One of the best things about LocalU Advanced is getting to spend time with with friends with whom we have mostly online relationships - people we've met on Twitter or Facebook or who we chat with in the LocalU forum or other social places or only see a few times a year at conferences.
Recently at LocalU Advanced in New Orleans, forum member Olivier Campeau of the Canadian marketing firm Concept Oriel was generous enough to share a new free Local Search tool the agency developed to help them with their work. It's based on the Google Maps API and lucky for all of us, they are generously willing to share it with everyone. It starts with choosing whether you wish to find duplicates or competitor information via a simple form. It works for Canadian and US businesses. Here are Olivier's insights:
This tool lets you search for a business and shows you all duplicate Google listings about that business.
You can then click on a button to visit the Google Maps listing and solve your duplicate listing issues.
Today (Nov 30, 2016) Olivier sent me this note on an update recently made:
This tool lets you search for a business and you can see on a map some of its closest competitors in terms of geography.
You can also see the reviews of your competitors (only the last 5 reviews, since Google does not give us more, but if you click on the button for Google Maps, you can see them all). You can then compare the reviews for a business vs a competitor's. You can also analyse the relevance of publication date for the reviews (ex: business with last 3 reviews are 1 star vs. business with last 3 reviews are 5 stars). We found out by analyzing a couple of businesses with this tool that this sort of metric influences ranking.
You can also look at all the geographic terms that Google associates with a business. This is very important in our eyes. You can have access to all the different names that Google associates with an area or neighbourhood, and you can compare those terms with the competitors of a business. This can help fine tune a local search strategy. This tool uses the category of the business, listed on Google My Business, to help identify the competitors. A wrong choice of category might unfortunately provide wrong results.
Finally, this tool only works with businesses that have a street address. A business that does not publish an address (only provides service at their customer’s place) cannot be found with this tool. But we’ll see what can be done about them in the future.
We plan in the upcoming months to include the local pack ranking of all competitors on this tool. These tools are a work in progress, and we’ll improve them and add some more as time goes by.
After the LocalU Advanced event, Olivier sent this note to us:
I was in New Orleans for the LocalU event last month, and I really enjoyed my day. With what I brought home, I was able to convince my boss to renew our subscription to LocalU. I wanted to let you know. Looking forward for the next event. Keep up the good work!
Thanks, Olivier. We look forward to seeing you again, too! And I'll just let our readers guess about what they may have missed in New Orleans from these photos.