One of the biggest challenges in digital marketing is staying current with the constant changes in the industry. With so many different platforms, publishers, and technologies, just keeping abreast of the latest developments can be a full time job.
Just recently, we’ve seen several important developments in the local search industry. Yahoo just rolled out a new local listings dashboard, Google is beginning to merge Google+ Business pages with Google+ Local pages, and foursquare made a series of changes to its local business offerings.
Yahoo’s New Local Dashboard
Yahoo just recently launched a major improvement to their local listings dashboard. One of the most significant changes is an update to the verification process. While in the past, Yahoo local profiles were typically manually reviewed by Yahoo’s moderators, now business owners can verify their accounts by phone, SMS, postcard, or email.
Hopefully, this will make verification faster on Yahoo, as in the past, listings could often get stuck in the review process for months. While this is great, the Yahoo dashboard still has some major issues. A huge issue that we experience is that Yahoo still has no bulk management or bulk upload capabilities. This puts them way behind Google and Bing in terms of brand and enterprise support.
Google+ Begins Merging Business Pages and +Local Pages
When Google launched Google+ Local pages to replace Google Places, one immediate question that everyone had was – what about business that already have a Google+ business page? Obviously, businesses that had already created a Google+ business page now had a duplicate profile.
Now, Google is addressing this issue, by allowing business owners to merge both pages. These combined pages have both social and local content – users can “follow” the local businesses, and owners can manage the pages from the Google+ Pages admin.
Another big benefit of this merger is that it removes the “is this your business” / “manage your page” button from the profile. However, this upgraded profile is currently only available for business that have both a Google+ Business page, and a Google+ Local page. Eventually, this local-social profile will be available to everyone with a Google+ Local page.
Foursquare’s New Business Tools
In an effort to monetize more aggressively, foursquare recently launched a new ad format called “promoted updates.” These updates get pushed to users’ “explore” tab, which foursquare rolled out last June as part of their general effort to diversity from only check-ins.
There’s already an impressive list of brands onboard with this new format, including the Gap, Lowe’s, JCP, Walgreens, and many more. This is also following an earlier change to foursquare’s verification process. The old foursquare claiming process involved a manual review, while the new system allows business owners to expedite the process by paying a one-time, $10 fee. Fortunately, foursquare also offers support for brands wanted to do bulk uploads or edits, so that large businesses don’t have to pay thousands just to get verified on foursquare.