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Competing for Visibility: Google+ Local Ranking Factors

The shift to social (Google+) has been indicative of a more democratized local algorithm. Further evidence is Google Map Maker being increasingly relied on as the back-end for Google+ Local. Looking ahead, the Google Local Business Center used for edits/updates/reporting will likely be wholly integrated into Google+ Local with Map Maker serving as the back-end “mapper-driven” verification tool. We've just put out a 2012/2013 Google+ Local SEO Guide which points out a few things SMB Marketers should be aware regarding some updates to Google+ Local, including some tips to improve visibility in local search.   [Read Full Article]

Google Street View Inside World Cup

Google Street View's coverage extends well beyond local business search. We took a virtual cruise through South Africa and got an amazing sneak peak at some popular World Cup destinations including inside peaks at seven stadiums. A great adventure for football (aka "soccer") fans. We even got off the beaten path and spotted an elephant! Yup. Not too many of those roaming around on Main Street. These images are pretty fresh as Google just snapped a slew of new ones in and around host nation South Africa. Here are some amazing Street View portals to get you started: Soccer City Stadium [Read Full Article]

Areas Served, Service Areas, Location Settings, Radius -- Now in Google Maps and LBC

A few minutes ago our SEO Program Director stumbled upon a neat, new feature in Google’s Local Business Center: Service Areas and Location Settings. Complementing this new feature is a map that displays your modifications and updates as you make them on the left: At EZlocal, we are extremely excited about this new change, as it solves one of the tragic flaws of local business search: What if your business is not located in the areas you serve? For example, what if you own a woodworking business located in Cicero, IL that does very high-end work. You wouldn’t want to be found in Cicer... [Read Full Article]

View More Than 10 Reviews in Google Maps: A Quick URL Hack

Here at EZlocal, we love Google. Everyone uses Google as their primary search engine and Gmail as their email client. Nearly the whole office is connected through Google Talk and most people use Chrome as their browser. A few of us even look forward to the day when we can pay our taxes directly to Google. Since our specialty is local business search, it comes as no surprise that a fair amount of our time is spent nosing around Google Maps and Google’s Local Business Center, constantly searching for more ways to increase exposure to our members, small business owners. To this end, we find ourselves pondering questions like these: What websites are cited on Google Maps? Are they being cited for business info, reviews, user content? What sites boast the most review citations in Google Maps? On our quest to answer these questions, we started to count and analyze the reviews that appear in... [Read Full Article]

Google's New Business Profile Feature - Nearby Places You Might Like

  Google has tucked a new feature into its business profiles under the reviews section called, “Nearby places you might like.”  As an employee of a small business search engine, features like this get me excited.  I am always looking for creative, new ways to link our ever-growing roster of members together in a relevant, cohesive manner.  By adding this feature, Google provides alternatives that users may not even have known to search for.  And, at the end of the day, this is exactly what a good search engine should do: bring the most relevant, useful information to the user so they can make an informed decision.   A couple of thoughts:   » The new feature doesn’t appear in every profile.  I tried five test queries this morning and then selected a profile, but the feature on... [Read Full Article]

Google Local Expands Review Snippets

Recently, Google added snippets from reviews into the Local Business Center in a way that only Google can do.  On the profile, Google chooses amazingly helpful portions of reviews and posts them.  Parallel to the moderately recent addition of rich snippets into search results with reviews and other information via microformats, Google has taken the rich review snippets to a new level.  Reviews about certain aspects of a business are now grouped together and an overall rating per category is calculated.  In the sushi example below, Google broke down reviews by the food and the service.  As a user, this information is fantastically useful as most people care more about certain things than others, take a look.   [Read Full Article]

Google Maps and Places

  As Google continues to integrate the local map results into the main SERPs, the more valuable a strong local profile becomes.  Google Maps and the Local Business Center are also much easier to work with than standard search results as they are much more transparent in their rankings.  With the recent implementation of “place pages,” the local search arena just got better.  Instead of just businesses Google seems to be indexing “places,” and just like local businesses, these places are being ranked.  These “places” also look just like the local business listings, the query “millennium park Chicago, il” brings us that familiar onebox business, now place, listing.     [Read Full Article]

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