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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 — […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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