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Google Places - BIG Changes!

Discussion in 'Offline Marketing' started by three3s, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. three3s

    three3s Regular Member

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    I'm sure by now most of you will have noticed the BIG changes Google have made to their Google Places (GP) service. For those who haven't noticed yet, simply search for any local service and your city name and you'll see what I mean.

    This now means that more than ever it is important for local businesses to have their GP listings ranked as high as possible. It also means that the organic search results now become less important as for the majority of niches these results have been pushed to either the bottom of the front page or on to the second page, resulting in far less exposure than the GP listings which now dominate the front page.

    I've got a couple of GP products which are reasonable but I'd still love to hear from guys on here who have been optimising GP listings for a while who can give some good guidelines on how to improve a client's GP listing in the SERPS.

    From what I understand from reading in the past, there are a few factors which can improve a GP listing which include:

    1. The more reviews the better.
    2. The more local and national directory listings the better.
    3. The more times the business's Name, Address and Phone Number appear on Google indexed web pages the better.

    If anyone can either confirm, deny or expand on these suggestions that would be a good place to start. Also if anyone has links to or the name of any good products on optimising GP results I'd love to have a look at them.

    If you want to discuss this further, along with other offline local marketing methods and practices then PM me for my AIM.

    Cheers.
     
  2. nickster

    nickster Newbie

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    Aberdeen fan in peace.....Local SEO is a nice distraction from footie.

    I'd also be interested in tips on optimising Google Places. Give me a shout if you want a chat, I'm just up the road in Perth.
     
  3. bashnya

    bashnya Newbie

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    Based on my sites and their performance, google places now seems to be a combination of local and organic optimization. A site which was not ranked organically on the frist page, but was ranking 2nd on local listing, no longer appears in the hybrid listing. On the other hand, the site that was ranking 3rd on organic, and 11th in local, is now 2nd on the hybrid listing.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
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  4. oinky222

    oinky222 Regular Member

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    improving your google places listing is fairly similar to improving a website listing. for your typical "on-page" seo stuff, instead of putting the keyword in the url, title, h1, etc, "on-page" seo for google places consists of filling out your profile completely (using up as many picture and video slots as they allow, etc) and getting as many positive realistic looking reviews as possible. for off-page seo, its like building backlinks, except instead of links, you are building "citations". the main difference is that unlike backlinks, citations from no follow webpages still count for google places listing, and im not sure but i dont think google places puts as much value, if any, on the PR of the site that the link is on.
     
  5. Theodore

    Theodore Power Member

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    Google Places has totally ruined my plans i had for my offline business.
    Seriously what business cares that there ranked #1? When theres 5-6 Google Places results before them. There going to be wanting to be ranking #1 in Google places.

    I've been doing some reading about it and i read the more information you can fill out in the google places the easier it is to rank, reviews help and also the age of your domain does.
    Accept for that im clueless and not amused! :p

    oinky222 So your saying aslong as you fill it all out right and has reviews/pictures/videos. The site with the most backlinks gets to the top of Google Places?
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2010
  6. pk_69

    pk_69 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    It looks like a combination of two -organic search position and google places ..

    I have a client that was ranking on the first page for many local keywords (lets say windows replacement city) and didn't even know he has google profile. Now his profile is #3 on the first page, so overall it's even better than before when organic listing was pushed down by local map. Another one though was #2 for interior design and now is barely making to the first page in the last position. It would be interesting to see if it will change when we create google profile.

    If this is a combination of two - I think I like it. I wasn't stepping into Google Places because none of the techniques from organic ranking was working there and I don't want whole day writing reviews, I'm good in what can be automated
    I guess G realized that soon every local niche will be filled with sites with hundreds faked reviews trying to get to local pack.

    I also like that floating map covering PPC listings - what a great sales point for my services..

    pk
     
  7. graddis

    graddis Junior Member

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    I saw my clients places listings sky rocket. You do some great off site Seo combined with a ton of citations and reviews and good things will happen. It takes time but if you do this right you will find yourself with too much business. A good problem to have.

    The reviews are now more important then ever and never fake the reviews. I put this on the client. Have then get 3 reviews a week and diversify them....some google, some yahoo, some yelp. In the new system you will stick out with lots of reviews and your client will be rewarded.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2010
  8. Troon

    Troon Newbie

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    Take-aways for Small Business

    1. If your business doesn't have a website, you'll miss out on local search now!
    2. Web presence is more important now too - look at the clustered results. Searchers may not click on your website, they may click on one of the other links
    3. AdWords will get more competitive for local businesses
    4. Online reviews and Citations are more important than ever now
     
  9. oinky222

    oinky222 Regular Member

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    more or less, i think so, although there may be a few other random variables. for example, ive also heard that in general, google favors listings that are near the center of a city rather than around the outskirts. but for the most part, building up "citations" (which are not the same as backlinks) is the main way to improve your listing. i recommend checking out Google Maps Cash by Chad Kimball (wizgizmo shared it awhile ago i think), it's very comprehensive and walks you step by step through getting a top listing in the local searches. it's much better than the other google maps courses
     
  10. oinky222

    oinky222 Regular Member

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    more or less, i think so, although there may be a few other random variables. for example, ive also heard that in general, google favors listings that are near the center of a city rather than around the outskirts. but for the most part, building up "citations" (which are not the same as backlinks) is the main way to improve your listing. i recommend checking out Google Maps Cash by Chad Kimball (wizgizmo shared it awhile ago i think), it's very comprehensive and walks you step by step through getting a top listing in the local searches. it's much better than the other google maps courses
     
  11. websitesareus

    websitesareus Junior Member

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    Occupation:
    Web Designer
    Location:
    San Diego
    Here is one interesting result:

    I own the website citynamewheelchair.c*m and as it's just an Adsense site not a local business, I obviously haven't submitted to any local directories.

    Before it was always at organic #2 or 3 after the 10box somewhere in the middle below the fold. Now I rank #1 on the very top of the page for the search term 'cityname wheelchair', and the local results start after my site!

    Cool!

    So having the exact keywords 'cityname' and 'business' in the domain really helps even if you are not even in the local results!

    Forget the local submissions and reviews, just get the right domain name :D
     
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  12. simit

    simit Registered Member

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    Local (maps/local/places) has had a touch of organic SEO love in it's algo from quite some time ago. If you know how to bang citations & anchor text, and hit the relevant site list you'll never have an issue in this space. The only major thing I've noticed lately in my rankings and client's ranking in the 7-box zone, is that it's displaying quite a bit different on the front of regular searches....map to the far right, and no 'boxy' effect, with an appearnce of mixing into the regular organic listings. This imho will likely bring far more traffic to those hitting the top 7-box space.

    w00t w00t

    simit
     
  13. beamz

    beamz Newbie

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    I dont like it at all. Im still a SEO newb and was going to try my hand at the online/offline hybrid method discussed here. From what I gather that won't work seeing how the method calls for advertising for local businesses and I don't have a physical address.

    Feels like I just got slapped in the face...HARD
     
  14. bhbfun

    bhbfun Junior Member

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    This seems like big time bad news for a lot of 3rd party marketing companies that focus on driving local traffic through high organic results. It seems to me that organic ranking will be obsolete for local searches.
     
  15. Qizak

    Qizak Newbie

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    You described almost my exact position. I even invested quite a bit of time and effort and feel almost like it is wasted. I hope google makes the local pack smaller or use a different layout to show more organic results.
     
  16. teeniegenie

    teeniegenie Supreme Member

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    what?
     
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  17. three3s

    three3s Regular Member

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    He's saying he supports Aberdeen football club, a Scottish club in the same football (footie) league as my beloved Hibernian.

    When I say football I mean proper football, not American football :p
     
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  18. lewi

    lewi Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I just noticed this too and it really does suck!

    I had a big project based on local search rankings and now it seems like it has been thrown out of the window because of this change as the whole point was my site would rank 1st for all keyphrases and not some google maps listing!

    Has anyone seen any sites locally outranking the google maps sites listings now? how are they doing it?

    Lewi
     
  19. lewi

    lewi Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I just noticed this too and it really does suck!

    I had a big project based on local search rankings and now it seems like it has been thrown out of the window because of this change as the whole point was my site would rank 1st for all keyphrases and not some google maps listing!

    Has anyone seen any sites locally outranking the google maps sites listings now? how are they doing it?

    Lewi
     
  20. ragster

    ragster Newbie

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    Morton fan chiming in :china: (*bows in deference to esteemed Premier League teams)




    Don't think that your time and effort has been wasted - it looks like the new rankings are determined by a COMBINATION of seo to the site PLUS Places optimisation.

    I've seen sites who were nowhere in Places previously, but who had good SERP suddenlt rocket to the top of Places.

    Also the bias towards city centres determined by the zip/postcode seems to have been relaxed. Many out of town businesses are appearing above more locally based, but not so well optimised competitors.

    It's still game on for getting 1st page on Google!