Citysearch Gets More Local, Adds Facebook Connect Feature

November 19, 2008

I’ve always been a fan of Citysearch and now they have a new beta site which is streamlined very nicely. It turns out that in 1995 they knew something about local search and social media long before many of us thought it was cool. Local listings and user reviews/ratings have been on their platform for years.

Now Citysearch has introduced themselves as a Facebook Connect connection. What does this mean? Many things probably, and here’s just one example.

First, Citysearch now has related hyperlocal (neighborhood) suggestions.

Neighborhood Suggestions

Neighborhood Suggestions

They now have the options to integrate Facebook and Citysearch users.

Facebook and CitySearch

Facebook and CitySearch

I’ve given Northwestern Tire in Minneapolis a positive Google Maps review, and decided to give them another one in CitySearch. It’s a very honest review. They only got 4 out of 5 stars simply because their hours are open while I’m at my full time job in Woodbury. Unless I go there on a day off, I’ll have to go to a Jiffy Lube or somethin’ where they’ll try to upsell me while they do a mediocre job at best.

Northwestern Tire Review

Northwestern Tire Review

Since this review gets published to Facebook, anyone of my current 88 Facebook friends can now see this review when they log in. With Facebook being viral, maybe Northwestern will benefit from it.

Plug on Facebook

Plug on Facebook

in Facebook, the links go directly to the Northwestern Tire Citysearch profile which now includes an honest user review from myself.

The Citysearch/Facebook connection is ingenious if you ask me.

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Local Search and Dominating the Results

May 22, 2008

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve received a few different inquiries regarding Google and local search. One was how to show up in Google Maps results, one was how to show up in the natural results for local searches, and one was how to appear above the fold for localized Google AdWords campaigns.

Why not achieve all three of them, plus some “piggy back” SEO?

The last SES conference I’ve been to was in San Jose close to two years ago, but Atlanta-based Stacy Williams from Prominent Placement gave a great example on how a local company can dominate results. To this day, it holds true.

There’s some dominance!

To many search marketers, this isn’t anything new. To local business owners, this may be. Google separates their natural, local, and paid listings. There’s no reason a local business can’t do the same.

Regarding “piggy back” SEO, this comes down to both local (Maps) and natural listings. By having profiles in places like SuperPages.com and CitySearch.com can only help. Google Local helps legitimize your profile and Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) results often appear toward the top in the natural results.

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Searching in Seattle – Citysearch Style

May 26, 2007

As a consumer, I normally use Google Maps when looking for local business information. I’ve been trying to switch that up lately. A week ago, I had a simple but nice user experience, and decided to give them some quick props on Yahoo Local.

This time, I’m searching for information. Citysearch has a newer facelift so it’s time to put them to the test. It’s been awhile since I’ve visited friends in Seattle and am planning to go there sometime this year, preferably during Bumbershoot.

Continue reading at the Search Engine Guide.

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Citysearch and Their New Look

May 2, 2007

I’m impressed. They mentioned they were giving it a new look, and it certainly looks appealing.

They also talked about some local customization with this relaunch. It’s pretty subtle, but I like the few different Twin Cities images they rotate in the upper-right corner.

Donna Bogatin from ZDNet provides her input regarding the facelift and new video ads, and if it makes local search cool.

I’ll have some near-future input on how their new look works with local search, but wanted to at least give it an initial mention.

I’ve mentioned Martini Blu in regards to local search before, and I’m guessing they’ll like their Citysearch page. It’s pretty enticing.

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Insider Pages to be Acquired by Citysearch

March 1, 2007

Coming soon, Insider Pages will be acquired by Citysearch and run as a separate operating unit.

The two sites are essentially in the same business, but Insider Pages, with strength in the home and garden category, complements Citysearch’s strengths in arts and entertainment.

There has been news and rumors about layoffs and a potential sale for awhile. What really surprised me is there are currently only ten employees.

All 10 Insider Pages employees will move from Redwood City to Citysearch’s San Francisco office.

Citysearch has been very strong in user reviews long before it became popular in search marketing, and is keeping busy so far in 2007 with a new, big sales center.

For local businesses, people are talking about you online… and they will continue to talk about you whether you like it or not. It’s certainly a good idea to proactively thank people who speak highly of you, and to proactively provide a remedy for those who do not.

http://twincities.citysearch.com/corrections/enter_a_location.html (if you’re not in the Twin Cities, just replace it with your metro area)

http://www.insiderpages.com/advertiser/sign_up_more.html

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Citysearch and Mobile Search

October 18, 2006

citysearch-logo1.jpg

This didn’t take long, although they were already putting the finishing touches on it. Since a recent Citysearch post about an upcoming re-branding effort, they have now launched a new SMS-based mobile search feature. Just text a search term.zipcode (pizza.55401), and send it to CS411 (27411). I just figured they always had something like this.

I did try the standard “pizza” search and found some pretty relevant results along with their “best of” 10-point rating system.

Many visitors might search for a health club when in town, so I did a text for gym.55401 and sent it off. The first mobile result that came back was a 9.9 rated personal training studio that happens to have over 20 raving reviews on the Citysearch site.

That might not be the most relevant result for a visitor searching for a gym, but it kinda’ makes me want to join. It’s only 6 blocks from here… and I sit at a computer for much of the day. 😉 The 2nd and 3rd (of 4) results were for standard health clubs in downtown Minneapolis. The 4th was for a yoga studio just outside of downtown.

Hat tip to the SEW Blog.


Citysearch Revisited

October 15, 2006

Citysearch

In November 2004, I wrote on how search engines and Internet yellow pages (IYPs) were really starting to work well with each other. Included was a chunk on Citysearch and how their listings were constantly visible in Google search results (also noted in a blog post a couple months back). In fact, the three examples given are still prevalent in Google (and often Yahoo) today:

pizza joints in Seattle
day spa Miami
martini bar Minneapolis

Martini Blu has been a pretty constant result the whole time, which can probably contribute to the over 40 mixed user reviews dating back to October, 2002.

Citysearch hasn’t always been the buzz regarding user-generated media, but they’ve been visible the whole time. The Local Onliner’s Peter Krasilovsky talks with new EVP Scott Morrow about what’s in store for the future.

In a nutshell, we can look forward to a more local look, ramped up editorial efforts, new third party content providers, and a renewed focus on user-generated content.

My nickel is on Citysearch having a very good 2007. They already have the content and visibility. There’s a reason that IAC chairman and CEO Barry Diller says their (content) quality puts everyone else to shame. It’s not because of ask.com.