Local Business Helped or Harmed by New Google Search, plus Your World

Google announced yesterday that they are launching “Search, plus Your World” claiming that this will be revolutionary for people searching on the internet. While this may be helpful for some search purposes, it may be harmful for others–or benign at best.

What will the impact be on local business search?

Only time will tell for certain, but it appears that it will place even more emphasis on the importance of getting positive feedback from customers as well as having a presence on social media. Less emphasis on traditional SEO and more on getting conversations going and putting more and more content out on the web.

First, to summarize the Search, plus Your World, it is just being launched and will be rolling out over time as is normal for any big changes from Google. So, what you see today and what you see “tomorrow” may be radically different. Again, nothing new when dealing with Google. Search, plus Your World only works if you are signed in to Google.com and, at least for now, only works if you are searching in English.

While touted to increase the uniqueness of your search vs a search on the same term by your neighbor or BFF, it appears that there is greater weight put on Google+ and YouTube content at the expense of competitors such as Facebook.

This shouldn’t be a surprise since Google+ and YouTube are both properties owned by Google. Facebook has already been coordinating similar search results with Microsoft’s search engine Bing and sharing content with sites like Yelp, Pandora and Spotify.

This all reeks a bit of 1984 to me and rather than broadening our horizons, “personalizing” our searches may instead make our worlds more lopsided. If Facebook is any indication, while you can find lots of great information there, your stream (or wall) is flooded with what Facebook deems is the most relevant to you. The problem is because they are pre-filtering content unless you go out and seek out your other friends who post less frequently, you are apt to be taken down a more and more narrow path.

What does this mean for local search for business? Well, it could mean that potential customers do not find your business quite as easily, especially if you have been relying on traditional SEO. However, if you have embraced social media and are developing a following then your local business can do very well with this change.

Read Google’s official post about Search, plus Your World including what they are doing to protect privacy in these personalized searches.

If you have not yet embraced social media, you still have the opportunity to take advantage of it to market your local business and bring in new customers. Rather than thinking of it as something more you have to do, think of it as an extension of your existing customer relations projects and word of mouth advertising–because even on the internet, that is advertising that works!

Expressing Gratitude

What are you grateful for today? In your personal life? In your business life?

In business, we are grateful for our fabulous clients of course…but do we remember to let them know?

Similarly in our lives we often don’t remember to let our family members know how much we appreciate them.

It is easy to get caught up in the challenges we are facing and forget the wonderful events and opportunities that fill our lives. Unfortunately when we do that, we seem to face more and more challenges.

If you want more things to be grateful for, then shift your focus to the good in your life. The people. The events. The places you have been that gave you joy. The times that brought you growth. The things that seemed negative at first but grew to be the biggest blessings. The little things that grew, period. The sunshine. The rain. The clients who pay on time. The students who teach us what we want in life. The teachers in all shapes and sizes.

I want to take this time to thank all the wonderful people in my life and to share a free eBook that I was fortunate enough to participate in. A Celebration of Personal Heroes, is the latest in a series from The Gratitude Book Project®. This eBook is offered to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9-11, but it is a tribute to all the many heroes in our lives, some involved in 9-11 and other least famous but no less worthy.

One of my co-authors, Cheryl Hall has created a wonderful video to commemorate the book and celebration.

Please claim a copy of this wonderful book today by visiting www.TheGratitudeBookProject.com

Social Media Marketing is Fresh, Relevant Content

Effective Social Media Marketing is not merely putting up profiles on  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and every other social site you can think of!

In fact, your social media efforts may be more effective marketing tools in your internet advertising toolbox if you only choose one venue–as long as you are choosing the RIGHT one for your market AND you are updating it often with fresh, unique, relevant content.

If you are doing all this yourself, you can easily spread yourself too thin and become overwhelmed with all the different media, learning what goes where and how to utilize it all effectively. Especially if you are doing this for yourself, it is far better to start slow…begin with one social site if you don’t already have a social media plan in place. Become comfortable with that platform and use it appropriately. Then as you become comfortable with it you can branch out to other platforms. But even when you hire a Social Media Manager, it doesn’t mean that you should be on every social site there is.

Choosing the right site(s) is an important part of effectively using social media for business.

Whatever you do, do not merely put up a profile page and a couple of posts and expect to see dramatic results. These things take time. You are building a relationship with readers and potential customers. You must add value to their lives in order for them to friend/follow/connect with you. By providing good content that is relevant to your industry on a regular basis you position yourself as an expert–a person they can go to to learn more, someone they can rely on!

Bottom line is people want to do business with people whom the know, like and trust–I know you have heard that before, but it is still true. So let people get to know you. Don’t be afraid to let your personality come through. Will everyone love you? Of course not…but they won’t in real life either, so why should cyber-space be any different?

I’m not suggesting you must create “controversy” as a strategy to gain followers. There are people who have done that effectively, but if you are not controversial by nature, if you don’t enjoy debating with others then this is not a strategy for you. I am saying to be yourself, and that may include having some controversial points of view at time.

Let your personality, style and knowledge come through. This will allow potential clients to learn why they should follow/learn from/buy from/listen to you as opposed to someone else in your market. You may have fewer numbers, but the followers you do have will be much more loyal to you. And after all, it isn’t about quantity, it is about quality!

By effectively using Social Media as part of your marketing efforts you can boost your website rankings with the search engines and increase your sales:

  • Post Regularly
  • Let People Get to Know YOU
  • Provide Good and Unique Content.

Yahoo! Sells Delicious Bookmarking Site

If you are a user of Delicious, you may have received an email from Yahoo! informing you that they have sold the bookmarking site to the founders of YouTube.

The email also provides instructions on how you can seamlessly move all your bookmarks to the new owners (business name AVOS.)

I always encourage people to read Terms of Service and Privacy Policy agreements, and maybe you did when you joined Delicious. Know that the old TOS and Privacy policies will no longer be in effect with the new owners, but there are links to the new policies in the email.

Some people are concerned about the “changes” to the agreements. While I’m not a lawyer, the new agreements appear to be pretty standard. Don’t post or link to bad stuff. Be at least 13. That kind of stuff. One of arguments made against them was the “vague” wording that including stipulations that you not post or link to anything that is “offensive” or “vulgar.” Certainly these terms are quite subjective, but personally I didn’t see anything that raised a red flag…but each person should decide for themselves.

Advantages to making the move:

  • You keep using Delicious as you have been
  • Keep your existing bookmarks

If you don’t make the move:

  • Your account will be closed & therefore you will lose your bookmarks, approx July of this year

What information will be transferred if you agree to the migration:

  • Delicious username
  • Delicious password
  • Email address
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Bookmarks, Tags and Notes
  • Inbox items
  • Tag Bundles
  • Tag Descriptions
  • Network Members
  • Subscriptions
  • Blogpost jobs
  • Twitter Auth credentials (if supplied)

AVOS claims they are committed to expanding Delicious, adding functionality and fun in the future.

To transfer your bookmarks, you can opt-in here (you can also create a new account at the same page.)

If you’d rather export your bookmarks to another system–either your own computer or a competitor’s product, you can also sign-in and use the export tool.

YouTube Embed Button Gone MIA?

Don’t panic if you have gone to YouTube today and found the Embed button has gone MIA.

YouTube has NOT decided that we can no longer embed videos–they have just moved the button.

So button, button, who’s got the button?

Simply go to the Share button and click on it.

Then look below the button and you will see the Embed button located between the Email this Video and the Facebook & Twitter buttons.

Clicking on the Embed button reveals all the familiar options!

Happy Viewing!