We all know about Flickr and the amount of traffic that the site receives from image posters and photo seekers. There is another site that carries as much or more influence in the travel space - Panoramio – which is part of the Google family.
Images on Google Earth Maps are furnished by Panoramio. In addition, Google Maps has added an option to view photos on the screens of their mapping program. Those photos are also provided by Panoramio.
On the Google Maps screen you will see a “More” button in the top right navigation. Click on the more button and you will have two options: Photos, Videos and Wikipedia. When you choose the photo option, you will see images populated from Panoramio site. If you choose the Wiki option, you will see several “W”’s all representing entries from Wikipedia in those specific locations and video shows popular videos loaded to YouTube.
Panoramio images have also been recently integrated in to the new Yahoo Glue application - see this Glue page from the city of Philadelphia. And, early test searches have shown that the Panoramio photos were getting better placement on the results pages than Flickr images (owned by Yahoo).
A few tips when uploading your images to Panoramio:
Be sure they are geo tagged on the map, so they appear in the proper location.
Add a description to the photo so visitors can identify where it is or what is happening.
Add tags so it can be searched or found via keywords.
We are seeing a trend in search marketing where consumers are searching on more specific terms and phrases. Longer tail terms are those that appeal to users searching for specific or niche terms. See this example for a progress of searches - Michigan getaways, northern Michigan getaways, and northern Michigan golf getaways. As the search terms progress, the consumer’s focus is more targeted and the cost- per-click is usually less.
The value in using longer tail terms: your ads are served to more qualified consumers, click through rates increase, conversion rates are higher and, most importantly, your cost-per-click will be less expensive.
We all have web access in our homes or offices. There is also a growing number of consumers with web-enabled PDA phones for mobile use. But most mobile consumers are working with a cell phone that has limited web access and browser capabilities.
One opportunity to accommodate a consumer while passing through town or visiting your destination is with the Goog-411 Service. They dial the toll-free number, 1-800-466-4411, specify the city, and then ask for a specific listing – hotel, Italian restaurant, attractions, etc. Goog-411 even gives you options to list the intersection you are currently at for the closest restaurant, hotel, or attraction - and even an option to map it. This is a great service for a DMO with limited call center hours – i.e. evening inquires and weekend visitors - along with giving consumers a convenient option to contact restaurants or hotels directly.
Now, for part of my reoccurring theme – the data. All listings are pulled from the Google Maps database, so if a location is listed on Google Maps, it should be found on Goog-411. But, as an ESPN college football analyst would say – “Not so fast my friend.”
Follow my test. I called the number and specified Indianapolis, asked for “childrens attractions”. Only one listing was returned via the Goog-411 number, Accent on Indianapolis, Inc., an event planning service. Odd that it is not even close to what we are looking for. I then proceed to Google Maps to validate the inquiry. I typed in “childrens attractions”, Indianapolis and hit search. Accent on Indianapolis, Inc. is the only returned item, mirroring the phone call. Then I see this – “Did you mean: children's attractions”. Missed the dreaded apostrophe. I clicked on the link, and what do you know, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum shows up in listings 3 and 4. Mission accomplished with a few insightful lessons in terms of data classification and search criteria.
When categorizing your data, always try to think like the consumer. I searched “children’s attractions”, rather than “children’s museums”. It was also evident that punctuation plays an important roll in the Goog-411 listings.
How can you be sure your listings are accurate? Follow this link to learn more about updating your listing in Google Maps or go directly to the Google Local Business Center. You could enhance your listing text - probably a good idea in terms of search data, add a photo or logo, even include business hours and types of payment accepted. Be sure to continue through to the tab labeled “Custom” and then add a few descriptive words – “children’s attraction, childrens museum, childrens activities”. In this case, I used an apostrophe and non-apostrophe with the attempt to capture each inquiry.
Following your update, which may take a week or so to be relevant, be sure to do some testing and then tweak it again if needed. And, most importantly, pass on the number.