We’ve seen a lot of new information regarding local search over the last six weeks or so. Here’s the latest roundup of information you can use:
Google Now: Users can now get cards on their laptops and desktops (not just their mobile device) when using Chrome. The information is based on the location of the associated mobile device, but most people keep their smartphones handy, so that shouldn’t cause any problems.
Yahoo Local reviews replaced by Yelp reviews: Yahoo has finally tossed out its old review system — and all the reviews that went with it. That’s pretty rough if your business had lots of great review on Yahoo, because they’re history now.
However, if you have great Yelp reviews as well, you should be doing just fine. This change actually makes your Yelp reviews substantially more important.
If Google emails you, act fast: Some businesses have received emails from Google warning that they’re violating guidelines for business listings on Google Places. If you receive this email, act right away.
Follow the instructions in the email, reply to it or call Google’s Places support team. If you’re unsure what to do speak to your RRM professional.
The mobile takeover keeps rolling: Web traffic from mobile devices leaped 50 percent over the past year. One-quarter of all Internet usage now comes from mobile devices.
This is why we keep pointing out the need to focus on mobile: That’s where everything’s headed, and it’s headed there fast.
LinkedIn hits 300M mark: The popular business networking platform announced it has 300 million users, 100 million from the United States. Also, 50 percent of its worldwide traffic comes from mobile users. Professionals are huge smartphone users, so if that’s part of your target customer base, be sure your site is top-notch.
LocalVox study advocates improvement: Quite a few major retailers have major work to do in their local search marketing, according to a recent study by LocalVox. Over half of them haven’t even started on the basics, such as data cleansing and submitting listings to Google.
The study estimates that retailers who lag behind could increase revenues by 10-15 percent within a year by integrating local search principles into their marketing processes. (If you’re not sure where to start, just let us know at RRM.)
Goodbye Zagat: Google is removing any reviews labeled as being from “A Zagat User.” If even just a small portion of your company’s reviews have that designation, it could affect your overall rating and change the number of stars that show with your listing.
It also could affect whether your stars even show up. Review how many Zagat user ratings you have and see if anything needs done.
Google+ on the ropes? The industry has been buzzing with chatter about the possibility of Google+ (aka Google Plus, the company’s social media aspect) facing its possible demise. For all its success in other areas, Google has never gotten social media figured out.
Plus adoption has been poor, particularly when compared to dominant platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Its longtime leader, Vic Gundotra, abruptly quit in April, and rumors abound that more than 1,000 Plus workers were being shifted to other roles in the company. We’ll have to keep an eye on how this shakes out.
Bing verification: Bing reportedly is now letting you verify your business on its platform by asking you questions only the business owner would know the answers to. Bing’s getting this information from Dun & Bradstreet and using it to simplify the process of claiming and verifying local business listings.
Search study findings: Comscore’s 2014 Local Search Study indicates that searchers believe they can find more complete information about local businesses — and can find it more quickly and easily — on a desktop computer than a smartphone or tablet.
The survey also states that conversion rates are about 17 percent higher from smartphone searches than
from PC searches and that about 80 percent of smartphone searches result in a purchase.
Yelp Reservations: Restaurants gain a free reservation system thanks to Yelp Reservations, which also includes a widget for eatery websites. While not as robust as SeatMe and Open Table, this is a solid tool for small establishments and is available to businesses in both the restaurant and nightlife categories in the United States, UK, Ireland and Canada.
Quick notes: Restaurants can now upload PDF menus to their Facebook Pages… Yelp Elite reviewers soon will be able to post short video reviews to business’s pages… Foursquare announced an overhaul of its main app and added features to its Swarm app.