Google Local, Places, + Business Numbers, Analytics TOTALLY unreliable

Who knows?  One month you have 4838 impression and 831 actions, and a few months later, for the same “data set” ie. time frame, it gets a little moody and decides…nah, it’s now 9843 impressions, 983 actions.  This is, of course, for the backend of Google Places / + / Local whuchyama’callit – Google’s version of “Local”.  Confusing on many levels, but in terms of pure analytical data, I have seen time and again after notating numbers on spreadsheets for clients that read something like this:  Client #1.  February 19-March 18, 2013:  4291 impressions, 579 actions.  Ok!  We’re in the game.  I guess that’s what’s posted, that’s what’s going on!  Ok.  Now…let’s pretend 3 months passes.  Ok.  So, now, here we sit three months later and woila, we log back in, and go huh, I wonder what my numbers are for that same period I checked 3 months ago:  Feb 19- March 18 2013?  Let’s check.  I’m not going to give EXACT numbers, but in this case it was 42.82999% HIGHER than it was 3 months PREVIOUS for the same time period.  If you’re confused, OR…if you think we’re in the Twilight Zone, yes, you’re right.  Or, more appropriately, no, you’re fine, but Google seems to be confused!  Again, I don’t know what’s going on here.  But, the trend over the last 24 months or so is that these numbers, when referred to IN THE FUTURE seem to trend HIGHER, not lower.  Very curious indeed.

Here’s how I feel about it:  I don’t trust any of it.  It seems TOTALLY random.  I give these numbers to clients, but I have to say:  it’s not entirely ‘stable’ data.  It’s going up..great!  I’m happy for that, but it’s not…it doesn’t seem to…I don’t know.  Doesn’t seem flush.

The almighty Google.  What is going on?

Participation Premium – The Golden Rule of Social Media

Robert Scoble, Shell Israel, Michael Arrington – figure heads in “social media” – have recently been referring to a premise that is just as important for businesses online as is it for individuals:  the more you participate the more successful you’ll become.

Sound familiar?  Give and you shall receive!  Listen and you shall learn.  We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much.  Do unto others as you would have them read and comment on your blog or website…

You’re a business who is jumping in online.  “What do I do?” you ask.  The most important first step, along with defining your goals and online identity, is to listen twice as much as you ‘participate’ and participate 10x’s more than you are now.

Find out the top 10, 50 or 100 bloggers in your field.  Read them consistently and multiple times a week, if not daily.  Read the sports section less or stay up 10 minutes longer and read what people are saying in and around your industry and business.  Visit websites associated with your products or service.  Read reviews first, read them again, think about it, absorb it…and then respond.  Read comments, watch videos, listen to podcasts.  Become an expert in what people are talking about in your field, and than start communicating, posting and interacting.

The more you get involved – the more you participate in responding, posting, interacting, and being a part of the dialogue online – the more it will pay dividends in terms of creating connection, loyalty, understanding and a swell of presence that was never there before