On our Radar: More Google+ Danger, Mobile-Local Figures, and Foursquare Meets TomTom

On our radar this weekThere’s been a lot of news surfacing on the local scene. With key executives switching companies and constant local updates, local search is becoming a rapid field of changing information. The best way to stay in the loop and feel comfortable with local search marketing is to keep up to date with what’s going on.

Here are some of the key things we’ve found this week:

Google + Users are Dangerous!

Given the recent issues with Google+Local, some people may have expected the platform to be dangerous, but the users?

It’s true. And here’s why . . .

When a review is left on a business listed in Google+ Local, it is included along with the other reviews left for that business in a list. These listings are not necessarily placed according to how recent they are. Instead, they can appear according to how helpful they are, primarily by being the review deemed “Most Helpful”.

This shouldn’t be a problem assuming that the most helpful review is beneficial to prospects of that business in terms of evaluating their service and quality. But the algorithm tends to favor Google+ users over regular reviewers or Zagat reviewers.

The observation was made on the YouMoz blog on behalf of a member when, following a bad review by a former employee, they decided to conduct some research. Albeit the sample size is quite small (15 queries), they found that 13 of them had the Most Helpful spot occupied by a Google+ user.

What does this mean? Assuming reviews are random, it shouldn’t mean anything. If, however, this trend is consistent and disgruntled customers and ex-employees know about it, it can put your business at a serious disadvantage. If that happens, Google will have one more thing to fix on their local circuit.

Are you interested in seeing this applied in larger sample set? Sweet IQ has the ability to do that across millions of business listings and reviews!

Location is Shaping Mobile Landscape

We’re not surprised at this. Location-based marketing is huge for mobile, and the connection between them is obvious. What we are happy to see are data (on behalf of xAd) that give us an idea of the detail and behavior of prospects.

For one, the growth of US Consumers who use location-based services on their phone has seen a substantial increase from 2011-2012:

xAd Report

The study goes on to highlight the restaurant industry as having the most to gain from taking advantage of mobile local marketing. The study showed that restaurants accounted for the most searched category while remaining one of the least advertised (it was beat out by “other”).

Top Search Categories:

Top Search Categories

Top Advertising Categories:

Top Advertising Categories

The most common engagement with restaurants for prospects involves maps and directions. This is great news for restaurant owners because it indicates people are willing to find them which equals to customers. The second most common engagement is tied between calls and descriptions/reviews.

Foursquare: Flourish or Fail?

On our radar previously, we mentioned that Foursquare listened to the people and revived a crowd-favorite app. Now Foursquare has integrated with the popular GPS brand TomTom. Users can update to version 1.11 and log into their Foursquare accounts for access to Foursquare databases. They’ll then be able to check in and accumulate points in the system.

It’s a neat integration, but in the light of Foursquare’s less-than-promising figures, it’s a wonder whether or not this is the right move especially while mobile is continuously crossing over the local and GPS markets.

Regardless, this is a definite plus for Forsquare and TomTom fans alike.

More news to come next week.

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