UPDATE: Some of my better-read compatriots have pointed me towards Greg Sterling’s article from April about how Google is using the layout below to appease anti-competition complaints in Europe.  So take my theories below as pure entertainment, as it should be. Nick Rink of Smart Local , a UK Local SEO firm, posted a screenshot […]

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 On Monday, my SearchEngineLand column will preview the results of a new Google Places Ranking Factors study conducted by Bizible.  Aaron Bird, CEO & Night Janitor of Bizible, approached me a month or two ago about the study and I was intrigued by his approach. The study is a scientific complement to David Mihm’s well-known […]

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A frustrated practitioner of bail bonds SEO laments about Google Places, Where Crooked Businesses Take Over: “Here’s another great example of the wonder of Google Places and Google’s dealings with Local Search. Type in Google, “Santa Clarita Bail Bonds.” (this example could be done for many other keywords if you care to try) You will see […]

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I haven’t pontificated on last week’s changes that removed most of the third party data from displaying on Google Place Pages – I basically agree with David Mihm’s assessment of the situation – this is an interface update, not an algorithm update. This article by FT.com implies that Google removed 3rd party reviews from Place […]

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Mike Blumenthal has some concerns re Google Places’ new user review feeds: When was the last time you heard a reviewer ask for an RSS feed of their reviews? Well maybe some reviewer some place did… but then I suggest you follow Google’s instructions and go find it. Instead of attaching it to the obvious place in […]

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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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