Archive for October, 2010

Keynote Conversation with Yelp COO Geoff Donaker (from SMX East)

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

The following is a recap from a session at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East. Follow the conference on Twitter.

Yelp stats

  • 38 million unique visitors last month (both web and mobile users)
  • 13 million reviews

Yelp usage

  • Weekdays: is used far more than Yelp mobile
  • Weekends: Yelp mobile usage jumps far above
  • Saturday: 50% of Yelp searches are mobile

Tips for success

  • Responsiveness – get in touch with your customers
  • Keep it positive and respond to negative reviews

Is mobile “here” for Yelp?

Yes. Most popular apps are used on iPhone, Blackberry, and Android. There are approximately 3 million unique devices using Yelp monthly.

Ecommerce on Yelp

  • Offer more options
  • Email Deal of the Day


Put listings at the top of your feed that have been reviewed in your area (without having to log in!)

Fun facts

  • #1 form of contribution on desktops: reviews
  • On the mobile app, you can only draft a review. Then you have to go online and finish writing it and publish.
  • “Yelp is a lifestyle blog”

What does the future hold?

  1. Mobile
  2. Cities – deeper reach in cities and increase the number of cities included
  3. More ad products – continue to offer more products

Geoff Donaker, Yelp

Location Services: The New Local Search? (from SMX East)

Monday, October 4th, 2010

The following is a recap from a session at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East. Follow the conference and session on Twitter.

Foursquare “Advertiser” Survey a Few Months Later

Highlights from 1st survey

  • Majority of “advertisers” have been on Foursquare for about 6 months
  • More “advertisers” believe Foursquare helps grow their business than not
  • Most are tracking check-ins
  • Most have claimed Google Places page (and now Facebook Places)
  • Only 10% say they’d pay for it

Interesting location-based services user statistics

  • Between June and October 2010, advertisers are still seeing the benefit of using it
  • Advertisers are (overwhelmingly) using Yelp and Facebook Places
  • Advertisers have started valuing Foursquare users less over the past four months


  • Yelp and Facebook Places are gaining in adoption
  • Majority of respondents on Foursquare greater than 6 months
  • Mobile and social users 70% likely to make a buying decision

Will Scott, President, Search Influence

The New Local Search

Changes in Local Search

  • Address & Map
  • What’s nearby
  • How good is the place
  • Who’s nearby
  • How “worthy” is that person and their opinion
  • It’s all about reputation

Additional data points

  • Every data field accepted by a publisher represents traffic and revenue opportunities
  • Business overlook simple ones that are vital – like hours of operation
  • Video is the future – even if it is a simple slideshow hosted on YouTube
  • Small businesses can use a Facebook page if they do not have a website

How to Make Businesses Disappear

  • Messing with names – stuffing keywords
  • Call tracking numbers
  • Address social climbing
  • Category lapses
  • Missing data elements
  • Insufficient distribution

Chris Travers, Universal Business Listing

Yelp Mobile

1/3 of searches come from the mobile app

Case study: Optometrist in Brooklyn

  • Offers customers a gift card for ice cream down the street and $25 a visit if they check in on Yelp
  • Has 5-star rating with 76 reviews

Kevin Lee, Yelp

Evolution of Local Search

  1. Find out what
  2. Find out what and where
  3. Find out the what and where with context of who
  4. Find out the what and where with context of who and when

NAP = Name, Address, Phone number

Gib Olander, Director of Business Development, Localeze

What’s New with Local Search (from SMX East)

Monday, October 4th, 2010

The following is a recap from a session at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East. Follow the conference and session on Twitter.

Google Maps has an evolved algorithm

  • Improved spam detection/reducation
  • Increased numbers of information sources
  • Has begun absorbing microformats/RDFa/Micro-data
  • Shifted to include “PlaceRank”

Google Maps spam detection/reducation

  • Hired more human staff reviewers to check data
  • Reported doing phone verification from offshore
  • Algortithmic “skepticism” – new listings need to have reinforcements from multiple authoritative sources (IYPs, data aggregators, local info sites, etc.)


Relative Popularity – what can help you rank better on Google Maps

  • Buzz
  • Wikipedia
  • Photos
  • Videos

Businesses might have to focus on PR to promote area to drive popularity and improve business popularity

What are citations/references?

  • Links to website
  • Mentions of website domain in plain text
  • Mentions of business name
  • Mentions of business street address/place
  • Mentions of business phone number

What else might produce citations?

  • Tweets about a place
  • Checkins and Facebook

What to do:

Clean up your profiles with something like UBL Citation and Auditing Tool

Chris Silver SmithKeyRelevance

Tools for Local Search

Local tools to save time

Local tools for competitive analysis

  • Location Citation Finder – find top places for citations
    • Uses user input
  • – competitive analsis
    • Uncover and emulate common attributes
    • Citation scraper
    • Review scraper
    • Category scraper
  • – industrial strength multi location data confusion tool (best for chains, multi-location businesses)
    • Checks listings on important local sites
    • Sales and reporting tool

Mary Bowling, seOverflow

Local Search, Today: Facebook Places & Google Instant

Facebook Local Business Pages

  • Address/info optional
  • Interact with Facebookers
  • CS, Events
  • Like button
  • Embed web page
  • Promote, ads

Facebook Place Pages

  • Location/info required
  • Lightweight Local Business Page
  • User check in
  • Claiming process
  • Can merge with a Local Business Page

Google Places - SEO benefit via web citations

Facebook Places – is SEO void

Facebook Local Business Pages - 25-50% associated!

Smartphones – Facebook Places (ContextOptional, PlacePop, NearbyFriends, and more)

Targeting “location keywords” may become less relevant for local businesses. (Google automatically uses your location.)

  • Google can triangulate your location from their street view
  • IP address
  • Logged into account

David Rodecker,

Call Advertising: Three Trends in Local Search

1. Advertisers are getting more sophisticated in how they track calls

  • Establishing more granular ad groups
  • Incorporating call mining to:
    • Reverse-engineer conversion data
    • Discover keyword “nuggets”
  • Leveraging call recording to learn how ad copy impacts consumer intent
  • Piloting IVR testing and targeting

2. The debate over tracking numbers in ad copy is getting more intense

  • Fans think:
    • It adds legitimacy to the listing
    • Gives consumers another way to respond
    • Increases Search ROI
  • Non-fans think:
    • It takes up too much space
    • It may depress quality score
    • Might create user dissonance

3. Mobile search provides an opportunity to reach a completely new audience

  • Consumers are leveraging feature phones to become more efficient
  • They are placing calls to businesses as a way to redeem dead time (when they wouldn’t have been able to in the past)
  • Many calls happen instantly at need
  • Consumers are increasingly likely to place a call in response to an ad

Brent Turner, Marchex, Inc.

What’s New with Local Search?

  • Searchers now EXPECT Local Results…
  • Engines are responding with relevant products
  • and Advertisers are responding with budgets (1/$10 of local ad spend is online; in 3 years, it will be 1/$4)

The Holy Grail? Measureable return!

  • Calls
  • Leads
  • Conversions

Sivan Metzger, KENSHOO

Inner View: Google’s Keyword Research Tools (from SMX East)

Monday, October 4th, 2010

The following is a recap from a session at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East. Follow the conference and session on Twitter.

Google stats

  • Billion users, billions of searches
  • August 2008 – over 7 million search for Britney Spears, over 1,000 misspelling of Britney’s name, top 10 misspellings of those misspellings add up to over 900,000 additional searches

Longtail search

  • 55% of queries have more than 3 words
  • 70% of queries have no exact keyword match
  • 20% of queries in a given day have not been seen in the previous 90 days

What to use?

Final thoughts

  • Problem: You need features from all products, and need to use them all.
  • Keyword Tool has 2 million + users and gets 300 million + ideas a month
  • Recently, the tool was updated and relaunched, including using – specific numbers.


Why’d you get rid of the old tool?

The only infrastructure was going away. The new tool primes Google to be able to add a lot more functionality.

Geotargeting: Will that be available for the new keyword tool?

Getting stats for a city/state level is in the works.

Global monthly/Local monthly

Global: last 12 months and global search volume

Local: only what you have your settings on (e.g. English United States) Local is actually National.

What is the minimum keyword volume a keyword has to have to show up in the keyword tool?

No volume threshold. Pricing threshold. Any query has an opportunity to show up in the keyword tool.

Google has various filters to show only things that are commercial.

How much is filtered out for privacy?

No stats; but from a search advertising perspective, you’re getting a good coverage of all search terms.

Logged in vs. non-logged in

When you’re logged in to KWT, you could get up to 1,000 queries.

When you’re not logged in to KWT, you only get up to 100 queries.

Google Suggest

Keyword Tool uses Google Suggest, on top of a lot of other metrics.

Commercially used keywords

The KWT uses commercially used keyword. A trigger is when a keyword is used in an ad.

Search-based keyword tool

Thresholds on search-based keyword tool are very similar.

Search-based keyword tool is being phased out because the technology has been incorporated in KWT.

Who wants a tool that shows all the raw data of Google search terms?
EVERYONE. (Look for something like this in the next year.)

Do you pull in realtime data?

Volume numbers given are for the past 12 months.

Similar words have similar volume numbers.

Volume is rounded.

Traffic Estimator

You can get the estimated traffic for terms inputted, and can filter exact/broad the same way as KWT

Filters on KWT

  1. Commercial filter
  2. Privacy filter

Ad impressions vs. search volume

Keywords are shown for AdWords keywords that have been purchased. The search volume is for all searches.

Why am I seeing different numbers when I’m not logged in vs. when I am?

That bug should be fixed – it was because of switching over from the old interface.

How is punctuation treated?

Gather separate results for punctuation vs. non-punctuation

Baris Gultekin, Group Product Manager, Google

The Real Time Search & Social Search Landscape (from SMX East)

Monday, October 4th, 2010

The following is a recap from a session at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East. Follow the conference and session on Twitter.

Realtime Search, from Google

Deep investment in search technology

  • Instant – brand new technology that finishes your search query as you’re typing
  • Caffeine – new indexing technology
  • Social – public content authored by people you know
  • Realtime – scrolling search of any updates online (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.). To realtime search, go here or click the updates option in Google:
  • and hundreds of changes you probably didn’t notice

History of realtime

  • Launched in December 2009
  • Launched Replay in April 2009 – search back in time across Twitter
  • Currently pull from Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, and more

Realtime Search options

  • Time (Any time or Latest)
  • Location (Anywhere, Nearby, or Custom Location)
  • Images (All updates or Updates with Images)

Jeremy Hylton, Software Engineer, Google

Realtime Search, from Twitter

Overview of Search at Twitter

  • Infrastructure
    • A highly efficient inverted index (based on Lucene)
    • Over 1,000 tweets inserted per second
    • Over 12,000 queries per secnd (>1B queries per day)
  • Used to power
    • Twitter search API (mobile, apps, widgets, etc.)
    • Search on
    • Numerous services on (ex. related tweets)

Examples of types of Twitter searches

  • Follow an ‘event’ in realtime
  • Address a hyperlocal questions
  • Communicate with a realtime community
  • Vanity searches (@mentions)
  • Standing search around an interest
  • Gadgets integrated on a website (e.g. mentions of an article)

Different relationship between search engine and information

  • Traditional search = routing
  • Realtime search = filtering

Pothole theory: it’s all about context

  • Current focus
  • Location
  • Communities
  • Trends
  • Events

What does ranking mean in the realtime world?

  • Impact of ranking is different because of time factor in consumption
  • Dynamic and relative concept of credibility
    • In traditional search, credibility is relatively static and uniform
    • In realtime, people’s interests are expressed naturally
  • Time effect is critical/micro-trends
  • Context, context, context

What in PageRank’s sake does this mean for SEO?*

  • Traditional SEO: ‘Hacking’ the search algorithm
  • Realtime SEO: ‘Hacking’ human interest
  • Realtime traffic perhaps closer to gamin dynamics than search optimization?

Perhaps think of objectives differently?

  • For websites, traffic is a proxy for goodness – action is on the website
  • In realtime world, engagement may be better proxy – action is more immediate
  • Is SEO for realtime more about creating engagement?

*Isn’t PR synonymous to ‘God’ in search world?

Potential metrics that matter

  • Follower counts
  • List inclusions
  • Retweets
  • Trending topic
  • Clicks/pageviews

Othman Laraki, Director, Twitter

Realtime Search, from Microsoft Bing

Microsoft has done a lot of research around searching vs. asking your network and the implications of each. Below are questions people actually ask, based on type, topics, and motivation.

Questions: Types

Questions: Topics

Questions: Motivation

Answer comparison: search engines vs. Facebook Bing and Ping Social Networks & Search engines Search engine “friends” offering answers to questions

Meredith Ringel Morris, Microsoft Research

Realtime Search, from Yahoo

Social/Realtime Activity

  • Yahoo! users are linking their Facebook/Twitter accounts in record numbers
  • Twitter integrate into Y! search

Industry Trends – MS-DOS lives on Twitter brand is mass-market, but content often isn’t… Use the “Mom” test. (Does your tweet make sense to the average person – the Mom?) Massmarketing consumption patterns are emerging:

  • “Trending now” aggregation
  • Algorithmic curation of linked content
  • Easily identifiable and filterable service auto-tweets and retweets
  • “XSLT for Twitter” ought to be the norm, not the exception

Industry Trends: Rivers are hard to tame Most realtime search experiences target ‘professionals’ Changing consumer behavior is a barrier for mass adoption

  • Only limited user value when looking through a pinhole
  • Thematic clustering and time-series analytics provide a good proxy

What have we learned?

  • Celebrity tweets have higher user engagement than News
  • Needs to be easier to find/coverage expanded in-SRP
  • ‘Influencers’ rule!
  • Signal/noise is sub-optimal and ML ranking is hard

Leading vs lagging indicators of realtime “buzz”

  • Realtime “buzz” detection can be derived from multiple signal sources
  • Realtime “buzz” detection needs to include a local event baseline

Tweets only an advertiser would love

  • Challenge: filter out a handful of intensively positive tweets from 100s of millions in realtime with ultra-high precision
  • Solution: Y! Deep science over a deep basket of tweets with many sentiments with filtering

Brian Theodore, Yahoo

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