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New Google Local Marketing Kit for the Summer of 2019

Google has taken another step to take your local marketing efforts easier and more streamlined this 2019 Summer with their new local marketing kit. This ties in nicely in your Google My Business (GMB) profile.

Create custom posters, social posts, and more from reviews and highlights on your Business Profile on Google. All for free.

From the new Google Marketing Kit

In addition, it provides video and promotion options.

This Google-provided video is currently pretty cheesy, yet gives options including easily embedding the YouTube video within your content such as this blog. As of yet, I don’t know if you can customize this.

Another new opportunity is pre-made (social) Google Posts. They also give you the option to share these on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, plus a downloading option for you to share wherever in your content you feel relevant.

The current examples they seem to have are a bit generic, but I see them useful for filler Google Posts. My mind may change tomorrow, although I don’t see these as useful for Facebook and Twitter. I’d rather see updates that tell more of a story. But maybe that’s just me. Example:

Google Social Images
Google Social Images

If you’re a restaurant, hotel, or any other business prone to potential positive reviews, this is certainly worth filler posts.

At an enterprise level with multiple listings, this opportunity is a must with proper management. For stand alone local businesses, I have a couple reservations.

The best (or worst) part of it is that Google owns all the data. Yep, they still own the local search content you provide. For this, they even own the analytics although they show you an overview in your GMB panel. I only imagine that they use all of this to help calculate your overall authority in the results, and indirectly, your rankings in the local 3-pack.

Google does get info for these based on both content you provide in your own free Google My Business (GMB) profile combined with ratings or your organization.

very-friendly
New Small Thanks with Google Replacement?

I was a huge fan of the Small Thanks with Google Site that gave you free posters to showcase the positive things customers say about you, but the site’s now down. There’s no redirect and is now just a broken 404 page. The above-mentioned Google local marketing kit seems to be the replacement along with the other opportunities.

Google has a pretty strict policy regarding obtaining user reviews, and a lot of fantastic articles have been written regarding this. In a nutshell, soliciting positive reviews is bad. Reminding people they can leave honest reviews is good. Google is now showcasing the latter with new window decals.

Review us on Google
Review us on Google

Have you or your company/organization used the Google Local Marketing kit yet? We’d love to hear your experiences!

Google Maps Icons

7 Tips to Enhance 360° and Still Photos for Google My Business (GMB) Profiles

If you’re new to Street View photography to enhance your Local Search (local SEO) chops, there are some good ways to embrace this and learn while enhancing Google My Business (GMB) profiles. Seriously! If you’ve already mastered this, hopefully this will give you some additional insights. Here are 7 tips to improve your Google My Business (GMB) Street-View and virtual tour (VT) photography skills.

  • Practice, practice, practice. If you’re just starting you need 50 Google published 360° Street View photos. Once you’ve done this, it can take a good month or so to be added to their Street View For Hire page. Here’s the app for you to get started.
  • Keep your clients informed from the start. The more knowledge they have benefits everyone. Whether it’s for interior VTs for showcasing navigation inside their location, or external 360° photos to imply directions to them helps them determine their strategy.
  • Remember the sun. This seems obvious, but a bright sun can reduce photo quality no matter what camera you use. I recently had a great exterior view towards the south. It was noon and had to delete the 360° because I couldn’t escape the bright rays.
  • Charge up beforehand. If you’re using a Ricoh Theta V or similar 360° camera, the battery can run low fast if you’re taking a lot of photos… at least in a Minnesota winter. It’s always a good idea to bring a laptop and external charger to charge both your 360° camera and smartphone. This has saved me more than once.
  • For stills, don’t be afraid of Portrait mode. As much as I absolutely despise iStocky type photos, focusing in front while blurring the background can work if it’s obvious that the photos taken are real and of the location. Example:
optometry-gear

Real Optometry Instruments at a Local Clinic

  • Add descriptions to each still photo. The photos themselves can be very compelling, but adding a description can help you tell a story for them, or imply directions and specific entrances to a building.
  • Transfer photo rights! This is a selling point for me. Just like any business or organization should 100% own their website, they should also own their GMB photos. Example:
Partial Screenshot of ODG in Minneapolis

Partial Screenshot of a 360 photo showing ODG as the owner

The photo name still comes up as myself, although the important photo credit belongs to ODG.

Thoughts? Comment here or let us know via Facebook or Twitter!


LocalMN provides Google trusted Street View photography as well as local search consulting and implementation. Contact us to learn more.

Google Maps Icons

LocalMN 101: Creating a Google My Business (GMB) Presence with Maps Photography

Creating Your GMB

Creating a Google My Business profile has long been well-known as a local search must, even before your own website and for good reasons. Do a branded search for your local business, and chances are there’s a big knowledge box result for you whether you claimed, or verified it or not. You can create or edit your own. It’s easy and awesome.

Partial Localmn Knowledge box. These are awesome. A home page of your business, if you will.

Your Google My Business (GMB) profile is now often considered the home page for your local business. It makes sense. It’s highly visible, includes a link to your website, appointments or bookings, your own customized photos, including 360° photos, managing ratings and reviews, POSTS, and a lot more, actually.

Google Photos and Maps Photography

Organizing photos in Google Photos is a great starting point after claiming your business. They make it easy for you to edit your photos to your preference, and place them on your GMB profile.

Organized Google Albums to Minneapolis

Organized Google Albums Minneapolis for GMB or other uses

You can title each album for your own organization, describe each picture, and automatically have your deets stored in exact location taken, camera used, date and time, and even exact size. Photo proof of your own!

Eventually, when you need photos for your GMB presence, you can be comforted at looking at your photos account like a switchboard. Look at an album, select a photo, use them as your profile, cover, logo, and POSTS.

We consider Maps Photography as quality photos with the intent to drive customers to your door. Include photos of your address, cross street signs and exterior 360° photos can imply and provide customers visual directions to you. Directions is arguably what the majority of customers are seeking.

360° Photo: Sign of the Mayo Clinic Gonda Building, reflection of downtown Rochester, move to view Methodist Hospital, the Kahler Grand and 2nd Ave SW.

After awhile, you’ll see that you’ll have enough real digital photos to use, without having to pay for fake stock photos. You know the ones. They’re attractive, with a smiling person pointing to a graph that goes up. Seriously, they’re horrible! An exception goes to Vince Vaughn and Dave Franco courtesy of @Buzz60 a few years ago, but I digress.

These photos can easily be done with a few photo and editing tactics. You could include your own staff, being serious, or being cleverly comedic like above by including a local celebrity. I’ve never met The Fancy Ray, but I’m a fan and love his local commercials and outdoor billboards. I’d love to see him in local stock photos like this. Again, I digress.

With a Street View app, (preferably along with a compatible 360° camera), you can create these photos publicly as long as Google accepts them to Maps. These are stored within your Street View app. Plus they can appear on your Google My Business profile, as well as providing an short, embedded code for you to include to media, social profiles, and content marketing strategies such as your blog.

Back to your Google Photos and albums. You can easily edit any photo on mobile or desktop. Often, it can just be by selecting Auto to bring the photo to life a bit like this one at On-Demand Group. There are plenty of other edits that make your photos pop, and auto is just one of the more popular ones.

ODG Rooftop

On Demand Group Rooftop in Minneapolis

We hope this helps your local business or organization. Happy Maps Photography to you all. Skål!


Localmn Interactive provides Maps Photography services including Google Trusted Street View Photography, Google Trusted Verifier and Local Search in general Contact us to learn more!

We’re Now Google Trusted Verified!

In addition and to compliment our Google Street View Trusted Photography status, we’re also now a Google Trusted Verifier.

Google My Business (GMB)

This makes your time more valuable by having someone come out to immediately verify your business to GMB, take photos and 360° virtual tours, consult you with Google Posts, GMB Insights. So often, people will set up their GMB correctly and adequately, although don’t take full advantage of this free tool for you DIYers. For agencies, we’re looking to add this to your mix for local search services.

When we come out to visit your Twin Cities location, we come with these ready-to-use icons, literally right on the Google Pixel 2:

Google Maps Icons

We forté in being flexible. If you just need GMB verification, we do this. If you need verification plus setup, photos, 360° Virtual Tours, Google Posts insights, and overall GMB consulting, we also do this, and we do it well.

4-hour consultations for you and your business (at your location) are available for this and is definitely time well spent. From there, you can decide to hire us on a more permanent level or go your own way with the confidence to DIY.

Side note: This is proudly available for physical businesses and organizations in Minnesota. Transportation expenses outside of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area TBD. We are Minnesota. 

Contact us Minnesota, and lets get verified! Skål!

Single Lane on Nicollet

Businesses and Community Along Nicollet Open Streets Minneapolis

One thing I look forward to when going to Open Streets events is to look at local businesses and community involvement along the routes. Open Streets Minneapolis – Nicollet is amongst my favorite. On a single lane street that’s usually too dangerous for drivers to view anything other than the road, these local businesses are often overlooked. It’s encouraging to see them all on foot, especially if they have an event presence in front of their storefront.

Businesses

I’ve been to the St. Paul Selby Revival a few times but not the one in Minneapolis. It’s right on the Open Streets Nicollet route and they engaged with the community by having different bands play throughout the day. I believe that the Minneapolis Revival chicken and waffles are available everyday and not just Sunday, but maybe someone could confirm or deny in the comments. Transit is a good way to get here, too. The 11 and 18 Metro Transit buses take you right here along with the Nicollet and Blaisdell Ave bike lanes that cover the jaunt.

Band setting up outside the Minneapolis Revival

Band setting up outside the Minneapolis Revival

Curran’s Family Restaurant has been a comfort food staple for decades and is right on the route. Like Revival, the 11 Metro Transit bus and Nicollet and Blaisdell bike lanes take you right there. There’s a parking lot as well for drivers. They have what’s known as the tastiest Monte Cristo. They could’ve displayed for free in their own parking lot, but paid for the honor to be on the street in front of their own restaurant. I’m not a fan of this charge.

However, they were selling cookies and beer on the street and were kind enough to let me take a quick photo of them. They even offered to let my phone juice up with one of their chargers, but I digress.

Curran's Crew

Curran’s Crew outside of Curran’s Family Restaurant

Nicollet Hardware on Nicollet is a welcoming community store and community presence for the Nicollet Open Streets. Also, the most Minnesotan Google review and response you may find this week.

Nicollet Hardware

The most Minnesotan response to a review you’ll see this week

Here’s a visual example of using their space as part of the Open Streets Community.

Nicollet Hardware

Nicollet Hardware presence at Open Streets Mpls – Nicollet

The patio at Pat’s Tap is welcoming for events like Open Streets, general people watching, of course their food, and the day of the event, Lagunitas specials. Like other Nicollet Ave businesses, it’s really easy to get to by transit, foot, or bike lanes.

Pat's Tap

Pat’s Tap and Lagunitas food and drink specials

Protip: For you businesses and orgs on the Open Streets University of Minnesota + Motley route, consider a Google Post to help cross-brand your business along with the event.

Awareness

I’m always interested in learning how a few things tick, especially when it comes to bringing neighborhoods together in all four seasons. The Samatar Crossing post comes to mind as I’ve now used it a few times for either walking transportation or to see a soccer match at Currie Field.

The Art in Public Places group were kind enough to show me the plan for the Green Crescent project and greenspace between Lake Street and the Midtown Greenway, just off the new-to-be Lake Street Transit Center. Just like the Samatar Crossing, they would be looking for public artists to help make it engaging through the greenspace. Open Streets is one way they’re getting the word out.

Art in Public Places

Green Crescent calling for public artists between Lake St. and the Midtown Greenway

Little did I know, most benches in the city are from US Bench. For revenue, they sell advertisements highly visible on the bench itself for transit users. I guess this isn’t new, but didn’t know that one company provided most of these. According to one esteemed councilperson, they the Clear Channel billboards of benches and can possibly be used this winter to help build awareness for the Our Streets Winter Sidewalk Maintenance study and initiative.

 

US Bench

US Bench – Clear Channel billboards of benches

Pets

There’s always something special about taking a day to dedicate a city street to those to walk, bike, roll, stroll, eat, drink, and play. It’s all about the community, especially those with 4 legs. Often, the popular question, “can I bring my dog (or pet)” to Open Streets?”. Of course you can, they don’t worry about traffic, road diets, or infrastructure, and they’re cute, dangit.

Least Dangerous Staredown

Least Dangerous Staredown

Doggie hanging out in the sun

Doggie hanging out in the sun

Music

Music bonds people together. It makes sense that multiple musicians are always lined up. Pick your genre and you’ll mostly find it right on a street corner or a makeshift stage. Hot Pink Hangover played a a few acoustical sets on the NW corner of Nicollet and 35th.

Hot Pink Hangover playing an acoustic set

Hot Pink Hangover playing an acoustic set

Sgt. Danny was cool enough to show me his cajon box drum along with his foot tambourine.

Cajon Box Drum

Cajon Box Drum

These guys played right by the Driftwood Char Bar on the 44th block of Nicollet. They put on a great show including the accordion player/singer swinging his accordion like a flying-V guitar at times.

Band playing by the Driftwood

Band playing by the Driftwood

Roadrunner Records always has some kind of outside presence. The last time I was here, they were selling vintage albums. This band outside was really catchy. I didn’t catch their name, but if you know please let us know in the comments!

Band outside or Roadrunner Records

Band outside or Roadrunner Records

Community Engagement (fun!)

Where else can you close off a main street and play life-sized Jenga on the side?

Life sized Jenga at Open Streets

Life sized Jenga at Open Streets

And there’s bike polo right on Nicollet. Better than car traffic.

Bike Polo on Nicollet

Bike Polo on Nicollet

Our friends Beth and Tim helping people out at the Streets.mn booth.

Beth and Tim keeping the Streets.mn fort down

Beth and Tim keeping the Streets.mn fort down

Of course, there were plenty of runners enjoying the event’s Run for Beer 5K-ish.

5k-ish Run for Beers participants

5k-ish Run for Beers participants

If you’re interested in sponsoring, getting a spot or volunteering for the upcoming Open Streets University of Minnesota + Motley Open Streets, you certainly can. I look forward to attending the event as I’ve never been to one at this location.

More photos were originally taken for this post. If you like, there’s a shared Google Photos album for you to see as you please!

Article originally posted on Streets.mn


LocalMN Interactive provides content marketing marketing and local search services to the Twin Cities area communities.

Grain Belt Sign

Happy New Year and Let’s Make 2018 Inviting!

Happy New Year, folks and here’s to your new goals, inviting customers and happy times! It’s a chilly January so far, but there’s a reason we all live here. Even in the Winter, we enjoy the Winter Carnival, skiing/boarding anywhere from Theo Wirth to Lutsen, U.S. Pond Hockey Championship or even ice fishing… if that last one is your thing.

U.S. Pond Hockey Championship

Your Site. Your Door.

It’s not just a tagline. It’s what we do! We help make you look awesome. The first part of 2018, we’ll be finishing a small rebrand, or added services as we’ve honed in even more in both experience and expertise. To celebrate, we’ll be offering January discounts for new customers. Just contact us.

From web vision to measured web solutions, we have exceptional WordPress design and development, certified advertising credentials and branded social media for you and your company at your door. Really. We’re local.

WordPress and WinterIn 2018, your customers are more web savvy than ever. They know when they want to see your fast, beautiful site, your Facebook Page, Twitter presence, ratings and reviews, maps and directions and real photos.

This is where we hope to meet you. Do you just need a custom website redesign with usability? Or, do you need local site marketing including local listings, voice search consulting, 360 photos, and even virtual tours? If you’re local, we could be a perfect match.

Contact us and be inviting, be swift, be mobile.

Minneapolis Skyline

Traveling Like a Local – Minneapolis/St. Paul

The Twin Cities, some people call it, as well as “The Cities” to Minnesotans out of the metro area. Mill City, City of Lakes in Minneapolis, and Hockeytown in St. Paul are others. Each nickname holds its own merit, we’ll visit some of these in this piece as well as numerous other places to enjoy during your stay in Minneapolis/St. Paul. There are just so many local places to see with a story to tell and many of them are free or low cost.

MSP Airport

Terminal 1 Light Rail Station

Free rides between Terminal 1 and 2

You’ll most likely fly into the MSP International Airport. Fly into Terminal 2. Sun Country, our  “hometown” airline flies in and out of there, and it’s a much smaller terminal so the lines are shorter resulting in less time spent at the airport.

There are different options for leaving the airport including shuttles, car rentals, car-sharing companies like Uber or Lyft, buses that leave Terminal 1 or a favorite, Light Rail Transit (LRT). For convenience, the Light Rail is free of charge between the 2 terminals and they run as often as every 10 minutes.

The Light Rail is also the easiest option to get to both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, although there’s no direct line to St. Paul and it will take longer. As in 90 minutes. Then, it’s all the better as you can often connect to wi-fi signals while riding. Either way, you can take the Blue Line all the way to Downtown Minneapolis or switch trains at the U.S. Bank Stadium station to catch the Green Line into St. Paul.

Mill City District

In Minneapolis, Mill City is an unofficial district nestled against the Mississippi River. While there, consider taking in your favorite ice cream treat at the local Izzy’s and a walk up or down West River Parkway. The lights are pretty, the people are engaging and the bridges are a work of art.

Hennepin Ave Bridge

Hennepin Ave Bridge and its Reflection

Bicyclist West River Parkway

Bicyclist enjoying the early evening down by the river

The Parkway area is an urban planner’s dream. A street with a slow speed limit, separate walking plus biking paths, public art and precise landscaping make this both beautiful and functional. When walking around this neighborhood, it’s hard not to say hello, engage in short conversation or wave. It’s a Minnesota thing to do. And of course my new friend wanted to give me a smile and peace sign.

The Nicollet

You’ll find captivating streets throughout the whole Twin Cities area, perhaps none more present than one you can’t drive on. “The Nicollet” up until November 2017 was called Nicollet Mall. After a 3-year reconstruction project and rebranding exercise, the city changed the name. It’s beautiful, modern and worth the walk up and down to have food and drink, shop, or see areas of interest.

Dakota Jazz Club on The Nicollet

Dakota Jazz Club on The Nicollet

Toward the South end of The Nicollet lies The Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant. The Dakota has been a really well-known and respected fine dining and jazz club since 1985. It’s somewhat of a secret to even locals, but Prince used to sneak in a back door and move around at his own free will and just enjoy the music on stage.

The nearby Minnesota Orchestra speaks for itself. Take in a show! They have performances all year around (opens PDF) and are world-renowned. It’s a can’t-miss and is located on 11th and Nicollet.

Take a selfie with the Mary Tyler Moore statue on 7th and Nicollet. Yep, even the locals do it. It’s back at its prime location.

A must is to head off The Nicollet a couple blocks to First Avenue and see Prince’s star. He’s a local hero, put Minneapolis on the map musically, and the set and settings of the movie Purple Rain was at this venue. It’s humbling to look at his star and just think. Think as if nothing around matters. Just think.

Prince Star at First Avenue

Day after Prince’s passing

A 360 view of the venue:

Outside downtown is the temporary home of Minnesota United at TCF Bank Stadium. The soccer there is contagious and the fans are excited with their European-style flag waving and chants.

Nordeast Mpls

A true, local and engaging neighborhood is the Northeast (Nordeast) Minneapolis Arts District. You can find all you need right on or off 13th Ave NE. Pick your place:

  • Dangerous Man Brewing Company – A craft brewery in a customary neighborhood is a total Minnesotan thing to have. Their story is compelling and their beards are out to get you.
  • Northeast Social – Continental cuisine and exceptional mixologists. Tip: Have the mixologist create something with dill aquavit. It’s a Scandinavian and Minnesotan treat and your palate will leave happy. Last July, I couldn’t help but head to Twitter to mention a delicious scallops appetizer.
  • 331 Club – Divey, vintage club with live music 7 days a week. Favorite Google Review quote: “To our amazement, it was the best nerd party we had ever seen and had to quickly join.”
  • Bunny’s Bar & Grill NE – Nestled by the Mississippi River, it’s a newer sports bar. Tip: The Walleye Fingers is a total Minnesotan thing to try. While you’re there, take a few steps to Sheridan Memorial park, take a selfie by the metal orb and share for social proof. The park itself is on a trail with great neighborhood views of the Mississippi.
  • Gumball Boutique – A hidden gem, Gumball is a cozy consignment shop with locally-made everything.

Pan-Seared Scallops App

Pan-seared scallops w/ Pork Belly appetizer

Cathedral Hill, St. Paul

Across the river sits St. Paul, a trip worthy all in its own. After all, it is called the most livable city in America. If you go to the Cathedral Hill neighborhood and take a James.J. Hill House tour, you’ll know more area history than many locals. The family were railroad pioneers, or “empire builders”, responsible for the majority of railroad that went out to the West coast. A couple fun facts are that the Hill family were very similar to the Rockefellers with one exception. The Hill family didn’t put their name on stuff. The second? The house is built on the top of Cathedral Hill. Guests would enter in the front, and leave in the back which is twice as large looking down the hill to leave guests with one, lasting, prestigious memory.

Back from Hill House

Down Cathedral Hill from the James J. Hill house

While on the hill, walk down Summit Ave. You’ll pass the Governor’s mansion as well as hundreds of other homes that are considered Victorian mansions. You’ll see regular folks working on their lawn or shoveling their driveway in the winter. Give ‘em a friendly wave and they’ll always wave back. It’s just a Minnesota thing to do. We joke about being called “Minnesota Nice”, but it’s true. We are.

Hockeytown

Amateur Hockey at Xcel

Adult amateur hockey at Xcel

People here are born with skates on, and of course there is the Wild. In addition to professional hockey games, they do have organized scrimmages for adults. There’s not much better of a feeling than playing hockey on that big sheet of ice, albeit in front of about 12 fans making up of spouses and children.

Now, think hockey meets obstacle course meets skiing and you have Crashed Ice. They have a professional course every year that starts on Cathedral Hill and ends down the hill towards downtown. Literally the best in the world qualify to compete in this event with over 100,000 celebrated fans in attendance lining the course. It’s exciting, thrilling and admittedly impossible to get home as everyone leaves at once.

Here’s what it looked like a week before the event after a rainfall. Yep, the temp did drop in time.

Crashed Ice Track

Crashed Ice track a week before the event

And during the event.

Packed Crashed Ice

Packed Crashed Ice

Around the Capital City

  • Go to St. Thomas and catch a Div. III football game at O’Shaughnessy Stadium in the perfect environment and cheer amongst the most loyal of fans.
  • Catch a Juicy Lucy at The Nook. Everything about this place is Minnesotan, including the burger with cheese oozing out from the inside.
  • The Minnesota State Fair. Technically, Falcon Heights. It only happens once a year, but if you’re here during that time, just go. Go and naturally create your own wonderful story to tell. My favorite treat? Snowii Shaved Ice. It’s Minnesota-based, and it’s sweaty-hot in August.

Snowii Shaved Ice

Snowii Shaved Ice at the State Fair’s West End

Getting Around the TC

East Bank Light Rail Station

East Bank Light Rail station

Take a Nice Ride bicycle. The Twin Cities is one of the most friendly bicycle cities in the U.S. Take a bike for an hour or a day at one of over 200 local stations. Here’s a station full of bikes on St. Anthony Main.

Definitely buy a Metro Transit pass or fare and take the Light Rail back and forth to Minneapolis, St. Paul and the airport. While on the trains, check out the public art at each station.

If on the Blue Line, hop off at the Cedar/Riverside station and walk across the street to Currie Park. There may just be a good soccer game being played.

On your way back to the airport, hop off the Bloomington Central Light Rail stationand take the walkway to Urbana Craeft Kitchen and Market, inside the Hyatt Regency. Ask for Nick the Bartender and have him serve you up a locally-sourced bison burger, house-made chips and a local, craft beer.

That’s a perfect end, and you’ll now leave happy. Wave as you leave and thanks from the Twin Cities for sharing your experience with us!

Hennepin and Washington

Life as a Google Local Guide – Lev Livet

A day as a Google Local Guide is pretty much living your life as anyone else. You get up, go about your day and be aware of your potential opportunities to hopefully add useful local content. When updating this content, and with a smart phone in hand it hardly takes any time to update some local on the fly.

Washington Square

Just a couple weeks ago I added a photo I recently took to help showcase the renovated 100 Washington Square building with the newer Penny’s Coffee inside. That corner took on renovation and built the coffee shop right in the building with just delicious crepes. This is fantastic for our neighborhood and the businesses within.

First, a brief history. Local Guides started out as Google’s City Experts program in 2013 with the intention of competing with Yelpers, mostly to bring in higher quality business ratings and reviews to Google+. The benefits were simple. You occasionally got free stuff. We like free stuff.

In early 2015, Google brought over the name “Local Guides” with more of a community feel. Benefits were more structured and multi-leveled based depending on the quality and quantity of reviews and other information provided.

Local Guides became more passionate, worldwide, with a proud user-base knowing they did their small part on making the web better and help engaging with the public to why users would want to visit their area. Diwali celebration, anyone?Hennepin Ave Bridge

I often do this at a hyper-local level. I love and am involved with the neighborhood and Ward I live in and want to do my part to showcase it whether it’s businesses, organizations or areas of interest within. How many bridges can stake their claim as the first bridge to span the Mississippi River (while sportin’ my Gophers hat, of course)?

This all doesn’t go without its hiccups. There are still a few Local Guides who update content just for the reason to gain points and receive whatever the “benefits of the month” are. As well, there are guides who often even inadvertently fix current listings uploaded by aggressive marketers trying to game the “ranking” system. In my opinion, both of these come with the territory.

The core intent is still the same, to give users local information including reviews, photos and other information of places to visit and buy. The optimization is always there too, with local proximity giving arguably the highest notch, which it should, to how visible a location to the user happens to be. Someone asked me about Map Maker. I don’t know if this is a planned enhancement to their now-closed product, or if I’ll ever know.

Check the Facts

Since, Google gave Level 4+ Guides on Android the opportunity to check local facts and answer yes/no questions about locations. Now this feature is open to everyone and my guess it’s to help jump-start accurate local business information. This only gives 1 point to guides although given the ease-of-use and small time spent to verify is probably the right number. It’s prone to point-spam.

Local Guides have been popular enough in its own niche, and they just had their 2nd annual invite-only Local Guides Summit held in San Francisco. Eligibility requirements were to be (then) a Level 5 Guide, have proactive community/portal involvement in Connect and a minute-long video application sent in to why you should be selected to attend.


I was not selected.

Recently, they’ve invited people to share accessibility knowledge by answering yes/no wheelchair questions. People can use this approach and/or imply this feature on photos taken like I did in just over a minute at Target Field Station. The stadium already works well with the ADA and this enhancement can help make the game-day experience just that much better.

Wheelchair Access - Target Field Station

Wheelchair Access – Target Field Station

Through it all, the only constant is change. They’re always changing benefits and adding initiatives to help showcase your community. Local Guides will always be there. At least, the concept certainly will. Just like true Google fashion, they may be prone to change the name after awhile. They may continue to push forward with it or there may be a time where local content is fulfilled enough that they’ll move it more into a maintenance type of program. Nonetheless, is this something that you’ll be using either for yourself, neighborhood, or your clients?

North Loop Minneapolis

Google Maps and Street View Photos in the North Loop

Today’s #mspwalk is in the Minneapolis North Loop area to showcase the neighborhood, stills and indoor and outdoor Street View photos we offer at LocalMN. It was longer and split up into 2 walks for a little over 8 miles on gmap-pedometer as I needed to recharge my iPhone.

gmap-pedometer

Red Cow North Loop – The first Google review I saw happens to be from myself a year ago.

Spacious, modern, tasty, decently priced for the neighborhood. Their soft pretzel app has a sweetness that I haven’t tasted before.

Their North Loop page could use an updated title and meta description, but I digress.

Red Loop North Loop Title and Meta Description

 

Per their Facebook page, The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts is the Twin Cities’ newest venue for dance and the performing arts! As well, it’s a half block from the Light Rail. There’s even breakdance performance according to a Google reviewer.

Amazing theater. I saw some AMAZING breakdance there, and it was RAW; the hip-hop there wasn’t anything like competition dance, or jazz-choreographer-trys-hip-hop style of performance, it was straight off the old school beat-street.

In addition to the house that Prince built, plenty of local artists proudly have their own star on the First Avenue wall.

First Avenue Wall

 

 

 

 

Odonovans Pub

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Per above, on a triangular corner in the middle of pretty much everything sits O’Donovan’s Pub. A true Irish pub, Dropkick Murphys have even played there years ago.

The Target Field Station is what I would consider the transportation hub of North Loop/Warehouse District with the Light Rail, Northstar, Target Field and Center all pretty much there. As well, catch the skyway there to go almost anywhere downtown. From Cedar Lake Trail just north of the station:

Target Field StationTarget Field Station

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Nice Ride station on Washington and 2nd Ave. N.

Mississippi River and area of interest at the North Loop Playground.

As well, here are quite a few additional photos of the walk. All are on 2 shared Google albums for you to view, add, share, etc.

Friday Morning

Friday Afternoon


Post, stills and 360 photos from LocalMN and feel free to see our Google Trusted Street View Photographer page as well as us on your social media channels of choice for our services. We look forward to hearing from you.

Gateway Park

Dex Acquires YP – Back to Yellow Pages Delivery 2.0 or a Welcome Merger?

On the record, they don’t call it a merger, or consolidation, or especially print spam. An acquisition? Definitely. From the new DexYP site:

By acquisition, do you mean merger?
No. Dex Media has completed the acquisition of YP and now controls the newly-formed DexYP.

Nonetheless, I live and work in the 3rd Ward of Minneapolis. It’s a dynamic and diverse community that proudly comes together at one.

  • We’re home to thriving local businesses, arts, cultural diversity, a national park and both the first and fastest growing Minneapolis neighborhood.
  • We are collectively smart, real and sexy and can easily sniff out the most thinly veiled attempt at deceptive and overly-aggressive sales practices.
  • Big-box associations like the Local Search Association (formerly the Yellow Pages Association) are welcome and should do just fine here with their phone-ringing sales force-driven industry.

Just don’t come back and litter our neighborhood with your print book spam again.

Why do I say this? From the Dex Moving Forward Site again…

Will the new company be moving away from print?
DexYP remains committed to print. Importantly, this acquisition provides us with an enhanced platform on which to manage our print directories profitably.

Why now?
We now have an enhanced platform on which we can manage our print directories business profitably.

And… well, there’s always this.

Dex Yellow Pages - 08/01/11This was actually 6 years ago. Luckily, so far we are in our 3rd consecutive year without being littered. But it wasn’t easy, they stood ground and we’re a little weary from the above and other quotes on how the new DexYP is being bullish on their print delivery like this winner of a pile.

The new CEO either understands this happened all the time or bullies his way into telling customers and his sales reps these situations never existed. I don’t know that answer to that one. This LinkedIn feed may help answer this for you though.

Nonethess, they’re also implying that SaaS companies will disrupt their sales reps in their local selling sales.

Some may call this “service that disrupts sales reps”, but I digress.

Local Search Association Tweet

 

 

 

The webinar is now over, but this can be another chicken or the egg argument. Did they originate local marketing to go along with SaaS offerings or are they just chasing the $10 Billion global revenue stream from different SaaS and local companies who’ve been offering this for years?

They’ll certainly enter our neighborhood with feet on the pavement. Just remember again, our neighborhood is smart, real and sexy and can easily sniff out the most thinly veiled attempt at deceptive and overly-aggressive sales practices.

Just don’t come back and litter our neighborhood with your print book spam again.