Lior Ron announced today that Google is dumping the HotPot brand for its local reviews system and rolling it into Google Places. It’s a good move and I am guessing an indicator of more product coherence from GOOG as a result of Larry Page becoming CEO. I was always confused by the HotPot brand. Most, […]

Read More

Reviews of businesses on Groupon have been spotted on Google Place Pages since January: Last year I speculated that social local applications like Twitter & Foursquare could start to cause a lot of SEO problems for IYPs because they could easily replicate the IYP structure while providing a lot more unique content. Groupon reviews are […]

Read More

From Danny Sullivan’s piece on Google’s latest “Farmer Update”: We’re evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content. We’ll continue to explore ways to reduce spam, including new ways for users to give […]

Read More

We’ve got rats. There I said it. I opened up the door to my furnace and found a scattering of crusty little rat droppings. And to make matters worse I think the rats have mites as I woke up this morning with a big bite taken out of my posterior (TMI?). So who you gonna […]

Read More

Groupon showing up in the clustered results in Place Search.

Glenn Gabe just pinged me that he is now seeing Groupon showing up in Google Place SERPs: According to Glen, this sucks for Groupon advertisers because: All of the Groupons I came across were expired. That’s right, when you click through the link in the clustered results, you end up at the Groupon page for […]

Read More

Just checked out the new Google Places Iphone App – “now with Hotpot!”.  It’s a nice enough local reviews service The UI is simple and looks good. Besides being able to review a business, which is nothing new these days, perhaps the biggest thing the app has going for it is the aggregation of all […]

Read More

I thought it would be nice to end the year highlighting the blog’s top 10 most popular posts for the year. Thanks to all my readers, commenters, linkers, lurkers, clients and of course Google for making it a great year. Lifestyle Lift – Fake Reviews Will Cost You Real $ A 2009 post, but in […]

Read More

Mike Blumenthal’s When Will Google Places Fix Reviews? hit a nerve, as I imagine it would for any business that relies on Google Places as an important part of its presence on the Web.  I spend a lot of time sending emails to Mike and other Local SEO’s that go something like this “Have you noticed […]

Read More

Liveblogging Carter Maslan’s talk at BIA Kelsey’s ILM 2010: The long tail of local is extremely long The launch of Places search increased the clicks to third party sites by 400% Places is trying to increase the “surface area” of local information There is a local dimension to almost everything (critics, tribes, events, news, credentials, […]

Read More

Google Places has updated its Quality (read “Anti MapSPAM”) Guidelines – see below. It’s unclear whether these updates reflect additions to the AntiSPAM algorithm or if they are just suggestions, but GOOG does seem to be clearly addressing some of the most obvious MapSPAM strategies – particularly around business names, locations and categorization. To me […]

Read More

Even though it appears that GOOG has a database of Jamaican and other nearby island businesses, you can’t add new ones.

Read More

I noticed “Hotpot” was trending on Twitter and discovered that tonight Google launched it’s response to Yelp and all of the other local social recommendation thingies.  Don’t have time for a pseudo-thoughtful post on the subject so I thought a few screenshots would do.  More later:

Read More

Ionadas Local and Sentient Services just published the results of an eye-tracking study on the (old as of 10/27/10) Google Local SERPs that is certainly worth a look. Here’s a summary of the results and some screenshots: 1. People seem to be ignoring the maps 2. This is probably one of the reasons why GOOG […]

Read More

While putting together the Top 10 Reviews Sites In Google Place Search report, we noticed what we thought were testimonials from a business’ website showing up in the reviews section of the result. See the below screenshot from a SERP for “Los Angeles Car Dealers“: In its FAQ on Rich Snippets, Google states that testimonials […]

Read More

Given the increased prominence of reviews sites in new Google Place Search SERPs, I thought it might be interesting to see which ones were showing up most often. The following is sort of 2010 version of my 2009 IYP SEO Rankings Report. This data is hardly thorough – I only looked at the top 10 […]

Read More

One component of the new Google Place Search is the merging of local and organic results in a more blended layout. While local marketers around the world are scrambling to figure out any new algorithm changes that have resulted from this release, a battle royale has broken out amongst otherwise civil-toned SEO bloggers to lay […]

Read More

It’s still too early to tell, but I track the traffic on a number of local directory sites around the world and thus far I have not seen a significant change in Google referrals. Could it be that rumors of the Yellow Pages death have been greatly exaggerated by bloggers seeking page views? Tweet

Read More

Tweet At first glance, the new Google Local SERPs appear to be a potentially big problem for local directories that rely on SEO for traffic. But with change always comes opportunity. As you can see in the screenshot above, when a city does not have many businesses in a service category, there is still an […]

Read More

Tweet Thought it might be of interest to catalogue the different types of Google Local SERPs I am seeing: 7 Pack Lite Standard 7 Pack listings with map in right column above ads.  10 Web results below. UPDATE: 3 Pack Lite Standard 3 Pack listings with map in right column above ads.  7 Web results […]

Read More

Tweet So it appears that the new Google Local SERPs are imminent.  As you may recall, my initial take on this pending event was that it spelled doom for the Yellow Pages and local directories biz.  So I thought I’d take you for a spin through these new SERPs and see what we can see: […]

Read More

Tweet Fire up an Incognito browser, do some local searches and you might see some new Google local SERPs. It looks like Google may have unleashed the new All-Google-Places local layout they had been testing in more cities (Update: I have reports that this is being seen in Burbank & Australia and others that it […]

Read More

Sometimes we SEO types forget to take our own advice. Several months ago, after not having touched my Google Places Page for years, I updated the photo. Immediately my edit was rejected and my listing was removed from Google Maps. I misinterpreted this as a problem with the new image and resubmitted the old one, […]

Read More

I was telling Greg Sterling about how the new meat market in Pleasanton is killing it on their Facebook Page, which was created by a customer, and on Yelp despite the fact that they don’t have a Google Place Page and the business itself isn’t even participating in any of this. From Greg’s The Curious […]

Read More

Google announced a number of upgrades to its voice search application today.  One of them looks like it could be particularly troublesome to local search directory players.  From TechCrunch: Another feature is the ability to call any business in Google Search. This does not have to be a company in your local contacts app — […]

Read More

Executive Summary: Who knows? But here’s a data point of one: The Main Street Meat N Fish Market recently opened in Pleasanton.  My wife asked me to find their hours so I went to Google and queried “pleasanton meat n fish market“.  At the top of the SERP was this result from Patch.com (congrats to […]

Read More

With all of the brouhaha going on about Google’s test of a new local SERP for category searches that will make it much harder for local directories to get traffic, I became almost willfully blind to the more subtle change that had occurred to the SERP for business name queries.  Thanks to Patrick Altoft for […]

Read More

Chris Silver Smith brings up a great point in today’s Local’s Only column about Google’s new local SERP design they are testing: …you might think that the newer, larger listing treatment might be beneficial for the visibility of these businesses. But, think again—for any of them which have been doing significant search marketing activities, this […]

Read More

David Mihm has done it once again and published another edition of Local Search Ranking Factors.  This year David surveyed 32 local search geeks to get their takes on the top factors for ranking high in Google Maps.  The entire set of results is well worth the time for any business that wants to do […]

Read More

:-)

Mike Blumenthal has a great recap of a recent webinar held by the Google Places team where they answered a lot of frequently asked questions.  Here are a couple of my faves: Q: Can we use call tracking phone numbers in our listings? if not, why? A: No, please use the most local phone number […]

Read More

Dave Rodecker of Local Splash uncovers the latest tweak to Google Place Pages, the ability for business owners to add custom links such as Twitter and Facebook Profiles:

Read More