Archive for the ‘Google Maps’ Category

Google Local Search Results Lotto

September 30, 2009

Mike Blumenthal recently reported several instances of Google delivering authoritative OneBox results for general search phrases.

His “Big Boobs Bounce Back to Top of Google Maps” details how aggressive optimization has been used to produce multiple listing results for the same business yet under different but related general keyword phrases.

As Blumenthal points out. the new spammy results probably weren’t the type Google had intended to produce when they instituted changes to their local search results recently.

Whether Google’s local search results tweak was intended to produce the results it has or not, their changes have introduced a variety of new and different results types for local searches across several different business categories.

Businesses who have received an authoritative Onebox as a result of these recent Google changes might feel they have won something akin to the Google Local Search Lotto.

For those businesses on the other side of an authoritative Onebox result and the now non-existent “more results near” link who have seen their local search presence and traffic disappear the feeling most certainly isn’t mutual.

I came across one such category – luxury apartments – where Google’s new local search results are uneven at best.

Searching for luxury apartments in New York – surely the largest luxury apartment market in America – produces an authoritative OneBox result for a single property.

Luxury Apartments New York

Luxury Apartments New York

The same search in Boston for luxury apartments also produces a single authoritative OneBox result.

In both these examples, the most disconcerting aspect of their OneBox result is that Google has also removed the “more results near…” link to additional listings which are otherwise offered in location specific general category searches.

Luxury Apartments Boston

Luxury Apartments Boston

The same category search for luxury apartments in San Francisco produces not an authoritative Onebox result for a single luxury apartment building but three luxury apartment listings.

Luxury Apartmetns San Francisco

Luxury Apartmetns San Francisco

Same search phrase, different city, different number of results.

Why just one result in New York and Boston, but three in San Francisco?

To complicate matters further, the same search for luxury apartments in Dallas produces a list of ten results.

Luxury Apartments Dallas

Luxury Apartments Dallas

In both the San Francisco and Dallas examples, Google provides links to additional results while in the New York and Boston examples Google doesn’t.

Why do some market category search results produce clear Google Local Search winners while other markets do not?

Have the odds of a finding a business under its respective category in a location specific Google web search grown as long and as remote as winning the lotto?

Or has the presence of authoritative Onebox search results created a new class of local business winners and losers?

Google Adwords Service Ads with Icons

September 28, 2009

Today I noticed for the first time on Google Maps ads with service icons embedded in the sponsored links results.

Google Maps Adwords Services Images

Google Maps Adwords Services Images

It looks like these types of ads fall under the purview of Google Advertising policies for ads with ad extensions.

Searching within Adwords help, I found the following explanation on how to add an icon to a location extension.

Icon Location Extensions in Google Maps

Icon Location Extensions in Google Maps

I then found more information about Google’s requirements for uploading Business Images or Icons:

Google Adwords Business Image or Icon

Google Adwords Business Image or Icon

I have yet to try this out for myself or any of my clients but will give it a try when and where it becomes appropriate.

I wonder what percentage of Google’s 1+ million advertisers will ultimately embrace and adopt business image or icon use within their Google advertising campaigns?

Twitter Local Trending Topics and Google Maps

August 30, 2009

Happn.in is a Twitter tool that shows what people are tweeting about locally in 80 cities around the world.

Local Twitter Trends by Market

Local Twitter Trends by Market

Drilling down into each city produces a list of several hundred to several thousand Twitter account holders who have self identified their locations in their Twitter accounts.

Visitors to Happn.in can click through to each list to scan for potential Twitter accounts to follow or broadcast their message to everyone in a particular market via their Talk to Your City feature.

Talk To Your City

Talk To Your City

Rakshith Krishnappa has also created a local Twitter trends map for Happn.in using their API and Google Maps.

Local Twitter Trends

Local Twitter Trends

Want to find out what Twitter users are saying in any particular market?

Just click on the push pin and the top 10 subjects being Tweeted are displayed inline on Google Maps.

Local Twitter Trends by City

Local Twitter Trends by City

Pretty cool.

Finding A Business With Google Street View

August 29, 2009

The Google Maps team has made several improvements to Google’s Street View product.

By clicking the “Street View” link in the info bubble of any search result the business pin and info bubble also appear.

After viewing a result, you can search from within the info bubble for another business without exiting “Street View” as well as see how far you are from other search results.

Being able to continue to search from within “Street View” reduces the amount of keystrokes required to get information while making Google Maps data more interactive and useful.

Google Maps Spam Innovation?

August 26, 2009

Today I was searching for a local french drain systems specialist to get a quote to install a drainage system in my backyard to handle the inordinate amounts of rain we have been having lately.

It seems like we have been having more than our fair share of 50 and 100 year downpours this summer.

On top of these once in a lifetime downpours we also had a reported 1 1/2 inches of rain fall in less than 30 minutes at the beginning of August when its typically dry as a bone.

Combined the two types of rain have created problems I didn’t have before because I haven’t owned my house for 50 years nor was was it built 100 years ago.

To save the time and hassle of cracking open one of the five yellow pages directories I receive annually, I thought I would see what information Google’s search results would provide.

To get straight to their local search results more quickly, I searched Google for “Oklahoma French Drain Systems”.

Google Maps Spam Innovation

Google Maps Spam Innovation

As expected, Google quickly delivered a set of three local business listings I could look over and then consider clicking or calling.

Nothing new there.

Since the top two listings shared the same great relevant domain – FrenchDrainSystems.com – I excitedly clicked through thinking I would soon be viewing the website of a great French Drain Systems company who could then help me solve my drainage problem.

Nope.

Clicking through to both of the top two results landed me on the same parked page.

FrenchDrainSystems.com

FrenchDrainSystems.com

Having seen a variety of spoofs occur on Google Maps particularly within the user content sections of business listings, I assumed this was the case here too.

Nope.

Looks like a local company – although not one in the French Drain Systems business – owns FrenchDrainSystems.com.

Apparently, they claimed their listing with either a previous website and then elected to display the parked page or the claimed their listing while using a parked page.

Either way, whether this was an innocent attempt at claiming some local search real estate with a parked domain or not, I don’t think the search results are what Google Maps had intended for its users to find.

Google Maps Search Results

August 14, 2009

I have noticed in my Google Local Business Center stats, my primary marketing site MarketngPrinciples.com receives a lot of generic search queries from across the US each month.

After seeing some of the keyword phrases my site is placing for in Google Maps, I decided to to try and replicate the same search results from different parts of the US while on a summer road trip.

I cleared my cookies and ran the searches from a classic Google home page without logging into my Google account.

To verify the authenticity of the Google Maps search results my Local Business Center stats showed my site recieving, I also ran the same keyword search queries from my son’s laptop.

Somewhat surprisingly, my business “Advanced Marketing Consultants” places first for more than a handful of what would otherwise be considered valuable search queries.

Results like the number one result out of 287,034 for “marketing consultants” below also explain why my Google Local Business Center analytics report at least once a month fielding driving direction searches from locations as far away as one hundred miles from my office location.

Google Maps Search

Google Maps Search

US Highway Construction Updates on Google Maps

August 12, 2009

If you came here looking for US Highway construction updates on Google Maps, I don’t think that particular mashup has yet been created.

I am traveling from Lake le Homme Dieu, MN to Chicago, IL by car today and searched for an up to date map – ideally on Google Maps – of the construction zones I will encounter along the way.

Lake le Homme Dieu to Chicago Road Map

Lake le Homme Dieu to Chicago Road Map

The US Department of Transportation has a National Traffic and Road Closure site that links to each individual states traffic information sites.

National Traffic and Road Closure Information

National Traffic and Road Closure Information

However, each respective state and local road construction updates data hasn’t yet been mashed up into a real time Google US Highway Construction Updates Map.

There is probably a business model in this idea.

Google Maps Search Results and Local Business Center Analytics

July 25, 2009

Drilling deeper into my Google Local Business Center account analytics has produced some unexpected findings.

Long before there was a Google Local Business Center, I became convinced of the importance of having my website appear consistently atop Google search results for heavily searched keywords.

So much so that I spent several years running my first major website: MarketingPrinciples.com as a test site for what worked and what didn’t within Google.

After testing confirmed a particular strategy or tactic, I would then apply it within the site or a client’s site.

Although MarketingPrinciples.com isn’t the traffic generation machine it once was  – with over 500,000 visitors annually – it still generates some interesting results from my original programming.

Most notably – MarketingPrinciples – according to my Google Local Business Center analytics appears first for “google search” in Google Maps queries  – above Google’s office locations.

Google Maps Google Search

Google Maps Google Search

Granted, the search query isn’t exactly a barn burner for producing clients for my marketing consulting practice.

However as a result of my early research and trials, my site and brand are receiving approximately 50,000 impressions from across the United States annually.

Google Local Business Center Analytics

Google Local Business Center Analytics

I think the results are acceptable for a guy and his laptop.

An aside: I searched for “google search” in Google Maps from several different computers with different IP addresses and got the same results.

What does your Google Maps search for “google search” produce?

Newspaper Circulation Data in the Top 200 US Markets on Google Maps

July 16, 2009

Mediaspace Solutions has created a useful Google Maps mashup combining circulation and traffic data for newspapers in the top 200 US markets.

Top 200 DMAs

Top 200 DMAs

The Mediaspace Google Maps mashups provides each newspaper’s category, DMA, Circulation, Sunday Circulation, Days Published, Website address, Sites unique visitors, Daily visitors and Page views.

Newspaper Circulation by DMA

Newspaper Circulation by DMA

The Mediaspace Solutions top 200 DMA tool is great for researching and visualizing the top 200 US newspaper markets.

Search Real Estate Listings on Google Maps

July 6, 2009

Matt McGee @Search Engine Land reports Google Maps has added searchable real estate listings.

To search Google Maps for real estate listings in your area, enter your location in the search box and click show search options. The drop down tool box will show Locations, Businesses, User-created content, Related Maps, Mapped web pages and lastly – Real Estate.

Google Maps Real Estate Listings

Google Maps Real Estate Listings

Clicking the “Real Estate” tab will then produce a search results map with all the real estate listings Google has available for that particular location.

Google Maps Real Estate Listings Search

Google Maps Real Estate Listings Search

This new Google Maps feature lets visitors search and parse real estate listing data by Non-Foreclosure / Foreclosure, the number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms and by square footage range.

Driving directions can be generated for a specific real estate listing by clicking its respective push pin.

Google Real Estate Listing Data

Google Real Estate Listing Data

As McGee notes, listing data can then be sent to an email address, phone, GPS device or car.

Only two car manufacturers are supported – BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

As an owner of a S550 Mercedes-Benz, I decided to investigate whether or not I could send Google Real Estate listing data to my car or not…

Turns out I couldn’t.

Sending Google data to a Mercedes-Benz requires a Tele-Aid account which I elected not to renew after my first year subscription expired.

If I were a real estate agent, I would consider renewing my Tele-Aid account to show perpective home buyers the Google Maps Real Estate Listing data while driving through neighborhoods showing them the homes listed for sale.