At the very end of May, on CBS This Morning, Google’s Marissa Mayer launched Google+ Local, a symbiosis between Google+ and Google’s Local Business Pages. You can see the interview here:

Why Does Google Plus Local Matter?

It matters because Google is doing something drastically different than most of the other social platforms that exist today. Typically, social platforms try to find a niche and exploit it. LinkedIn is incredibly popular among business users, and for good reason. Pinterest has captured the visual bookmarking space handily. In each of these platforms, there are “thought-leaders” or “gurus” or “experts” – people who latch onto the particualr zeitgeist of the platform and garner the most attention/followers/interactions. In their respective spheres, these users are kings and queens, and their words take on great value. Some of these folks can even leverage their influence from one platform to others, so that they can grow their audience outside the spheres in which they first grow their name recognition.

Social Platforms Allow Users to Store their Influence in Silos; Google Takes This Influence and Makes a Giant Corn Pile.

Google though, is doing what it has always done: taking information on the web, categorizing it, and integrate it into their databases so that it can be used to deliver future search results. They’re treating content produced on social platforms as searchable material …. which it is. Google doesn’t care if you have a thousand followers on Pinterest, or 2,000 connections on LinkedIn; Google wants to know what other users on the platform think you’re influential about and then use this data to deliver relevant content to other Google users. The holy grail of search for the next few years is figuring out which social interactions imply excellent content, and then adjust the search engines’ algorithms accordingly.

Categorizing the traffic on social platforms isn’t a departure for Google at all. As Danny Sullivan points out in this most excellent post about the importance of hard link-building, Google’s algorithm originally valued directories because the early directories were monitored and pruned by actual human beings with good online trust – virtual husbandry, if you will. Eventually,  people who wanted their businesses at the top of search results got wise and began to spin up automated directories to game the system & Google subsequently devalued the general importance of directories. Google has always used social signals to deliver search results. Utilizing content from social networks will allow Google to take the  next step in search and deliver relevant content quickly.

Unfortunately, the issues that surrounded the gaming of search also surround the gaming of social. It’s easy to quickly get a number of shares on any social platform, while not achieving any type of long-term engagement – if Google is to continue to use social signals as an element of how it delivers search results, the company must gain a greater understanding of how social systems function, of the interconnected networks of people across both oceans and  platforms, and of the psychology that goes into making content interesting, relevant and shareable.

Google Plus Local Pages Are a Must-Have for All Businesses.

It’s important because Google+ Local forces – maybe “force” is too strong of a word, perhaps it’s better to say “strongly suggests that” – businesses to be social, to take a marketing approach to social. It’s always been easy for business owners to laugh off Twitter as the place where people talk about the peanut butter sandwiches they had for lunch, and Facebook as a place to gossip, but this is Google. This is localized map search. This is all happening in an arena that’s already won over business owners – most have realized the importance of ranking highly in search results for years. Higher in rankings=more traffic=more potential customers=more money. And while it’s always been relatively hard to rank highly in the general Google search, it’s been somewhat easier to rank on the localized map search, which shows up high in the general search rankings.

Now if a business wants to assure their dominance in localized map search, they have fill out their Google+ Local page appropriately, making sure that they understand how the platform works & working within the best practices of that platform. They just have to be social, according to Google’s rules. And these social business users are the people with money to spend on ads, which positions Google very well as they continue to improve their mobile advertisement offerings,  which is predicted to be a major source of revenue in the next few years.

Give Google Your Data How They Want It and Reap the Rewards.

Google+ Local is conditioning businesses to think about presenting data in a certain way, a way that fits Google’s architecture. Google’s not just changing the conversation with this release, but it’s modifying the semantics of how we speak about our businesses. Google is teaching us to create content that is keyword-rich, but not keyword-stuffed. To post dazzling pictures that captures your business doing what it does to make it stand out from all of your other competitors. Videos that explain to your prospective customers how it is you do what you do. Gathering reviews on Google platforms from customers who have Google accounts. Google’s making it very difficult for any other company to come along and take their place, not by throwing up barriers and telling users what they can’t do, but by making it so rewarding for users operate within their architecture.


Written by Joe Robb


I had to preemptively block a Facebook user…


Why I needed to block this user is neither here nor there, but when I tried to figure out how to do it, I couldn’t find an answer anywhere. I knew I could block a user who had already liked or commented on the page, but I had no idea how to block a user who had never before interacted with the page.

At first, I thought it couldn’t be done. But I figured I’d ask around & see if I’d be surprised. A few friends (namely Shannan Boyer and Christiaan Todd) pointed me to a Facebook Note that claimed to offer a fix to this problem. I was ecstatic until I tried the process detailed in the note.

It almost worked.

The problem was, the fix as it was written had worked when the note was originally published, back in early 2011, but Facebook had changed the code since, which broke the fix. I spent a little time kicking the fix around & eventually figured out how to preemptively ban users permanently.

My solution, your solution. Here goes:

First step: Open Google Chrome.

(Note: This step is the easiest of all 10 steps.)

Second Step: Find the Facebook ID number of the person you want to block.

You can find this by going to their Facebook page and looking at the address bar for the url of their page. It should look something like this: (The Facebook url you see listed here is mine; feel free to stop by and say hi.)

There is a caveat: if the user you are trying to block has created a vanity url to replace their assigned url – that is, if they have a url like instead of a url that ends in a string of numbers – you’re going to have to do a few more steps, namely: go to the facebook profile of the person you want to block. Click on their “Photos” section. Click on one of their photo albums. Now, as you’re looking at one of their albums, look up in the address bar. You’ll see something like this: htts:// (Again, this link is to my Facebook account, to my profile picture album. Looking good, eh?) The last string of numbers between the “.” and the “&” is the Facebook user id. So in this example, the user id is 100000464329296.

Third Step: Go to your Facebook Page.

Toward the leftermost, top part of your page,  you’ll see an area titled “New Likes”. To the right of the title you’ll see a link called”See All”. Right click on this link and open it as a new tab. It has to be a new tab & this process will not work if you just click on the link. (If you know your business page’s id, there’s a quicker way. Type “” in the address bar of a new tab. Stick your business page id after the equals sign, click the enter key,  & PRESTO CHANGO you’re there.)

Fourth Step: Select a “Remove” Button.

You’ll see a list of all the people who like your page. To the right of each user’s profile picture and name, there’s a “X”. Right click on one of these Xs and select “Inspect Element” from the drop down menu.

Fifth Step: Find the Applicable code.

At the bottom of the page, you will see a block of text highlighted (in blue) that looks something like this:

<input type=”hidden” autocomplete=”off” name=”page_id” value=”000000000000″>

<input type=”hidden” autocomplete=”off” name=”user_id” value=”100000464329296″>

<input type=”hidden” autocomplete=”off” name=”act” value=”remove”>

<label for=”uewexf_11″><input title=”Remove” type=”submit” id=”uewexf_11″></label>

<input title=”Remove” type=”submit” id=”uewexf_11″>

Sixth Step: Prepare to edit code.

Right click on the <input type=”hidden” autocomplete=”off” name=”user_id” value=”100000464329296″> line, and select “Edit as HTML” option.

Seventh Step: Edit code.

Take the Facebook user id number that you got in step one, and replace the number after “user_id” value=” in the code.

Eighth Step: Save Changes.

Click somewhere outside of the editable zone to save your change, but do not close the “Inspect Element” window.

Ninth Step: Make with the clicky.

Go back to the “People Who Like This Page”  segment of your open page and find the same “X” you right clicked on in step 3. Remember: it has to be the same “X”; if you click on a different “X”, one of your kind and trusting fans will be unceremoniously blocked from your page, and you’ll be a no-good-nik.

Tenth Step: Remove offensive person.

A window will pop up, asking you if you’re sure that you want to remove the person you’re trying to remove from your page. (Of course you’re sure, otherwise you wouldn’t go to such lengths to get this far in the first place, but it’s still nice that Facebook asks.) Make sure you check the “Ban Permanently” box at the left of the window. Then hit “Okay”.


CONGRATULATIONS, YOU’VE DONE IT! (If you haven’t done it, go ahead and leave a message for me in the comments below & I’ll be happy to try and help you out.)

Photo credit: Nicola since 1972

Written by Joe Robb


7 Lucky Facebook Business Page Changes

April 17, 2012

On March 30th, Facebook automatically changed the structure of Facebook Business Pages to the “Timeline” setup. The structure of these pages now reflects the Timeline structure that Facebook had rolled out for users a few months ago, featuring a “cover” image and a profile image at the top of the page. The content you have […]

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Five Best Stories From the Second Week of 2012: Security Edition

February 1, 2012

Alright, I’m feeling sheepish. Three weeks into my 2012 blogging resolution, I slipped and didn’t post on Friday. I had this post almost done, but I just … couldn’t … finish it (Before the end of the day.) But instead of beating myself up over it, I figured better late than never. So here goes, […]

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Five Best Stories From the First Week of 2012

January 13, 2012

The best stories from last week were best stories of 2012 so far. If you saw last week’s post: 2011′s Best Stories and a Resolution for 2012*, you know that I have made a resolution to blog  consistently this year. While this is an ongoing, yearly resolution that always falls through the cracks, this year I’ve decided […]

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2011’s Best Stories and a Resolution for 2012*

January 6, 2012
lego man on the beach

  Today is the last day of the first work week of 2012 & I have resolutions.   Lots of them. And like every year, many of these resolutions will be forgotten by February. Dropping resolutions is part of the human condition. So I may not write as many blog posts as I promised myself I […]

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Facebook Privacy: How to Disable Facebook’s Facial Recognition Software

June 17, 2011
Thumbnail image for Facebook Privacy: How to Disable Facebook’s Facial Recognition Software

The middle of last week, Facebook decided that you wanted your pictures automatically tagged, so that the rest of the world could see what you do when you’re not online. In the dead of night, they flipped the switch on their “Facial Recognition” feature. Facebook asked your friends to point you out in their pictures. […]

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