I enjoy taking a look back at the previous year and seeing what all I accomplished, what I had the most fun doing, and what I could have done better. For the past 6 years life was pretty simple. I mainly focused on one service, Google Street View Virtual Tours for Businesses. This year I learned what it was like to juggle three businesses and that my time management skills still need a little work. I found myself working over 80 to 90 hours a week to allow for each business to thrive and grow. I hope that everyone I encountered the past year did not noticed the lack of sleep in my eyes and the deep fear that I would not be able to keep the one promise I made when I went into business for myself, "Everyone receives the same amount of care and customer service no matter the cost, time, or effort". If I failed any of you along the way in 2018, please keep it to yourself, as my heart probably can't bear it. I know that I did my very best. Better yet, just head over to my Google Business Listing, a few people out there took the time to share their experiences working with me over the past year. :)

Thanks to all of you that made 2018 a spectacular year! I am looking forward to an amazing 2019!

2018 By The Numbers

This was a another record breaking year for Joseph Danzer Photography. To date, I have personally added over 27,000 photos to Google Search and Maps and they have been viewed over 84,000,000 times.
If there was a Level 11, I would be well on my way!

  • Uploaded Over 200 Terabytes of imagery to Google
  • 84,000,000 Photo Views on Google Search and Maps
  • Visited 19 States and a visit to Google Headquarters in May
  • 50+ Google My Business Training Sessions & Workshops
  • Over 100 free one-on-one Google My Business training sessions with local business owners at my new office space.

What's Coming in 2019?


Google Virtual Tours
After 6 years of photographing Google Virtual Tours I can easily say that this has been one of the best decisions I ever made when it came to choosing my career. I still get excited everytime I have a virtual tour to shoot on my schedule and I am hopeful that 2019 takes me to some unique locations along the way.

Advanced Online Insights
We remain committed to delivering the best experience, value, and service possible to all of the agencies that we represent. We highly appreciate all the support we've been given and continue to re-invest that into the software. We are proud to present our newest features available in Q1 of 2019. They include a Google My Business Listing tool that grades the effectiveness of a client's listing, a review widget, and a complete overhaul of the agency dashboard. With the addition of so many features to the software that do so much more than just evaluate the analytical impact of the Google listings, we are renaming it from the AOI Analytics Tool to simply AOI Software. Get ready, because 2019 is going to be a great year!
New grade calculation feature for the AOI Software that grades the effectiveness of the Google My Business Listings
ACQUIRE360
We have codenamed our newest business offering Acquire360. We are continuing to evaluate a new 360 camera that can create Google Street View imagery and we should be live with the new service offering in the first quarter of 2019. This has been an exciting new endeavor for our company and we are preparing to get out there and start adding new roads and areas that need updated on Google Street View.

Special Thanks

I would not have been able to accomplish nearly the amount of the goals I set for 2018 had it not been for a few select people that really stepped up to help me out this past year.

Rusty Allison has been working closely with me for the past 3 years. This year he created his own company, Guideport Solutions, and started helping local businesses with their Google My Business Listings. Rusty also played an integral part in creating the training programs and workshops that we hosted this year. He is the kind of guy that always shows up when he says he will be there and always goes above and beyond for each and every task he takes on. I am honored to call Rusty a friend and coworker.

Tyler Honschopp is the newest addition to our team. He has been very busy testing out our new camera system for collecting Google Street View Imagery. He is highly driven and has been a one man research/development team for our new service offering. His resourcefulness and problem solving abilities are a great asset to have as we move forward into 2019.

Evan Oder has been a great friend and business partner over the past two and a half years. He is the mastermind behind our software, Advanced Online Insights. It's rare that you meet someone and it feels like you've known each other for years. Evan is just that kind of guy. I look forward to all that I will learn from him over the next year and I am thrilled to see all of the new features that we add to the software package in 2019.

Month by Month Breakdown of 2018


January

Google Virtual Tours
I started off the year with a trip through the heartland of America that featured shooting some Google Virtual Tours in Kansas City KS and San Antonio TX.



Advanced Online Insights
Our first major update to the software began at the end of December 2017 and we started off 2018 with an entirely new version of the Advanced Online Insights Analytics software. Once the software was out of beta and ready for primetime our plan was to reach out to marketing agencies that we had enjoyed working with over the past 6 years and give them an opportunity to evaluate the software to see if it was a good fit them and their clients.

February

Advanced Online Insights
We started our first round of formal Google My Business training sessions and began training marketing agencies on the reporting features of the Advanced Online Insights software. Our goal for 2018 was to bring on 10 good marketing agencies to work with over the year to grow our business and theirs at a rate that was sustainable and profitable.

March

Google Virtual Tours
I had the opportunity to meet a wonderful new local business owner, Holly Young, who started a new retail business in Montgomery Ohio specifically geared towards products and toys for autistic children. Puzzle Pieces, A Sensory Sensation fills a niche that was not being serviced anywhere in the country. E-commerce has changed the way that most of us shop and evaluate products. If there was ever a store that you needed to see, touch, and feel the items before you purchase them, then Puzzle Pieces is that store. I had the pleasure of creating a virtual tour for Holly and you can see her amazing store in the link below.

Another notable virtual tour in March was Hillandale Properties: Doverwood. What would it look like if you took a city and built it inside of a building? Well click the link below to find out. Doverwood is a wonderful retirement center that allows its residents to experience everyday life without having to leave the comforts of their home. They have a theater, an ice cream parlor, a beauty salon, a chapel, and even a "Big Happy Pub", all located in their facility in Hamilton Ohio.

Advanced Online Insights
All of our training sessions in March filled up as soon as they went online. We re-evaluated our plan to bring on 10 marketing agencies by the end of 2018 and updated our plan to have this milestone complete by June of 2018.

April

Google Virtual Tours
Have you ever wanted to know what it takes to be a Google Trusted Virtual Tour Photographer? In April of 2018 I shot a tour of the first of three St. Elizabeth Healthcare Centers in Florence KY. I started shooting around 7pm in the evening and finished just before the sun rose the following day. I have to give a huge shout out to Katie Dillenburg, Web Content Specialist for St. Elizabeth, for making it through the entire evening and then coming back again in May for two more shoots at two of their other facilities. People like Katie make my job so much easier when they have made the proper preparations at a facility and make sure that the job gets done right! Thanks again Katie!

Advanced Online Insights
We had our third round of training sessions and once again filled all of our classes. At this point I was elated that we were only two agencies away from reaching our goal.

May

Google Virtual Tours
In May of 2018 I attended the Annual Google Street View Conference in San Francisco CA. This is my 4th year in attendance and it is always a huge honor to just be invited. I always learn so much about the future of Google Street View and Google Business Virtual Tours directly from the source. It is also a great time to meet industry experts and professionals that provide many similar services to what I do on a daily basis. I have even made some great friends along the way. Shout out to Pablo Zimbrón who roomed with me this year at the conference. His company, Xuguz, with offices in Monterrey Mexico and San Antonio TX, became a certified Advanced Online Insights agency this year. This gave our company the proud honor of saying that we are now a business with multi-national clients.

June

Google Virtual Tours
In 2017 I was pleased to get the opportunity to shoot a Google Virtual Tour for the Cincinnati Airport, CVG. This year I shot the long term parking area managed by Fast Park and Relax. I was especially impressed with their new transport vehicles and even took the tour inside of one of them to show it off.

Advanced Online Insights
In June we held our last round of software trainings and signed on our final 2 agencies to meet our goal of 10 active agencies in 2018. It was a long journey but I know that we have a strong group of agencies partnering with us.

July

Google Virtual Tours
Behold a virtual tour like no other we have shot before! In July of 2018 we took ownership of a new camera that we have been waiting for a few years to get our hands on. This new camera system will allow us to create Google Street View imagery and add it to Google Maps just like Google's Street View vehicles provide. We knew that there was going to be a testing phase and some software development in store but we were able to get our first collect live on Google Maps. Check out the small subdivision Street View link below to see for yourself.

August

Advanced Online Insights
August 16th 2018 marked the anniversary date of our first full year of business as Advanced Online Insights. We had a get together with our agency partners here at the office to celebrate the anniversary. During the event we announced our newest features for the software, Google My Business Post and Review management tools. This took our software from a advanced analytics reporting platform to a full featured software tool.
Our agencies had the opportunity to meet our developer Evan during our special anniversary event. 

September

Google Virtual Tours
I like a good challenge. In September, I was given the opportunity to create virtual tours for Merchants National Bank's 11 locations located throughout Ohio. I prefer to shoot businesses when they are closed to the public so that there are not any people in the virtual tours. This left us with the only day of the week that made sense for the shoot to be on a Sunday. I also didn't want to string the shoot dates out over several Sundays and miss out on weekend family time. With the help of the great team at Merchants National Bank, I was able to shoot all of the locations in a single day and still get home in time for dinner.

October

Google Virtual Tours
I spent a little time in Philadelphia PA visiting family and attending my favorite event of the year, The Philadelphia Film Festival. During my trip I had the opportunity to create a virtual tour for The Continental Mid-town, a Stephen Starr Restaurant. As you would expect the restaurant was beautifully designed and the ambiance was fantastic. I hope to have the opportunity in the future to create virtual tours of many more of Stephen's unique restaurants.

November

Google Virtual Tours
By this time of year Cincinnati is usually a mix of different weather conditions that do not fair well for photographing local virtual tours. Lucky for me Galen College of Nursing opened a new campus in Tampa FL and I was able to spend a few days in the Florida sun capturing a tour for their new facility.

Advanced Online Insights
During my time as an educator and Google City Ambassador for the Google My Business Program I have a chance to help thousands of business owners set up their listings and solve various technical issues along the way. In November I had my chance to deal with my first issue for a local high school that made its rounds on all of the local news stations. I am in the process of finishing up the case study regarding this issue and I will share it with everyone once it is proofed and ready. We all know that it is highly important to claim your Google My Business Listing but this is about the worst thing that can happen if you neglect to do so. Luckily the communications director at the local high school had attended one of my events a few years ago and still had my business card available. With the help of the Google My Business support team I was able to get the listing fixed the same day that the issue occurred.


December

Google Virtual Tours
I ended my year with my last virtual tour shoot in Pittsburgh PA at the newest Scene75 Entertainment Center. It is always fun to shoot multiple business locations for companies over the years to see how they modify their facility designs.
Scene75 - Pittsburgh PA

Google - Year In Search 2018



Your friendly neighborhood Google Photographer,
-Joe Danzer



The internet and the way people interact with it changes everyday. It seems like such a short time ago that I was logging in through a dial up modem listening to the screeches and squelches as the connection was being made.  I would patiently wait to browse through music on napster or search the world wide web with a strange little search box that said Google above it in bright colored letters. Fast forward to today and I am always connected through multiple devices spanning multiple networks with no thought about connecting or ever waiting for access to any song, video, or answer to any question that I need to know right this minute.

The way that I consume the internet has changed and it has changed for everyone. The idea of actively looking for a specific website or browsing multiple pages of information has changed; and with it the model for how a business owners or marketing agencies promote their brands and their image has changed as well. We have become a species that thrives on the ability to access relevant information instantly that allows us to weigh our options and make high level decisions.

So what is the point I'm trying to make?


Well, I got to thinking...

When did this happen?

When did I stop actively searching for websites for information and answers to questions?

When did search start having all of the answers, and where is all of this information coming from?

If you know me, then you know that I can't leave something like this alone and I'm willing to take it as far as I have to go to get an answer that satisfies my curiosity. I started by first looking at all of the different ways that Google displays search results and not just on a desktop PC. I opened Google Maps, Google mobile Search, and all kinds of apps that I frequently use... Google Trips, Google Assistant, Google Maps for mobile. The rabbit hole started getting way too deep and instead of  following it for hours I set some rules and goals for myself and I wanted to share my results with you.

I set a challenge for myself to sit for 30 minutes each day for an entire week and really look at Google Search from a whole new perspective. The goal was to open different Google Services and perform as many searches as I could come up with and document any and every occurrence in which the information in the search results came directly from Google My Business.

Here are my findings in each platform

Google Search (pc)

This method produced countless variations of search results based on the terms I used. I am still convinced that I am just brushing the surface of what is possible and the future of what is to come as Google continues to learn more about what attributes define businesses.
Google Search: pizza near me - The results of this search is a standard Google Local 3-Pack. This 3-Pack also contains a filter search just below the map and generates business descriptions with categories if the data is present in the Google My Business Listing.

Google Search: most expensive restaurant near me - The results of this search take into account the extra information I provided "most expensive" and filtered the search by highest priced restaurants. Price is calculated by Google based on crowdsourced data and menu prices in the GMB Listing.
Google Search: best sushi in cincinnati - The results of this search take into account the extra information I provided "best sushi" and filtered the search by only showing restaurants with a 4.0 or higher rating and auto selected the restaurant category sushi. Knowing that only 4.0+ ratings appear in the search for "top rated", or "best" makes it a goal for businesses to work extra hard to keep their customers happy and their review rating above 4.0. The category information is generated by Google and shows that providing detailed information in the GMB Listing allows Google to add this attribute data.
Step 1.) Google Search: things to do in montgomery ohio - The results of this search include a Google carousel or rich card view that produces local business listing information. The exact metrics that cause Google to choose the exact results it provides is unclear but I believe that it has to do with the type of business and the amount of events associated with the GMB Listing.
Step 2.) Click "More things to do" in previous search results page. - The results are a Google Maps / Google Search hybrid page that shows more results and allows you to select other options on the map. All information in this view comes directly from GMB Listings.
Step 3.) Click "travel guide" in previous search results page. - This feature is relatively new and mirrors similar features in the Google Maps app for mobile and the Google Trips - Travel Planner app.

Google Search (mobile app)

I chose to use the exact same search terms that I used in the desktop search to determine how much, if any, of the data in the results changed.
Google Search: pizza near me - The results of this search is very similar to the desktop search. The same information is present even with a smaller screen size. The main difference is the way that the search can be filtered. On a mobile device, Google auto-populates suggested filters as buttons instead of pull down menus.
Google Search: most expensive restaurant near me - The results of this search auto selects the option for "Upscale" in the filters tab. It's a little hard to see since it's cut off at the bottom of the screen, but the only other major difference in the mobile search is that a review is included in the Eddie Merlot Local Listing that has the word "expensive" in bold text. This strengthens the theory that Google continues to place a strong value on word in the reviews and their relevance.
Google Search: best sushi in cincinnati - The results of this search take into account the extra information I provided "best sushi" and filtered the search by selecting "Top Rated" and only shows restaurants with a 4.0 or higher rating. It also auto selected the restaurant category "Sushi". The results also added a review with the word "sushi" in it and even more interesting there is a rich data snippet included in the Cloud 9 Sushi Listing with an earth icon and the text, "Top 5 Sushi Restaurants". Upon further investigation the rich data snippet is being triggered by an article titled "Top 5 Sushi Restaurants" and was published on the website cincinnati.com in 2012.
Step 1.) Google Search: things to do in montgomery ohio - The results of this search include a Google carousel or rich card view that produces local business listing information. The exact metrics that cause Google to choose the exact results it provides is unclear but I believe that it has to do with the type of business and the amount of events associated with the GMB Listing.

Google Maps (pc)

The pc version of Google Maps continues to produce rich search results though the recent updates to Google Maps on mobile leaves me wishing for the same functionality on the pc. Let's take a look at some search results that are only possible with the information from Google My Business.
Before we even perform a search we can already see the impact the Google My Business information has made on Google Maps. On the left hand side of the screen you will see a list of business categories that are frequently searched in Google Maps. Each of these categories open into lists of popular Google Business Listings 
Step 1.) Google Search: restaurants - The results of this search produces local restaurant local business listings with the added search filter bar. The filter bar continues to point to the importance of building a strong Google business listing with all attributes filled out properly and a good customer review rating.
Step 2.) I selected least expensive and a rating above 4.0. The following results reflect only businesses with the attribute data and customer review ratings that I specified giving me a good list of choices for low cost highly rated restaurant.
Another great feature in Google Maps is the ability to click any business's description to reveal all of the highlights and attributes associated with the business. The GMB Dashboard allows a business owner to select some of these attributes but also uses rich data and user generated content to learn about businesses over time.

Google Maps (mobile app)

On June 28th, 2018 Google rolled out a major update for the Google Maps mobile app. The new material design was easily noticed by most users but many new features have still yet to be discovered by everyone. Nearly every added feature has been enhanced by the data available in business's GMB Listings. Let's take a look how much of an impact a fully optimized GMB Listing can have on the Google Maps mobile app.
Right off the bat you can see the new design shrinks the maps view and focuses on all of the ways that you can explore local businesses. Also pay close attention to the new options at the bottom of the screen, especially the new "For you" button.
The Google generated categories in the explore tab has been enhanced and contains richer categories. For example, instead of listing basic categories like "restaurants",  Google has created more descriptive more relevant categories like, "Bars and Pubs", and, "Drive Thru Options". Google has taken into account how users search online and built out the categories to meet their needs in a very elegant way.
One of my favorite new features added in the newest update is the "Foodie List". It can be found by scrolling down in the explore tab. This feature is very useful for someone looking to find a great unique restaurant in their local area. I have yet to put in the time yet to find out exactly what data metrics Google is using to create this list but its on my short list of topics to dive much deeper into over the coming weeks.
Google Maps for mobile now includes an "Events" button. This new feature adds the ability to zoom into any area of the map and events happening in the area begin to appear. You can select different ranges of dates depending on if you want to know what's happening today or this weekend. I can't think of a more important reason to add event posts to your Google Listings along with rich citation data on sites like Eventbrite or a public Google calendar on your webpage.
Well I guess it's time to get personal. Google has went and created a specific page just for me on Google Maps titled appropriately, "For you". It's features like this that make me so happy that I have trusted Google with my location data and search history. I have found myself checking this page on my Google Maps app daily since it arrived.
The "For you" section of the Google Maps app includes a new trending list everyday ,as well as, the "match for you" feature in the image above.

Google Assistant (mobile app)

The "Okay Google" feature on your mobile phone takes Google Business Listing information and uses it to answer questions and even perform tasks. For example I can ask Google to "call Don's Auto Repair in Blue Ash" and without even touching my phone I am being connected with the receptionist Karen and scheduling an appointment to get my car looked at. Without a Google My Business Listing, Google would not be able to perform this operation.
"Okay Google", "how do I get to CVG Airport" - I'm still amazed at how well this works. I mean I understand exactly how it works but that doesn't make it any less amazing that it does. The days of clicking and typing searches into our devices will be behind us sooner than we think.
"Okay Google", "Advanced Online Insights" - Hmmm. That's everything I need right there in search. No typing, no clicks, just the exact info I need. GMB, ftw!

Google Calendar (mobile app)

What is this doing here you ask? Well if you type the business name into the location for an event or meeting you get the cover image for the business in your agenda and detail view in your calendar. GMB is everywhere!
GMB even makes an appearance in the Google Calendar app on a mobile phone.

Google Earth

The Google Earth software interface may look a little dated but it is still one of the richest datasets on the planet, see what I did there. :)
Google Earth contains datasets from many different Google Products and GMB is no exception.


Google Trips (mobile app)

This app has been a huge asset to me as I have traveled over the years. It gets most of its data from GMB Listings and many of its features are starting to show up in Google Search and Google Maps.
The main interface to the Google Trips app is, in my opinion, perfect. It elegantly gives you access to any reservations you have made for your trip by scraping the information from your gmail account. It also gives great recommendations for things to do in any city along with pre-planned day trip activities.
Things to do - Google curates a list of popular places and activities based on information in GMB Listings. Business Listings that are on these type of lists are the most visited places in a city.
Day Plans - Not only does Google share things to do in a city it collects multiple locations and builds a group of places that can easily be visited in a single day with directions and detailed information.
Day Plans - The map view in Day Plans gives you not only good recommendations of where to visit but how to get there. 

Google Reminders

This one is not on everyone's radar but I use this feature quite a bit. You can tell the Google Assistant to set a reminder message for the next time you are at a specific place or business. It will notify you the next time you are at that place of your reminder message.

100,000+ Websites and Mobile Apps

Another interesting fact is that Google allows developers to access the Google Maps API to create rich datasets to use in their mobile apps or websites. This accesses the Google My Business Listing information in all sorts of interesting ways. A local developer has a new app that is nearly out of beta and it uses GMB Listing information as one of its key components. The app is called DateCrawl and it provides date activities and restaurant recommendations based on price, distance, activity level, and attire. The app then searches for restaurants and activities near your location and provides prebuilt dates with several activities based on your search criteria. I have provided some screenshots to show how GMB Listing data is used by third parties in their apps and software.
All of the business information and images used in the app come directly from the Google My Business Listings.
All of the business information and images used in the app come directly from the Google My Business Listings.


Google Home (no screen)

Well, I can't exactly add any screenshots here. Google My Business Listings are the key to having your business information available on any Google Home or Google Assistant device. Google uses all of the data to allow someone to search for businesses and also allows several actions to be performed. Here are a few common ones that use the GMB listing data...

How do I get to name of business
Call name of business
Is name of business open?

Google Lens

This amazing app is still in its infancy but already is beginning to become a way that I am searching more frequently. You simply open the app and Google Lens uses a live view of your camera and starts searching objects and places in the real world. This is the first step in real-time augmented reality that adds another layer to the way we will be searching in the future.
No typing, no clicks, no voice, just point your phone at the real world and get search results. Does it seem important now that Google has a rich set of data about your business? Have you ever heard of a free service for business owners called Google My Business? Well, it's the future!

If I told you 10 years ago that you could point your phone at Sinclair Community College and it would not only recognize it but it would do it instantly would you believe me? 
If you made it to the bottom of this post then you may be as crazy as I am. I hope that you have seen Google My Business used in a way that you hadn't seen before. Also, take a moment and think about how you can use many of these scenarios to let potential clients know that their Google Business Listing may be showing up in more places than just the front page of Google.

Feel free to share your own examples of places you have seen GMB listing data used online and reach out anytime with feedback or questions.

written by: Joseph Danzer
email: sales@advancedonlineinsights.com

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