Another nice post from Chris Silver Smith on Local Business SEO for Geo titled Should You Geotag Pages For Local SEO? As Silver Smith points out, geocoding web pages is acheived through semantic markup formats such as Geo microformat, ICBM meta tag (GeoURL), RDF tags, and the Geo tag meta data format. These various approaches are nicely summed up at the following Geotagging wikipedia page.
Which format to use? Here’s what Silver Smith has to say on the matter:
If you were only going to add one set of geotags, I’d suggest adding either the Geo microformat or RDF, because they’re supported in some ways by Yahoo! and Google (”supported” in the sense that both deliver up local content with microformats, and both have used microformats and RDF for purposes of special results listing treatments). Also, providing the coordinates on the page visibly can enhance usefulness as people are able to copy them directly into their GPS devices.
A very provocative article from Chris Silver Smith at Search Engine Land on Google’s algorithm for ranking local landmarks, which Google has recently branded as Favorite Places. This algorithm, often referred to as “PlaceRank”, was apparently first highlighted by Bill Slawski in 2007 in a post analyzing the related Google patent.
Silver Smith’s post goes on to explore how the Placerank algorithm gives prefential treatment to Wikipedia pages, as well as highlights a couple articles on optimizing for PageRank:
- Can Your Business Achieve Landmark Status In Google Maps? – Chris Silver Smith, December 2009
- Google PlaceRank in the wild – Ash Nallawalla, December 2009
For additional local search-related commentary, see additional recent Chris Silver Smith’s articles here.
Geolocation is certainly a dominant trend for 2010.
This past week, Google formally launched its Near me Now Search functionality, which enables one to discover places and things of interest that are nearby ones current location. Here’s a video of the Near me Now capability in action:
Here’s the video:
Yet another piece of Google’s over-arching Local strategy.
It’s pretty awesome (in a borg-like sort of way).
Google and HyperLocal – Jeff Jarvis opines
In typical fashion, Jeff Jarvis has a couple of great blog posts on recent announcments by Google, and what it foreshadows for the future of Hyperlocal.
In the first of these posts – Google’s synchronicity – Jarvis describes a coherent emerging Local/Mobile strategy from Google that leverages geo-location, place profiles, real-time search, image recognition, entity-based content aggregation, social search, and recent acquisitions/interest in AdMob, Yelp, and Trulia.
In the second post – The annotated world, Jarvis further explores Google’s Hyperlocal/Mobile strategy, and embeds some videos highlighting some of these capabilities. (For additional Google-related topics/videos, see my previous blog posts here, here, here, here, and here).
Web meets World – the pace accelerates
The above initiatives by Google, while very cool, are really concrete examples of a deeper trend identified earlier this year by Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle as Web Squared, or as it was originally termed “Web meets World“. Web Meets World, as I understand it, is the notion that the Web will extend its reach into the world of things (through real-time device-based sensors), will feed that data into the Cloud, whereupon intelligence derived from that data (contextual to our identity, interests, activities, location, social graph, etc.) will inform our real-time actions and decisions.
Anyway, powerful trends that in time will change the way we experience and relate to our physical and social surroundings.
Place Profiles – The convergence of Listings & Reviews, HyperLocal, Local Search, Maps, and Mobile platforms
Very interesting to see how the emerging “Places” technology space is unfolding. With Google’s recent launch of Places Pages, I believe we’re witnessing the intersection of Listings and Reviews, HyperLocal, Local Search, Maps, and Mobile platforms into an integrated product offering.
Google’s powerful Location-based Search platform
First there was the announcement from Google on September 29th 2009 of Place Pages for Google Maps. Mashup’s analysis re: the implications for Yelp is here: Place Pages: Google Launches Rival to Yelp.
The very next day, Google launches an improved mobile search service. Again, here’s what Mashup had to say on the matter: Google Launches Mobile Local Search: More Bad News for Yelp.
The combination of Google’s Maps, Places, and mobile Local Search services are a powerful trio. Throw in Google’s efforts in Semantic Web technology – of which Google Snippets is an example – and you’ve got quite a platform.
So what are “Place Pages” exactly?
Well, imagine that places – historical sites, monuments, your city, your community, your business, your residence, the mall, etc – were on Facebook. To my way of seeing it Place Pages is like Facebook for Places. Here’s an example of a place page for the Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. Note the map, reviews, products and pricing, pictures, etc. on this page. Here’s another place page for the city of Tokyo, Japan.
I tell you, there’s some serious semantic technology at work here. Welcome to the Web of Things (see also Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle’s Web meets World – aka Web Squared – presentation, which I blogged about here).
Here comes Microsoft
Not sitting still, Microsoft also has some powerful technology and products to bring to bear. First, in 2008 Microsoft acquires Semantic Search engine Powerset to integrate into their Bing Search platform.
Then, just days ago, Microsoft announced a significant upgrade to their Bing Maps platform.
Meanwhile Microsoft continues to invest in Local Search technology, and the Semantic technology experitise they acquired with PowerSet should position them well moving forward.
So where does this leave Yelp?
Well, we’ll have to see. Certainly Yelp’s new augmented reality iPhone app is mighty cool. And they’ve got a solid strategic position. But look out for the big boyz!
Location Technology – beyond Maps