic for the directory type sites that seemed to be doing well when shown below the Carousel. Clearly this was prime space for TripAdvisor, Yelp etc and this can not have been good for their traffic. In unpublished user research that I did, a number of users would flat out ignore the carousel and move right to a branded website like TA or Yelp. I doubt that behavior persists with this display.”

What the Professor wants, the Professor gets.

While I don’t have access to either Yelp’s or Trip Advisor’s analytics, I do have access to some pretenders to the local throne. Here is the Google traffic to the “geo-category pages” (e.g. “Merkins in Olean, NY”) for a national local directory site focused on one of the verticals that is now displaying the K-Pack:

U.S. Local Entertainment Directory Site: Google Traffic
Total Google Traffic New K-Pack
Traffic was down about 6% on the 12th and has almost fully recovered.

I am not seeing these results in California much but I do get them often for New York searches so I looked at the traffic for these different regions and you can see that New York traffic has been somewhat more impacted.

U.S. Local Entertainment Directory Site: Google Traffic – New York Region
Kpack California Google Traffic
Traffic was down about 11% on the 12th, but recovered to being down only about 3% over the weekend.

U.S. Local Entertainment Directory Site: Google Traffic – California Region
Kpack New York Google Traffic
While traffic was down about 8% on the 12th, it quickly recovered on the 13th.

Of course this is just one site’s data over a few days, but this pattern is similar to Pigeon’s in that Google does not appear to be trying to royally screw local directories with a new local SERP. It has plenty of other ways to do that after all.

 

 

→ 3 CommentsTags: Google · Google+ Local · Local Data · Local Search · Yellow Pages
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Big Brands Beware

November 12th, 2014

There has been lots of discussion about why big brands seem to be performing worse in pack results post-pigeon. Originally it looked like this was a byproduct of how Google was processing brand queries combined with an abundance of local spam. However after seeing what has happened to some large, multi-location brands after they transitioned to the GMB Locations dashboard it looks like another piece of the puzzle could be related to this slow & clunky upgrade process.

Specifically, we have been seeing new GMB location pages created even though the brand already had an existing page for that location. To make matter worse, we are seeing the old page lose it’s verified status as it is moved over to the new page. While the verified status is getting moved to the new page, optimizations are not. This means there are now 2 location pages out there and the newly verified one that is getting returned in search results don’t have any post history, proper categories or relevant banner images.

For instance, this page used to be the claimed, verified and optimized page for Days Inn Chicago (notice the “Linked Website” checkmark), and after the migration to GMB Locations this is now the “Verified” page for that same location. And if you do a Google Search for “Days Inn Chicago“, the page linked to that Days Inn location is the new page.

Google Changing Location Pages in SERPs

Something that’s interesting to note, the new “verified” page has the sponsored “Make a Reservation” widget.

New Page Has Sponsored Booking Widget

While we aren’t seeing this for every location in migrated bulk accounts, this is still a huge nightmare for large, multi-location brands and is costing them SERP real estate. The money they have spent on Google local page optimizations is getting throw to the wayside during this migration. Maybe it’s time to start offering large brands dedicated GMB support…

→ 12 CommentsTags: Google My Business
Posted by Dan Leibson

I Speak At Conferences So Hire Me

November 7th, 2014

I speak at conferences

Sooner or later every SEO puts one of these on their site right?

From StreetFight Summit 2014. Fun show. Thanks to Laura Rich and David Hirschman for having me and to Rene Reinsberg of GoDaddy, Jonathan Czaja of Facebook and Brendan King, especially Brendan King, of Vendasta for putting up with me.

So hire me already. I must be some kind of expert about something.

 

Comments OffTags: Uncategorized
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Slow Google+ Upgrades + Pigeon = Bad Big Local Brand Rankings

November 5th, 2014

Last week I posted some theories on why Google’s Pigeon update may have hurt the local rankings for some big local brands. While we have seen a lot of positive rankings improvements for our local clients, we have also heard of some large multi-location brands that got hit with 5-10% traffic losses. My take was that the combination of overweighting of Google’s brand algorithm and the narrowing of the radius for many local queries could have pushed some of these big brands out of the local packs. Today James Robinson adds a new piece to the puzzle:

According to James:

“This came up in a call back we had with GMB support the other day. They were saying that big local brands have been slower to be upgraded to Google +, and there is a ranking benefit to being upgraded. So big brands (bulk managing their listings) are at a disadvantage based on that.”

Mike Blumenthal recently mentioned on his great Local U Forum that Google is upgrading the simplest cases first. This means that multi-location businesses that have a lot of complexity (e.g. multiple owners, lots of conflicting data, etc.) are going to be the last to be upgraded. Our advice to these businesses has been to sit tight. Those that try to delete their locations and start all over again, most likely increase the complexity and get sent to the back of the line.

So I suppose if in fact the upgrade does improve rankings, then they would be at a disadvantage and can’t do a thing about it. Now that’s some serious Pigeon crap.

→ 6 CommentsTags: Google · Google My Business · Google Pigeon Poop
Posted by Andrew Shotland