Professor Maps

Professor Maps

Wer nirgends ist, kann nicht gefunden werden: Local-Search-Experte Mike Blumenthal erklärt das Paralleluniversum Google Places

Local SEOs aufgepasst: Auf der SMX München 2012 begrüßen wir mit Mike Blumenthal den renommiertesten unabhängigen Experten für die lokale Suche. In seinem weithin beachteten Blog “Understanding Google Maps & Local Search“ bleibt keine Änderung von Google Maps und Google Places unbemerkt. Er bietet darauf zudem Taktiken, Tipps und Problemlösungen für alle Unternehmen, die darauf angewiesen sind, in den „gelben Seiten“ unserer Tage gut gefunden zu werden. In seine Tätigkeiten als Blogger, Sprecher und Local Search Consultant bringt Blumenthal mehr als 30 Jahre Erfahrung in der Welt von Computer und Internet ein. Darüber hinaus führt er ein eigenes Unternehmen für Webhosting und Webdesign im US-Staat New York. Warum jeder SEO sich auch um lokale Suchergebnisse kümmern sollte, lesen Sie in unserem Interview:

Mike, when you talk to search marketers, what’s the most common misunderstanding about Local Search?

Mike Blumenthal: Well there are many, but the one that comes to mind is that Local is now important in search. I have been working in local search since 2001 and its importance really hit home in 2005. Google released Google Local that year, and I was able to throw out the Yellow Page books that I needed to prospect in my regional and very rural market. I started my blog in 2006. More people have just begun to notice Local search, but it has a long and storied history. And it has been significant to many small and medium businesses along the way. 

Local-Search-Experte Mike Blumenthal erklärt das Paralleluniversum Google Places

Everybody’s talking about SoLoMo (Social, local, mobile). Nevertheless, it seems that the debate focuses on social and mobile marketing. The local aspect comes last in the debate. Do you agree?

It seems a silly debate then. It really is about what you and your clients do and need. I come from a bricks and mortar background and service mostly small businesses with a physical presence. They live and breathe local. For them, mobile is just one more way of reaching the customer that they have been catering to for years and years. It’s the same with social. And in many ways they are very similar to the tools that they have used along the way.

The part of mobile that interests me is the part about Local. Google has pushed their local data silo into a range of mobile products and they use roughly the same ranking rules as Google Places on the desktop: proximity, relevance and prominence. From where I sit, Local provides the lens through which all other elements are evaluated. If a particular technology, platform or activity help in the Local effort to find more clients then they are part of the mix, if they don’t or are too costly then they aren’t.

It isn’t about mobile versus local versus social. It’s about a small business trying to get the job done with a limited budget, limited knowledge, limited time and figuring which tools and tactics provide the best returns.

What’s the most important point to consider when you want to use Local Search for your marketing?

Google’s local technology has the effect of amplifying virtual signals that are proxies of your real world essence. In Google’s “parallel world” of Local they are trying to ascertain, in a virtual sense, how prominent a business is in the real world. The whole system is a proxy for on the street realites. 

So the most important thing is to be sure that you provide incredible customer service. It used to be said that one unhappy customer led to ten lost sales. Now even the smallest error, if it hits the review world, can make your customer service visible to hundreds and perhaps thousands of folks.

Secondly: just because you are prominent in the real world does not mean that you automatically are prominent in their world. Traditional local marketing strove to make sure that you were known in your community. But it is now necessary to be sure that you are known in both the offline and online worlds. Not much has changed.

You write in your blog, Linking to your Place Page would be useless “like linking to a web page on Venus”. So what’s the opportunity of local search for SEOs?

Google has developed incredibly rich and varied „alternative universe“ around Local where they have created a range of technologies and behaviors in local search that mirror but are not the same as the desktop. It’s imperative to understand the differences between the two and the underlying thinking that drives them. An example of this alternative reality is the Place Page which seems to be a document or a web object. In Google’s minds eye it is just an analog of the web search result. It is parallel to but not the same as a search result. At the end of the day there are many opportunities to help businesses, and thus there are opportunities for SEOs.

Have you been to Munich or Germany before? Any plans to steal away and look at some “real places”?

I have never been to Munich before. Truth be told, my current travel plans are to take my wife on an extended date and (if there is time) steal away for a moment or two to go to the SMX conference.

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