Friday night link-o-rama

Filed in Google, Local Search by Matt McGee on August 18, 2006 0 Comments

Here’s a healthy dose of weekend reading…

Hats off to Lee Odden and crew for a nice re-design on his Online Marketing Blog.

Google Analytics is open to all. A lot of people have mixed feelings about Google Analytics, myself included. I use it on my wife’s real estate web site. I won’t use it on some other sites I own (including this one). The fear many people have is that Google can watch you — they know everything about your traffic, your visitors, you name it. Okay, well, if you have a Gmail account or if you use AdWords or AdSense, Google is watching you. If you setup a personalized Google home page, they can watch you. If you search Google while logged in, they can watch you. If all this creeps you out, don’t sign up to use Analytics on your site. But here’s a slice of reality: most of us aren’t interesting enough for Google to care. And the fact remains that Analytics is the best stats program that many small businesses can access. Do some research and decide if that’s you.

Ever wonder if those user reviews on travel sites (and local search sites) make a difference to a company’s bottom line? If you read Gord Hotchkiss’ recent article on MediaPost (registration req’d), you’ll see that they can. Gord writes about a man named Gassime, who runs a small hotel in Florence, Italy. Gord had a wonderful visit there recently.

Apparently, our experience at the Hotel Europa is not unique. We picked it because of similar testimonials on sites like TripAdvisor. In fact, if you search for Hotel Europa online, you’ll find a litany of kudos for Gassime. As we were checking in, a lady from the States asked me if we’d picked the hotel because of TripAdvisor. When I said yes, she said she had as well. She was traveling with a fairly large group. Although Gassime has never sought fame, by quietly doing his job and providing exceptional service, fame has found him.

Great reviews can make a business, and bad reviews can break ’em. As searchers learn to rely more heavily on local search and various search verticals, I think you’ll see reviews become a bigger part of the conversion equation.

And finally, Dave Shea talks about Parallels, the software that lets you run Windows on a Mac.

I’m becoming more and more convinced that the new Intel-based Macs are the ultimate web designer’s companion, and I’m clearly not alone in my thinking. Unix, OS X, and Windows all together in a convenient glossy white plastic finish? Sign me up.

Me, too. I love my Macbook….

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