Video Deep Dive: What Goes On at a Local U Advanced
Mike Blumenthal


This is the second installment this year of our Deep Dive Into Local series. In our Deep Dive series, we take a closer look at one thing in local that caught our attention and deserves a longer discussion. It was published first in the Local U Forum (paywall).

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In anticipation of the upcoming MozCon Local + Local U Advanced in Seattle on February 27th and 28th, this week’s Deep Dive with Aaron Weiche, Mike and Mary looks at our last Local U Advanced in New Orleans; what we thought was useful and what we felt was particularly informative. For more information about the upcoming MozCon/LocalU Event see the full agenda.


Aaron: In our Deep Dive today we’ll be talking about our Advanced event that was in New Orleans; a fantastic event, greet meeting so many of the people that participate in our forum and follow along and everything else. But I would love to just discuss with you guys what are some of the things you feel people were really talking about and some of the presentations that maybe had the most impact at LocalU Advanced in New Orleans.

Mike: Why don’t you kick it off, Mary?

Mary: Cindy Krum always blows me away because she knows so much stuff that I don’t even know exists. And she can explain it in really good detail. She was talking about how things are changing so much more rapidly than any of us can even comprehend, and how mobile and the growth of technology and computing is going to impact us into the future. That was really eye-opening to me to have a keynote like that, it really pushed me out into the future way beyond where I had been thinking before.

Mike: I really enjoyed David Deering’s talk and his troubleshooting workshop. Even though I understand schema at a conceptual level, it was fun and enjoyable for me to get to understand it — obviously, everybody has schema around business name and address, and that’s not so valuable, Google knows that information about you. But understanding that by tagging reviews and tagging events and tagging all these other things, you actually can put your business a competitive benefit by spoon-feeding this information to Google, particularly for long-tail things like events. And it makes sense to expand in services and products as well, so you can expand Google’s categorical understanding of your business.

Most people think that it’s intrinsic ranking signal. It isn’t. But by structuring your semantic content and detailing what it is — not just where you do it, which everybody’s doing — but what you do can give you a competitive advantage. I thought that was very, very interesting.

Mary: Yes, what I thought was really interesting about that is that how schema relates to entities and by using schema as completely as you possibly can, you’re making all these connections. You’re making very clear, visible connections. Not just, “This is where I am. This is what I do,” but, “These are the people involved with me. These are what other people say about me. This is what critics say about me.”

Mike: Right, “This is the corporate headquarter and here are the sub-entities under it related to it, and here are the social pages for those sub-entities.”

Mary: Right.

Mike: So the knowledge graph does this by itself but I think that the beauty of schema in this regard is, again, giving Google this spoon-fed relationship so that they can keep them straight.

Mary: Agreed.

Mike: How about you, Aaron, what did you find most exciting? Besides my talk! (laughs)

Aaron: I was just gonna say, not to make you feel good about yourself, but I definitely enjoyed your inside-the-laboratory talk. Just piecing together a lot of the semantic things, and the ways to influence them really pulls the levers to make different things happen. And I feel like overall, outside of the presentations, which were just really great, I love when we get together and I can sit down and learn so much from everybody, even though we all see each other’s stuff quite a bit. I felt like moreso than any other event, I really enjoyed a lot of strategic talk at this event, especially from some of the agency folks who were there.

To me, that’s a really good sign. I think we’re such a tactically-based industry in local search because there are so many little tactical elements to block and tackle and do whatever else, but definitely a lot of high-level conversations on where they’re positioning, what they’re doing and how they’re trying to help clients and things like that. Those are a couple of things that, to me, really stuck out and it made me feel good about like the health of our industry! Just people talking conceptually about these types of things instead of just how to game one aspect or over-optimize one aspect.

Mary: Right.

Aaron: Whatever the dead horse of the month is that you can beat, a lot of times we can gravitate towards that. So I really enjoyed that standpoint. It was really refreshing to me and I got a lot of great ideas from other people on some of the things they’re doing and how they’re strategically guiding their clients, and not just tactically trying to execute for them. So it was a really great event. We had a fabulous group of attendees and a ton of great content as you guys all mentioned. From start to finish; it was definitely an event where I was like, “Holy cow, that was awesome.” I’m biased, but I thought it was really awesome.

Mike: On that note, we did videotape it, and we just got them post-processed, and we’re hoping to bring them live in the forum in the next two weeks. You’ll be able to buy access to the whole LocalU Advanced plus one month of forum membership for $399. So those videos will be available hopefully within the next two weeks.

Aaron: On VHS or Beta?

Mike: Speaking of the, interestingly, the big deal in my son’s music world, he’s now in a couple of bands and recording, is cassette. Cassettes are making a huge comeback. Go figure, right? As are vinyl albums are making a huge comeback in audio.

Aaron: Yeah.

Mike: So, you know, maybe VHS and 8-track will see their day again. I don’t know. I don’t think it but I doubt it.

Aaron: I doubt it but it sounds great.

Mike: VHS does not have much to offer.

Mary: It’s just the baby-boomers trying to up the prices on their old junk…

Aaron: Exactly.

Mary: …at the yard sales.

Aaron: I’ve got a shoebox full of mix tapes he can have. He might not like the content on them but I have plenty of cassettes.

Mary: See if they make them dance.

Mike: Are these the ones you sent to Marcy when you were courting?

Aaron: Yeah, no, I was already…I burned CDs for her. That was only 15 years ago, so.

Mike: All right. It sounds good. Well, with that, I just want to thank you for joining me on Last Week in Local. We’ll see you again next week. Bye-bye.

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