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Convert Offline http://www.convertoffline.com SEM Help For Local Service Businesses Mon, 07 Oct 2013 22:08:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 Google Maps Training By Mike Blumenthal – A Review http://www.convertoffline.com/google-maps-training-by-mike-blumenthal-a-review/ http://www.convertoffline.com/google-maps-training-by-mike-blumenthal-a-review/#comments Fri, 27 Apr 2012 13:30:53 +0000 http://www.convertoffline.com/?p=667 As you already know, working in search marketing, change happens at light speed (byte speed for the punster) and continuing education and training is critical.

When it came time to redefine our local seo procedure for all the recent changes, I wanted to create it with all known information available. Good luck, right? [...]]]> Mike Blumenthal As you already know, working in search marketing, change happens at light speed (byte speed for the punster) and continuing education and training is critical.

When it came time to redefine our local seo procedure for all the recent changes, I wanted to create it with all known information available. Good luck, right?

Since, I am an avid reader of Understanding Google Maps, I decided to take a chance and see if its author, Mike Blumenthal, would be interested in providing training.

As it turned out he was and so we negotiated a price. Which went something like him telling me his rate is $300/hour and me saying ok.

The training was done as a series of 5 1-hour conference calls with Mike sharing his screen. The first 4 calls were done in a classic instructor-student format and the fifth call was Q & A.

Mike asked us questions to make sure the manner in which he presented the information was suitable for everyone in the ‘class’. He did a nice job with this and was quite patient, our student body consisted of a small business owner, advanced local seos, and a yellow pages rep. In the end, the information was presented at a level suitable for the advanced search marketer, which was appropriate.

The topics were organized in a way that made sense. First, he covered Theory and data sources. The second session was competitive analysis, and setting client expectations. The third session covered best practices for ranking in Google Maps. The fourth session covered what to do when there is a problem with a listing, a client moves or a ranking disappears or drops. The last session, as I said was Q & A, for which we prepared dozens of complex questions. He answered each one casually, often bringing up examples online. (I was thinking about posting the questions we asked in a sort of ‘Are you smarter than Mike Blumenthal about Google Maps? format but you wouldn’t want to play that game for keeps).

Mike has an astounding knowledge of Google Maps and it seems like he genuinely enjoys talking about the subject. That combination creates an interesting and comfortable learning environment.

In the end, I would have to say, I won the negotiation. :) Seriously though, I felt fortunate that I was able to provide my team with such good training and I would recommend Mike’s training to anyone who wanted to learn more about local search.

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Google Adwords Contact Form Extension Now Autofilled? Wow! http://www.convertoffline.com/google-adwords-contact-form-extension-now-autofilled-wow/ http://www.convertoffline.com/google-adwords-contact-form-extension-now-autofilled-wow/#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2012 16:35:34 +0000 http://www.convertoffline.com/?p=637 There have obviously some been some changes to Adwords contact form extensions since PPC Hero first wrote about them almost 2 years ago.

For the first time, I saw one in the wild that autofilled my email address. I am surprised that google would take this step given the [...]]]>

Google Adwords Contact Form Extension with Autofill

Email address is autofilled

There have obviously some been some changes to Adwords contact form extensions since PPC Hero first wrote about them almost 2 years ago.

For the first time, I saw one in the wild that autofilled my email address. I am surprised that google would take this step given the climate for increased privacy. Based on the privacy link (I hovered to get the screenshot) and the appeal for me to read their new privacy policy in the top right, we can infer that Google is aware that people might react badly to this. The defense to this would likely be the cloak of transparency combined with the fact that I probably gave them permission. My default answer to Google’s privacy questions is yes, often without reading. Like a teenager in the backseat of a car, just trying to see to see how far they’ll go.

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There’s A Yellow Pages In My Facebook… And Yours http://www.convertoffline.com/theres-a-yellow-pages-in-my-facebook-and-yours/ http://www.convertoffline.com/theres-a-yellow-pages-in-my-facebook-and-yours/#comments Mon, 19 Dec 2011 13:22:33 +0000 http://www.convertoffline.com/?p=616 For the second time in my life, I found something in a Google search result that made me sure my professional life was about to change forever. The first was almost a decade ago when a simple search revealed the listings of 3 local businesses at the top of the results. I was a [...]]]> For the second time in my life, I found something in a Google search result that made me sure my professional life was about to change forever. The first was almost a decade ago when a simple search revealed the listings of 3 local businesses at the top of the results. I was a sales manager in the yellow page industry at the time. I knew instantly, these results foreshadowed the demise of the industry from which I was earning a living. That day I started preparing for the career I enjoy today.
2 days ago I had a similar experience. The writing was, quite literally, on the Wall. My Wall and yours. Let’s start with a screenshot of the search result in Google: >

Google search result with Facebook link
When I initially came across the result pictured above, I didn’t think much of it, Facebook pages often show up in search results. The thing that made me curious was the familiar way with which the title and url structure appeared to be optimized for search. ‘Click’ oh my… Here’s what I found:

Facebook Category Page
The screenshot above reveals a facebook category/town page. This is clearly yellow-pages-centric. 4 business listings organized by geography and buiness type, that’s the yellow page recipe. Clicking on any of these listings brings you to an unclaimed facebook page. Here’s the screenshot when I click on the first one:
facebook place page
It’s like the love child of a Google Place page and a Facebook business info page- Placebook :) (Interestingly, a whois look-up for placebook.com reveals the owner of the domain as E-bay).

To navigate to your facebook yellow pages, go to your Wall and click on the link to your hometown in the top right. If you can’t find the link, update the hometown field in your facebook settings. After you click the link, you’ll notice the business listings and a box from which you can change the business category.

There are two things that make me think Facebook can be a real contender in Local Search. The first is the sheer awesomeness of the results. The algorithm that will generate the results will be built around your network of Friends (presumably) and will include photos of your friends along with the results, as you saw when you clicked on the link to your hometown. That is the epitome of local/social.

The second thing is content. I recently read that more small business owners have created facebook pages than websites.

It will take a while for Facebook to catch up with Google. They still have to build out the infrastructure of a product that is clearly in its infancy. And they have to get people in the habit of “searching” for things on Facebook.

They could begin by optimizing for Google like everyone else. Which appears to be exactly what they did.

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