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Facebook trumps Yelp for local business recommendations

When it comes to online reviews of local businesses, we tend to think of Yelp as the king of influence.

Well, according to BrightLocal’s 2014 Local Consumer Review Survey, aside from Word of Mouth, the majority of us prefer to share our recommendations via Facebook. In fact, of the ~5,000 North American consumers surveyed, 38% prefer to share reviews on Facebook, while just 13% share reviews on Yelp.

Local reviews recommendations

And, those consumers are heading to the internet to share reviews in greater numbers. As you can see, the number of consumers that check local reviews almost every day, more than doubled in the past 12 months:

Online reviews for local businesses

With smarter phones and improved local business websites it’s no wonder more of us are using the web to research our offline purchases.

Looking for something? Go Google My Business

At some point, not to long ago, Google went from being a proper noun to a verb. Has that ever happened before?

Google, googling and googled are also words that you can look up in the dictionary and they all refer to the action of searching for something online. It’s pretty amazing. Does anyone ever say I’m going to “Bing” it or “AltaVista” it? No but I digress, as I often do.

This post is all about the new “Google My Business” dashboard which will soon be taking the place of “Places for Business” and the “Google+ Dashboard.” If you were using either of those two services, your data will automatically migrate over to the new platform. If you weren’t using those services – why not? Go now and sign up for Google My Business – it’s free and it makes it really easy to keep your information up-to-date across multiple channels. (I can’t stand it when Google says a business is open until a certain time and I drive there only to find the place actually closes two hours earlier!)

Amazon Local opens to reviews, could be first step to larger local marketplace

IMG_0394Amazon Local is a daily deal site like Groupon but there’s a rumor going around that it’s about to expand into a much more comprehensive service. There’s talk of an Amazon Local Marketplace where you can find a babysitter for your child, a doctor for your dog or vice versa.

Such a service would put Amazon in competition with Angie’s List and Yelp and Forbes says that just talk of Amazon getting into that end of the business caused stock prices for both companies to drop.

Amazon has been experimenting with same-day grocery deliveries for awhile. Earlier this week, I received an email saying that the service was now available in my area  – for a measly $299 a year! I’m sure there’s an audience that wouldn’t blink at that price, especially in Los Angeles. I’m not a part of that audience but if I was a busy executive living in a condo in the city, having someone deliver my groceries for that price would be a nice perk.

New study shows boomers are riding the local-mobile train, too

We know that Gen Y and Gen X rarely leave the house without their mobile phones. It’s a tool they grew up with and can’t remember living without. On the other end of the seesaw are the baby boomers who remember the days when you had to drop a dime in a payphone to make a call from a public place. Can’t find the store you’re looking for? That same phone booth has a handy dandy telephone book on a chain that you can use to look it up. How archaic!

But a new survey conducted by Thrive Analytics and released today by the Local Search Association, shows that now older generations are climbing on board the local-mobile train, too.

Local Search Boomer Survey

Twitter and Foursquare Test Features That Keep Data Close to Home

washington-dc-on-the-map-1-369936-mMarketers have been using geotargeting on the web to serve up appropriate ads for a long while. We’re all used to it and not at all creeped out when we’re surfing the web and see an ad for a local retailer. But with mobile, it’s different. I don’t know why but we all get a little chill when there’s talk of using cell phone geolocation technology to deliver ads and other information.

Mobile feels more personal and more immediate. Someone can track me based on my IP address but that just gets them in the neighborhood not to my house. . . . right? (I hope.) If you’re tracking my cell phone, you know exactly where I am. Exactly. And that gets scary. Admittedly, in 99.9% of cases it’s not a security threat but it still feels like one.

Google Puts Reviews for Businesses in One Spot

Google is trying to help business owners get a grip on their reviews which can be the lifeblood of many SMBs.

On the Google and Your Business blog we get

Today, we’re introducing Reviews in Google Places for Business. Now you can learn what your customers are saying about your business on Google and across the web, in one place. If you have a verified business listing, you will now see your customer ratings and reviews in the easy-to-use review inbox.

Reviews from Google in One Place

It’s cool and it’s easy. But does the around the web review part include Yelp? Don’t hold your breath.

Infographic: The Definitve Local Review Site Chart

Local reviews are the lifeblood of many in the restaurant business and they are becoming increasingly important to businesses of all types who serve a local clientele.

This chart put together by LocalVisibilitySystem.com does a great job of helping show the ins and outs of a ecosystem that can be difficult to manage. (Click the image to enlarge)

Local Review Site Chart

What is your experience with local reviews as an SEO or a business owner? Good? Frustrating? Something else?

(Hat tip to MP’s own Andy Beal for this great piece of data)