June 2011

No Punctuation In Localeze And No Field Definitions In Bing Local

We just launched a website redesign for our valued client Frank R. Bailey III, Attorney At Law. As with all our Local-focused clients, step two is always getting their Local Search Marketing going by creating and claiming their profiles in our choice of indexes. I find that this process never fails to turn up a few interesting or new issues or oddities, and I’d like to share these with you as I have no doubt you’ll encounter some of them with your next Local client.

No Punctuation Allowed When Creating Your Localeze Account

As you can see, our client’s business name contains three types of punctuation (. , and III). Localeze’s signup process begins with creating an account which you then verify in order to create the listing. The first field in the signup form is Business Name, but when I entered my client’s DBA, my signup was rejected for punctuation. I guess I’ve just never happened to have a client before with a punctuated business name, so I sent a note to Localeze and received this prompt and helpful response:

While the business name field in the sign-up form does not allow punctuation marks, this is only used to create your username for you to gain access to our system. Once you have successfully created your username, you will be able to sign in and update your business listing in our database. The business name field in the actual listing form accepts up to 100 characters and punctuation marks.

So, bottom line – no punctuation when you create the account, but you can then use it once you are setting up the actual profile. I thought that was interesting. It might be nice if Localeze would enable punctuation in all places – not sure why they wouldn’t already do this – or else they will have to continue to answer emails from clients like mine, Pope Pius VI, Louis XVI and The Karate Kid II.

No Field Definitions in Bing Local
I have to wonder if this is a Firefox/Bing interface issue, but look at this weird screenshot of Bing’s profile form without any explanation of what is supposed to go in the first several fields:

What was really odd is that as soon as I made a wild guess at what was supposed to go there and began typing data into the blank fields, the definitions began to appear. Creepy!

Has anybody else encountered this blip using Firefox or another browser? Somehow, I doubt I should be using Google Chrome…this is Microsoft’s product after all.

InfoUSA isn’t InfoUSA anymore
Well, they sorta are. As Maps Wizard Mike Blumenthal kindly explained to me, InfoUSA’s new forward facing product in Local is called Express Update. When my bookmarked link redirected to the new product, I said, “Whoa, what the heck is this?” And then I figured one of my colleagues had probably blogged about the change whenever it took place and that I just missed it.

MapQuest Local Seems Pretty Cool
I happened to be doing my Local SEM for this client the day MapQuest’s new local business center went live and thought I’d just give it a whirl. The process was straightforward and the verification is via email. When I’m doing manual local listings, I tend to find those that verify by email easier to work with than those that require phone verification. Either way, the client has to be involved in that final step, either by forwarding me the verification email or giving me the phone pin, but at least with the email route, time is flexible – the client doesn’t have to be sitting by the phone at some specific moment. No big deal, but it’s something I’ve concluded over several years of doing this.

You know what my favorite step in the Local SEM process is? Taking a Google Place Page to 100% complete. I always feel cheery about that. What do you feel happiest about when you’re whiling away the hours profiling your clients? I’d like to hear.

Local Search Ranking Factors 2011 Hits The Presses!

When I’m called upon to list my credentials and associations, one that I mention with greatest pride is my participation in David Mihm’s annual report which has just been published today: Local Search Ranking Factors. I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of this premier industry survey since its inception, and I must say, this year’s report has really taken the bull by the horns in an effort to assess the many ways in which Local has fractured and grown. Whether you are a Local novice or a pro, you are certain to find gems of wisdom and worthy opinions in this year’s LSRF from some of the brightest minds in the business.

My sincere thanks to David for the tremendous amount of work he puts into organizing our gaggle of far-flung Local SEOs, creating a very detailed questionnaire asking the most important questions and publishing it all with his one-of-a-kind style and flair. David, you’re an inspiration and everyone who reads the report is sure to become inspired, too!

Get it while it’s hot, folks. The 2011 LSRF is a must read for anyone who wants to be in-the-know about that wacky thing we call Local.