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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]

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... [Read Full Article]

Google Places Adds Google Boost

UPDATE: Google officially announces Local Advertising with Google Boost. Places accounts are lighting up with their own advertising system dubbed Google Boost. Google very quietly launched a new form of paid advertising for Google Places and local business listings call "Google Boost". You will notice within your Google Places Account, underneath the "Tags" lionk you there is a new otption for "Boost Ad". Notice that the ad mixes in with the typical paid AdWords ads.  The only distinction is the blue place marker. See one in action: First look at the i... [Read Full Article]

Stars in Google Local Search - Bookmark a Business

Google announced this week that they are rolling out stars in local search.  You may already be familiar with the concept from normal Google search results, and today's popular browsers.  You can customize future searches by bookmarking, or starring, the exact result you are looking for.  If you are like me, you will find it very handy for repeat searches for the same business. As you can see, each business listing is armed with stars. Now if you frequent a restaurant that you visit often, and you want quick access to in the future, you can now star this feature. To make it even more handy, its accessible via Google Mobile, in fact its the first option you see under local: [Read Full Article]

Over 2 Billion Local Searches on Google, Clients Benefit

According to the June comScore report, Google presented over 10 billion search results in the US last month alone. Of those, over 2 billion were local searches - consumers looking for products and services in their area -- to buy offline. As the number of local-based searches continues to grow on Google and Yahoo,’s clients are positioned to reap the growing benefits of targeting potential customers in their area. The local search space continues to offer new opportunities to small business owners who want to get a leg up on the competition. With somewhere around only 15% of existing business listings even being claimed online it’s winner takes all. It’s early bird takes the worm in local search, so businesses looking to secure top search engine placement need to act quickly. General contractors, plumbers, roofers, insurance agents, attorneys, dentists and jewelers are just a few of the small business owners who have b... [Read Full Article]

Google Places: Video Q&A

Google employees have been answering some user questions and ideas via YouTube. They cover topics from duplicates to spam, check out the YouTube playlist or see some of the "best of" embedded below. Our favorite takeaways are how to report duplicate listings (don't delete the listing complete or all instances may get deleted!), using Areas Served to hide your address, and "please do not rank business for wikipedia entry." Duplicate Listings How do I merge and/or report duplicate listings? [Read Full Article]

Google Places Adds “Needs Action” Alerts

A few minutes ago one of our senior account managers, Jordan, noticed a new feature in Google Places. A new alerts bar at the top of the page shows which profiles need action. Also, the profiles that need action (such as a PIN verification) are pushed to the top.     Further down the page he also noticed a new link that goes to a profile's analytics directly from the Google Places dashboard.  Mighty convenient Google, thanks!   [Read Full Article]

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