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Six years ago we started WebShare with the singular goal of passing on the knowledge and skills we had acquired in Internet marketing to our clients and partnering with them to take their digital strategy to the next level.Over the years we’ve been fortunate to experience tremendous growth that has allowed us to continue to add expertise and experience to the team, including a stable of experts in online advertising, conversion optimization, SEM, social media, and web design.  But the area we’re probably best known for has been our analytics expertise.  Offering a full range of services, from strategy to implementation and training to deep-dive analysis, our team includes thought leaders such as WAA Innovation Award finalists, industry authors, sought after speakers, seasoned trainers, and former Google employees.

Today we take a huge step forward with that growth as we combine the expertise of three of the industry’s top firms to create a world class organization featuring some of digital marketing’s finest minds.  WebShare, VKI Studios, and PublicInsite will be joining forces to give our clients a true one-stop shop for all of their digital needs.  This will provide clients access to a team with exceptional depth and expertise across a broad range of disciplines that include search marketing, usability and conversion testing, web design & development, training, business / competitive intelligence, and more.

Above all, we realize that we could not be where we are today without you – our clients, our team of employees, our partners, and our community.  We would like to sincerely thank you all for being a part of WebShare, and we look forward to what the future brings.

If you’d like to learn more about the merger, we’ve set up a FAQ page, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.  We’ll be blogging, tweeting, posting and conversing from Cardinal Path from here on out, so don’t forget to follow, friend, subscribe and friend.

We couldn’t be more thrilled about our future with Cardinal Path and what it will mean to our clients, partners and team — both current and future!

Signing off from the WebShare blog,

Corey & Dave

UPDATED 10/28/2010

You should be aware that last week Facebook launched Facebook Places. Kinda sounds like Google Places doesn’t it?  This feature is a way for Facebook users to “check in” at the places they are visiting so they can share that information with their friends.  They can also check in the friends they’re with at that same place.  For those of you who are familiar with Foursquare and Gowalla this is essentially the same thing.  The big difference I see is that Facebook is much more popular – a half a billion users more than those two – so this could get big if Facebook doesn’t mess it up.As a business owner, it’s important for you to understand how your business can take advantage of this feature.  If you control your business’s Facebook Place page, you can manage your Place’s address, contact information, business hours, profile picture, admins and other settings. You will be able to advertise it just as you advertise a Facebook Page. However, before you can do anything you need to have control of your business’s Facebook Place.  Here’s how you get that control (note: Facebook’s own instructions are located here):

Locating a Facebook Place:
Log in to your Facebook account (not via a phone), search for your business by typing your business’s name in the usual Facebook search box. If your business’s place already exists on Facebook, click on it. You should know that your Place page is not the same as your business’s Fan Page (if you created one). Try looking for a search result that shows how many “checkins” the place has.If you do not locate your business’s Place page this way, try checking in to the business via a smart phone.  When you successfully complete a check in, there will be a status update on your Facebook profile page that lists where you checked in and the link of your business’s Facebook Place.  Don’t be surprised if you do not find your Facebook Place – many businesses do not have a Facebook Place yet. Skip to “Creating a new Facebook Place” if you still can not locate your Facebook Place at this point.

Claiming a Facebook Place:
1. If you’re lucky enough to find your business’s Facebook Place, click on it to visit.  Then locate the “Is this your business?” link at the bottom left of the page and click it.
2. This link takes you to Facebook’s “claiming flow”. [SEE UPDATE BELOW] It’s similar to other claiming processes in that some of you will need to do a phone verification to validate your are an appropriate representative for your business. It works very differently from other claiming processes when it requires you to supply some “official” documentation to prove your worthiness. You can see what sort of documentation via this screenshot.
UPDATE: Facebook changed their verification process in October 2010 to below. Now you either need to have a company email address listed on your personal Facebook account or provide a scanned document of a utility or phone bill that includes your business’s name and address. Much easier.

Creating a new Facebook Place:
1. The first thing you will need is to be physically present at your business with a smart phone.
2. Download the latest Facebook app for your smart phone.  The iPhone app seems to work the best but you can do it from a Droid (we know – we did it). If apps are not working, you can point your browser to http://touch.facebook.com.3. Once in the app you want to try and check in at your place of business. As you found out in the “Locating a Facebook Place” section, your Facebook Place does not exist.
4. Click the “Add” button to the left of the Places search box or the “+” in the upper right.
5. Enter a name for your Facebook Place as well as an optional description. Then, click the “Add” button.
6. Click the “Check In” button to share your visit.
7. Once you create your Place, search for it again on the “desktop” Facebook, follow the “Is this your business?” link, and begin the process to claiming a Facebook Place (see above).

Finally, I highly advise everyone understand their privacy settings with respect to Facebook Places. This video provides a pretty good overview of what you need to know.

1. Search for your Google Places listing on Google Maps

2. Click one of the two More Info links next to your Google Places details

3. In the upper right corner of the resulting Google Place page click Link


4. In the resulting URL, delete everything after the CID number. Your resulting address should look something like this: http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=4250254080900850257


Now that you have it you can share it with people.  This is a great way to get people to submit reviews for your business against your Google Places listing. Put the link wherever you can put a link (website, email campaign, email signature, social media pages, etc).

One of the most common complaints I hear from business owners about online reviews is that they typically have no way of responding to them publicly. I’ve seen some owners post their own review to try and respond to something a previous reviewer may have said.  It’s true that anyone can post a review about your business but it looks pretty funny when the business owner submits a review of their own business just to make a response. Plus it may put a cloud of suspicion over ALL of your reviews.  It may make readers think, “if the owner is posting a review for this, how do I know all these other positive reviews are not from him as well?”.

As a business owner, you should respond to reviews about your business when you are given the chance. Google recently enabled the ability for owners to publicly respond to reviews from customers on their Google Places page. This is yet another reason to claim your Google Places listing in Google. Other directory sites like Yelp have had this capability for over a year; same for SuperPages, CitySearch, and TripAdvisor to name just a few. Both Google and Yelp give you some good suggestions and guidelines on how to respond appropriately to reviews. The short summary is: be nice and view each review as an opportunity to improve your business.

If the review was not completed via your Google Places page, you may not be able to respond.  For instance, Google will typically import reviews from other sources. You can only respond to reviews given on your Google Places page….unless you have access to the other directory’s listing as well. For example if I own my Yelp listing and I see a Yelp imported review on my Google Places page, I can simply go to Yelp to respond to that review there.  It is yet to be seen whether your response will also get imported by Google though.

You must have your business claimed via Google Places to respond to reviews. Simply login to your Google Places account or go directly to your listing on Google Maps while logged into your Google account in which your Google Places listing is stored against.

The rest is pretty self-explanatory. But remember be nice and view each review as an opportunity to improve your business as “The entire world will be able to read it.”

UPDATE 8/26/2010:

As of today Google is no longer showing Yelp reviews within Google Places.

If you check out the recent post on the Google Lat Long Blog, you will see that Google Maps is rolling out their Google Tags feature across the United States shortly. What the heck are “Google Tags”? Of course if it is something from Google, you can assume it’s another way for you to advertise with them. This specific way is targeted at local businesses.  Google’s goal with Google Tags is to make it simple for the “mom and pop” shop to advertise with them; even more simple than using Google AdWords.  With the trouble that Google Places (formerly Google Local Business Listings) has had in the past in getting business owners correctly listed on the map, I’m not sure it will be that easy out of the gate but it’s good to see the opportunity offered.
Example of Google Tags in Google Search and Maps
Details:

  • Cost = $25/month/listing (need a credit card)
  • You must have claimed your Google Places listing
  • What can you advertise via a Tag? Coupon, video, website, photos, custom message (via the Post feature), or your menu/reservation listing (if applicable to your business)
  • At the time of this writing, Google Tag advertising is only available in California, Atlanta, Austin, Boulder, Chicago, Houston, Seattle, and Washington DC
    • The first states after these will be Texas, Illinois, Georgia, Washington, and Colorado
    • All other states are expected to come online shortly
    • Where do I find out if I can use Tags? Go into your business listings dashboards and look for the feature.

Google tags in Google Places dashboard

Also announced with Google Tags is the ability to advertise locally with its Post feature within your Google Places listing. Your message can be changed whenever you want and are a good way to tell your community about new products, specials, or other recent news about your business. The post will show up only on your Google Places page but as mentioned above, you can advertise your posts via Google Tags. If you elect to do so, your post will also show up in Google search results when your listing appears there.

Posts feature in Google Places dashboard

We would love to hear your feedback on your use of Google Tags for your business.

Local Search / Google Places

Goodbye WebShare, Hello Cardinal Path!

Cardinal Path blog post

Six years ago we started WebShare with the singular goal of passing on the knowledge and skills we had acquired in Internet marketing to our clients and partnering with them to take their digital strategy to the next level.Over the years we’ve been fortunate to experience tremendous growth that has allowed us to continue to … Read Full Post

How to Locate, Claim, or Create your Facebook Place for your Business

Cardinal Path blog post

UPDATED 10/28/2010 You should be aware that last week Facebook launched Facebook Places. Kinda sounds like Google Places doesn’t it?  This feature is a way for Facebook users to “check in” at the places they are visiting so they can share that information with their friends.  They can also check in the friends they’re with … Read Full Post

Getting a direct link to your Business's Google Maps listing or Google Places Page

Cardinal Path blog post

1. Search for your Google Places listing on Google Maps 2. Click one of the two More Info links next to your Google Places details 3. In the upper right corner of the resulting Google Place page click Link 4. In the resulting URL, delete everything after the CID number. Your resulting address should look … Read Full Post

Respond to Your Business's Online Reviews; Google Places Now Helps You Do So

Cardinal Path blog post

One of the most common complaints I hear from business owners about online reviews is that they typically have no way of responding to them publicly. I’ve seen some owners post their own review to try and respond to something a previous reviewer may have said.  It’s true that anyone can post a review about … Read Full Post

Google Tags and Posts for Google Places Listings Going Live

Cardinal Path blog post

If you check out the recent post on the Google Lat Long Blog, you will see that Google Maps is rolling out their Google Tags feature across the United States shortly. What the heck are “Google Tags”? Of course if it is something from Google, you can assume it’s another way for you to advertise … Read Full Post

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