Last week Google launched a controversial new feature on local Place Pages – a list of nearby businesses that promotes local competitors on a business’ Place Page, even if that business has claimed their GLBC profile. With this move Google has perhaps decided that the Yellow Pages industry is totally off their rockers – many YP sites show competitive listings on a business’ profile page only until the business becomes an advertiser.
As Matt McGee suggests, it would be a good move by Google to remove the Nearby Places list for businesses that have claimed their profile else Place Pages like the Buffalo jeweler’s found by Mike Blumenthal that shows 10 other jeweler listings will be the norm and those businesses that claim their profile and do the most work to make them more visible will also end up helping their competition the most.
Now all of this may be just a bunch of local search geeks getting all hot and bothered over what may not be a very big deal. After all, the nearby places are listed fairly low on the page and thus will not even be seen by most visitors. These lists are also good for people looking for local businesses so perhaps their needs should outweigh the sensitivities of business owners. But if you have a blog it’s your duty to put on your tinfoil hat and look for conspiracy theories:
Update: The following statement attributed to Mike Blumenthal may have been taken out of context and misinterpreted, but I like the way it sounds so for now I’ll keep it in:
Mike Blumenthal stated about this event: “when you add this to the “enhanced listing” experiment the only thing keeping them from being more like the YPs of old would be the high pressure salesmen.”
My response is that the high pressure YP salesman is not even in the same atmosphere. He’d need a hyperbaric chamber to keep up with this one. To wit:
As you can see the Nearby Places section appears below the “Details” & “Reviews” sections. If Google persists with putting competitors on your Place Page, then the best way to deal with it is to push them as far down as possible. The best way to do this: add more data to your details and get more reviews.
It’s almost as if Google created Nearby Places as a subtle (or perhaps not so subtle) way to get you to add more data to your Place Page.
Sorry gotta go, they need my hat for a grilled cheese.