About Derek McKenzie

Derek McKenzie

Derek was hired at what came to be EZlocal in 2007.  He built EZlocal.com and the backend utilities that are used by the customer service, sales, recruiting and billing departments. Today Derek is the lead developer at EZlocal.com, working mainly in the Microsoft stack on big data projects.

Derek McKenzie on Google+


The Roots of the "Smartphone"

Can you imagine a small screen without touch these days? Just short years ago, touch screens literally didn’t exist. The best mobile device available was like a Palm Treo or some other bogus color screen device with a keyboard. Just 10 years ago we all coveted the Motorola Razr! Again, just short 7 years ago, “smartphones” as we know them today did not exist even as a vision in our brains. [More]

Facebook Graph Search: First Impressions

I have been playing with Facebook Graph Search for a few days now. It certainly isn't the Google killer that a lot of sites have played it up to be, not yet at least. My overall first impression: A nice improvement to the user interface, but lacks meat on the bones yet. From a design and user experience perspective, I love it. It integrates into the original, familiar blue bar seamlessly. They removed the search box and left only a place to type. If anything, this will make Facebook easier to navigate to things I do not have shortcuts to already. +1. The default search options are all pretty useful. They give you, with no typing required: My Friends, Photos of my friends, Restaurants nearby, Games my friends play, Music my friends like, Photos I have liked. All of the options seem pretty optimal for content discovery. [More]

Super Bowl XLVII Player Factoids

In just two days, the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens will meet in Super Bowl XLVII. Us EZlocalers are pretty excited. Most of us love football and all of us are data nerds. We gathered some info about the two 53 man rosters and came up with a list of Super Bowl XLVII 2013 player factoids. As always, we had a little fun with maps. [More]

5 Quick and Easy Link and Citation Sources for your Local Business

Citations and links are still huge driving forces behind ranking in the major search engines.  After focusing on getting listed on the major sites (Google, Bing, Yelp, etc) and exhausting the top local business listings sites, shift your focus to hyper local sites for that extra ranking boost.  Almost every area has local business listing opportunities.     Let's assume that we are a new flower shop in Peoria, IL and walk through some real examples of where to get your business listed.   ... [More]

Google Embeds Seeds Into Mailing

Last week, we saw an article about a new marketing piece Google's AdWords department sent out.  Awesomely enough, we received the letter in the mail today. It reads: "PS: This card was printed on 100% recycled paper embedded with wildflower seeds. Plant it in a sunny spot with a thin layer of soil, add water, and watch it grow" Pretty cool, no?  So we decided to take the rational approach and have a  [More]

Looking for a drug dealer in Chicago?

Have you been looking for a drug dealer in Chicago?  Google maps has you covered! This surprisingly brought up some map results today, even more surprising to see the Chicago Police at the top. Diving into it, you see a lot of high profile articles posted about Chicago Police and drug busts, which leads me to believe that the new places results are using these as citations. More of the same is found under the Nation of Islam, and citations regarding drug dealer reform and cleaning up drug infested communities. My take away here: the new algorithm is becoming much smarter than the old, although still has a few deficiencies. Brand mentions, old fashion links, and other traditional SEO efforts may factor much more in to Google Places results than ev... [More]

Going Beyond NAP: Building a Better Business Profile

Within the local search industry NAP stands for “name, address, and phone number,” the most basic data any business profile will contain. Name gives you the who, address gives you the where and phone number gives you the how (eg. how to get in contact with the business). All too often profiles stop there, neglecting to offer further detail, thus miring themselves in a sea of bland search results. Businesses, especially small businesses, must do better. Large chains can get away with this lack of detail because most people already know who they are, what they sell and when they’re open. Small businesses don’t have this luxury; their profiles must be robust, providing as much information as possible so potential customers have some idea what to expect. Here are three details that every small business owner should include in their business profile: Hours of Operation: If name, address and phone number are the who, what and how, hours... [More]

Google Gets Local-er

Google has, once again, stepped up their localization features.  When searching a local area under the map, displayed are some hyperlocal search refinements, see "Naperville, IL."  The first two suggestions we get are very generic and relevant anywhere: Hotels and Restaurants.  The rest are unique to Naperville.  The Naper Settlement, Ribfest and the Riverwalk are three cornerstones to Naperville life.  Checkout some others: [More]