Natural Search Blog


ThinkLocal.com – Network Solutions’ Entry in Local Search

I noticed that Network Solutions has quietly added a play in the local search / IYP space – ThinkLocal.com. The site includes maps, weather, a yellow pages like search for businesses, and user review features.

ThinkLocal.com

I’ve thought for years that a site which allows people to search specifically for business websites would be a killer app, and Network Solutions has always had enough data to provide that very sort of thing through their status as a major domain name registrar. Unfortunately, I think no one site ever created a sufficiently broad directory of business websites, and Google, Yahoo! and MS Live have all evolved to fill that gap to some degree (it’d still be great to have the ability to only search for biz websites and not get unrelated content).

ThinkLocal doesn’t appear to be purely built from Network Solutions’ database, though. I found (more…)

Google Maps forces Navy to redesign swastika building

Quite some time back, I came across this Swastika-shaped building via Google Maps, and posted the screengrab in my Flickr account. Since then, it became one of my most popular Flickr pictures, since strange stuff like this can become quickly viral. Loads of people (16,000+) have viewed the photo’s page, and then various journalists contacted me and posted the photo on news stories in Europe and elsewhere. Here it is:

Google Map of Swastika-Shaped Building
(click to view swastika photo profile page)

I researched the building and found it was a Navy building, apparently built unintentionally in the shape of a Nazi Swastika in California. This was built way before people anticipated the general public would be viewing buildings from the sky all that much, but now the easy accessibility of viewing satellite pics from Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Mapquest, Microsoft Live Maps, and other utilities have made birds-eye-viewing all too common. I photo-blogged the info I researched on the Flickr page, and quite a few people commented and favorited the unusual picture over time.

Today, CNN reported on the swastika building, and they added one really interesting new detail: (more…)

Am I an SEO Dog? More On Toasting of Internet Yellow Pages

Donna Bogatin apparently disagreed with my article at SEL entitled “Google Trends: Yellow Pages Will Be Toast in Four Years“, posting a bit of a lurid headline herself: “Yellow Pages Trash Talking: The SEO Dog in the Google Local Fight“.

I didn’t really think that my article was quite “trash talk“, and I’m assuming from the article content that the “SEO Dog” referred to was perhaps myself, or perhaps the “dog” is my article conclusions, fighting for the ostensibly narrow viewpoint of all SEOs. Aside from the somewhat scathing disembowelment attempted, I thought it’d be informative for me to address some of the logic-faulty conclusions that were drawn.

(more…)

Search Engine Optimization through Yellow Pages

Yellow Pages & SEOThere’s an interesting thread that appeared on Greg Sterling’s blog on Using IYPs as an SEO Strategy.

Some of the commentators pointed out that yellow pages ads are pretty costly, compared with those of the search engines. So, is using yellow pages as part of a search marketing campaign worthwhile for traffic and good for ROI? My answer is: Yes, yellow pages can and should be used as a major component of local search optimization. Yellow pages can be used for SEO, and here’s some details on how to approach it.

(more…)

Yes, you can automate SEO – we’ve done it!

Loren Baker at Search Engine Journal wrote a post highlighting Commerce360′s stated intention to build automatic optimization software, using a lot of venture capital they raised for this purpose. Loren asks, “Can SEO Be Automated?”

Inspired by this thread, Lisa Barone at Bruce Clay, Inc. responds with “You Can’t Automate Search Engine Optimization” (which is just the tiniest bit ironic, since Bruce Clay’s Dynamic Site Mapping tool arguably provides a level of automated search optimization).

While Commerce360 is looking to create search optimization automation, we’ve already been accomplishing it for quite some time here at Netconcepts, as I outlined in an earlier article on Automatic Search Engine Optimization. So, do I think SEO can be automated? Hell, yes!

(more…)

Using Flickr to Optimize for Yahoo Image Search

Google Blogoscoped reports that Yahoo’s Image Search now particularly likes Flickr content, so this may be incentive for webmasters to use Flickr “as a kind of Yahoo search engine optimization”. My frequent readers know that I’ve been advocating using Flickr for image search optimization for some time now, and I’ve been speaking on this subject at Search Engine Strategies conferences as well.

The Blogoscoped mention of Yahoo’s love for Flickr content is particularly timely, since Yahoo! announced back in June that they were permanently shutting down Yahoo! Photos in favor of their Flickr property, and the final closing date is tomorrow, September 20th.

Previously, I’d railed a bit against Yahoo! because I’d seen a lot of evidence that they didn’t spider/index Flickr content as well or comprehensively as Google did — altogether ironic since Yahoo owns Flickr. Just as with the anecdotal reports in the Blogoscoped post, I’m seeing nice indications that my earlier criticism of Yahoo’s lack of inclusion of Flickr content may now be completely resolved. (more…)

SMX Local & Mobile Conference Discount

If you haven’t decided to attend the Search Marketing Expo Local & Mobile Conference on October 1 & 2, you’ll be missing out on the newest tips and information for two overlapping search segments that are considered to contain some of the fastest-growing marketing potential of any media around. The consensus prediction is for $8 billion in total ad spending by 2010!

SMX Local & Mobile Speaker

I’ll be speaking on the subject of “Managing a Local/Mobile Search Marketing Campaign” on the morning of the first day. There are also a number of other interesting presentations that I plan to attend, covering subjects such as Local SEO, Pay-Per-Call Advertising, Mobile SEO, Mobile Advertising, and LoMo.

For readers of Natural Search Blog, we’re able to offer a conference discount of 20% off the full registration price if you sign up now. Just go to the SMX Local & Mobile 07 registration, and enter our discount code:

SMX20OffLM

Google’s advent of Universal Search has propelled content from a number of search verticals into the main results page, including content from Local Search in many cases. This development has opened the eyes of many marketers to the fact that businesses with local components really need to specifically target their content to appear optimally under this new paradigm. (more…)

Google Docs Releases Presentations

Last night, Google announced the release of their presentation software as another feature in Google Docs. This follows close on the heals of a number of us posting about how the Google presentation software was soon to be released. The interface is really easy to use, and intuitive – very fluid. Here’s a screengrab of the example slide I made within just seconds of going in:

Google Docs Presentation Screen
(click to enlarge)

The presentation software is extremely simplistic, though, so there are not a lot of bells and whistles. The slides are completely static, so there’s no option for adding in transition effects nor animations. (more…)

Google Presentation App: Presently

The Inquirer reports that Google may soon deploy slideshow presentation creation and display software which they’ll call “Presently”. This application was apparently developed out of code that Google got with their acquisition of Zenter and Tonic Systems earlier this year. The new presentation software will join the other Google Apps suite of products which include Google Spreadsheets, Google Write, and Gmail.

Google Presently

This is an interesting development… (more…)

Dealer Locator & Store Locator Services Need to Optimize

Store LocatorsMy article on local SEO for store locators just published on Search Engine Land, and any company that has a store locator utility ought to read it. Many large companies provide a way for users to find their local stores, dealers, or authorized resellers. The problem is that these sections are usually hidden from the search engines behind search submission forms, javascripted links, html frames, and Flash interfaces.

For many national or regional chain stores, providing dealer-locator services with robust maps, driving directions and proximity search capability is outside of their core competencies, and they frequently choose to outsource that development work or purchase software to enable the service easily.

I did a quick survey and found a number of companies providing dealer locator or store finder functionality: (more…)

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