HAPPY HOUR! Such a fun time. Nice times. Fun little booze and wine with nice appetizer at a reduced price right after work. Sweet and innocent. But apparently EVERY single…with…out….exception…..every single category collection across the “profile universe” – from Yelp to Google, from Yahoo to Bing, from YellowPages to InfoUSA…not ONE of them allows you to input the simple, almighty, fun, innocent, OBVIOUSLY people are searching for it and we should have it as a category nice little puppy dog that just wants love from everyone: Happy Hour. But apparently, everyone in the category universe is allergic to this possibility. Maybe it’s the word “happy” associated with the concept of time, hour! I have no idea. But the latest and greatest in category selection – Google+ – even they have an allergen to this concept. No Happy Hour! Sorry. And Happy Hour results on Google…even those are a little off. They want to be a part of the in crowd with local results and all of that, but no…it just looks a little schleppy (not a word), a little left handed, a bit adopted and organic result-like and random and mish-mash and kind of like a search thrown together, caught off guard, not quite sure you were going to knock at the door.
And here’s the thing: It gets a TON of results, at least RELATIVE to other searches. In Seattle as of tonight: 14,800 (blended). Not bad for a step-search.
The trusty Mike Blumenthal pointed out April 30th, 2013 that in fact the Google local places features is no longer available in the drop down menus as notated below. Mike mentions in his article, linked above, the following: ”Users can only make it to Google’s local search options if they are in Plus. Equally significant is that there is no unique locally focused brand.”
Again, wow! I get it. Google wants us to use Google+. So they’re basically forcing one to sign up for Google+ to search “Local”. They want you to be in the Google+ environment and be all socially and engage and talk w/ your friends and Plus one stuff and engage etc. I think this is a poor decision. People are probably already experiencing “social fatigue” – I’m talking about normal people, not “industry geeks”. I think the last thing people are looking for is another social network. And beyond that, it’s not even clear how to get to a local search via Google i.e “Hey guys, over here for better local search …. step one, sign up for Google+, step 2…” and so on and so forth. It’s just kind of implied I guess? People will still search with local intent via the “regular search” function, but local results are limited – true local listings are limited to page 1. Beyond that are organic local listings (www.myrestaurant.com), local websites (yellowpages.restaurants.com), etc. Not seemingly better from my perspective. Not easier. Not more transparent. Not easier. Anytime something becomes not easier, it’s probably not good.
You need to pay attention! Google is. They just re-assigned Marissa Mayer, who used to lead the ‘search’ group at Google i.e 98% of Google’s revenue. Was this a demotion? Some speculate yes, others speculate that in fact local search is on Google’s radar as ‘thee’ next big thing, along with ‘mobile’. Which is like saying “sauce and cheese” are becoming really big…and so is ‘crust’. It’s gonna be bigger than pizza! It’ll take a lot of innovation to intelligently put together all the moving pieces of location based local search (think Foursquare & Gowalla), Twitter, Facebook, check in’s, “Groupons”, Yelp, user reviews, more search, social media, make your head spin.com, etc. And with more and more of this ‘local’ stuff involving not only search and mobile, you – the small business owner – should really get on the ball and start managing and paying attention to this. It’ll pay dividends in the future, if not now!