This past weekend controversy erupted when someone noticed that Google was redirecting traffic from Google Maps (for mobile web) on Windows Phones to Google.com. Immediately the conspiracy theories began to fly. The claim was that Google had just won an antitrust reprieve from the FTC so now the company was sticking it to competitor Microsoft with impunity. We agree that it looked bad — and the conspiracy theory made for a sexy and provocative story — however it simply wasn’t accurate. Danny Sullivan wrote an in-depth article about what happened. Google itself offered a number of slightly different explanations for what was going on. But basically the company said that the IE mobile browser experience of Google Maps on Windows Phones was sub-optimal, hence the redirect to Google.com: In our last test, IE mobile still did not offer a good maps experience with no ability to pan or zoom and perform basic map functionality. As a result, we chose to … [Read more...] about Google Maps
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Over the last couple of years, Google updates have shown the company’s growing focus on monetizing searches with local intent and navigational queries. From local inventory ads, which are a version of Product Listings Ads that feature information on when a product can be picked up at a local brick-and-mortar store, to ads featured in the Local Pack, it’s clear that Google sees local searches as fertile ground for more ad interactions. This strategy has extended to Google Maps, where ads derived from location extensions now populate for searches. These ads are steadily growing in importance, as shown by a rise in the share of traffic attributed to the “Get location details” click type. [Read the full article on Search Engine Land.] Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here. About The Author Andy Taylor is a Senior Research Analyst at RKG, responsible for … [Read more...] about Google Maps ad traffic steadily growing
Imagine the Earth broken down into a series of cells, and each of those cells broken down into a series of even smaller cells, and then into smaller cells again, and so on, in a spatial index. Each of the levels become increasingly narrow, and increasingly more precise areas or zoom levels of the surface of the Earth. As these cells decrease in size, they increase in numbers, which has the impact of increasing the zoom level and the accuracy of areas represented in such an index. Might work good in a place like China, where latitude and longitude are banned for export as munitions. Such a set of cells might be part of a geospatial analyzing module that links specific businesses and points of interest (parks, public regions, landmarks, etc.) to specific places on this model or index of the earth. That might be one index of the businesses and one index for the points of interest, or a combined database that includes both. Sometimes that index might include a business and a landmark … [Read more...] about Patent on (Intentional) Errors in Google Maps?
One of the top issues in delivering up local search results in a map-based format is what to do with businesses which have no street address. During the SMX Local & Mobile conference back in October, Dick Larkin asked Google Earth VP Michael Jones a question about this very thing: "What should we recommend to local businesses which do not have a local street address—how do they get into Google Maps search results?" Michael’s answer was surprising. I’ll give you his answer in a moment. There are a lot of local businesses out there that have no addresses. These are frequently independent contractors like plumbers, electricians, mobile auto repairmen, house painters, roofing contractors, building contractors, and so on. These guys may operate out of their vans and trucks, and are not set up for having the public show up on their doorstep. A brick-and-mortar location for a business is not just its "home base.” A store with a sign out front typically serves as a … [Read more...] about How To Get On Google Maps Without An Address
For those of us who work in local search optimization, it’s clear that Google PageRank is less and less important as a factor in result rankings. It’s not difficult to find instances where businesses with lower PageRank are listed higher than competitors in the local 10-pack, and some like Matt McGee point out cases where companies with no website at all are ranking well. These cases show that in Google’s local searches, PageRank has been pushed aside in favor of a ranking process that’s often independent of websites: I’ll call it “BizRank”. Now, the fact that Google Maps contains listings with no associated websites is nothing new. When they first launched their service that mashed up keyword search + yellow pages directory + map interface, it contained many listings with no sites. Yet, for many of us in search marketing, our focus and even some level of unspoken agreement has been that listings with website URLs have a clear advantage over … [Read more...] about Has Google Maps Switched From PageRank to “BizRank”?
Google recently upgraded Google Maps with a new land parcel data layer, added a Map error reporting function, has promised map fixes to street errors in 30 days or less and has replaced Tele Atlas as their provider of roadway data. It was widely expected that Google might replace TeleAtlas but I don’ think anyone realized it would be this soon. I wanted to better understand Google’s plans for Google Maps in the United States and globally and put the changes into a larger competitive and social context. In an effort to clarify my thinking about the technology and the implications I contacted Mike Dobson of TeleMapics, mapping industry veteran and all around brilliant guy. I asked and he answered. Mike Blumenthal: Does the recent Tele Atlas boot from Google Maps US mean that Google has developed or acquired routing algorithms? Mike Dobson: Google worked with deCarta (under its former name Telcontar) when they were beginning the development of their mapping application. … [Read more...] about Tectonic Shifts Altering The Terrain At Google Maps
As use of Google Maps grows, marketers are increasingly drawn to the promotional potential found there, and some innovative ways of insinuating ads into the interface have evolved. Here’s a breakdown of some of the strangest tactics that have been dreamed-up for getting messages in front of Google Maps users. 1. Virtual ad placement Just this month it was reported that Google was awarded a patent for overlaying ads on sections of images. This could easily include overlaying ads on Street View Images within Google Maps, placing them over regions of photos containing billboards and posters on the outsides of buildings. This variation on the concept of virtual product placement probably strikes companies like Clear Channel Outdoor, which owns billboards all over the country, as somewhat invasive. It also reminds me of a form of guerilla marketing like the confrontationalist artwork of Ron English and the Billboard Liberation Front, who are famous for hijacking billboards by … [Read more...] about Six Odd Tactics For Getting Ads Into Google Maps
Is it just me, or does it seem like Google starts celebrating April Fools’ Day earlier and earlier every year? No company on the web takes April 1st more seriously than Google, as we’ve been covering for years now. So what about this year’s April Fools’ Day antics? Let’s have a look. Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge It was a little past 12 pm ET today (March 31), when the Google Maps team posted its April Fools’ Day gag — the “Pokémon Challenge,” a game/adventure where Pokémon masters are tasked with using Google Maps to find game characters out in the wild. Winners will (facetiously) have a chance to become Google employees. As with many of Google’s April 1st gags, this one’s kinda “real” in the sense that you can open up your Google Maps app (iPhone or Android), tap the search bar and then touch the new “Press start” button (just as seen in the video below). When my daughter, … [Read more...] about Google Maps Pokémon Challenge, Magic Hand & More
San Francisco is the third-worst city in the United States for traffic congestion, according to a study by the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard. Commuters in San Francisco spend an extra 78 hours a year delayed in traffic, and as far as I can tell, it won’t be getting better any time soon. Now that traffic information is so easy to access from any smartphone, your customers are likely checking and changing their behavior because of it. And when your customers change their behavior, you should be able to react. Today, I’m happy to share a library I wrote to access Google Maps traffic data to determine commute times. By entering an origin, destination and departure time, you can quickly see how long a normal drive takes and how long the drive takes with traffic. Using that data, you can change your bids and Ad schedules or enable a set of Ads targeted directly toward those commuters. Please note that I’m not advocating for you to advertise to commuters while they’re … [Read more...] about Pull Google Maps traffic data into AdWords with this script library
Put simply, the reason that this series of updates is incredibly valuable is because it improves the experience of Google Maps for both the user and the business owner. The business owner is going to be able to advertise and market more directly to local customers, and users are going to have a much easier time finding the businesses and deals in a given area. In this way, both physical and website traffic is bound to increase at your storefront, but only if you take note of these updates and make the necessary strides to get involved with the updates ASAP. In response to the increase in local searches, there are three updates that are going to be making a big impact on user/business experience with Google Maps. Consequently, there are also three ways that you can take advantage of these updates to best serve your business. #1 Utilize Promoted Pins to Advertise Location & Rank First One of the newest features for local search advertisement is the promoted pin. Promoted pins are … [Read more...] about 3 Ways to Take Advantage of Google Maps Ads