In our last Google Local blog post Will Google Places Search Integration Effect Organic SEO? we looked at the possible impact that the new style Google result listings for local search would have on organic rankings. Lets take a look into how things have developed and what you can do to boost your Places page.
As predicted in that article, a position in the Google Places map listing is now open to the Paid Search market. These come in the form of a blue map marker, which clearly stands out over the several natural listings- not great news for SEO’s but nethertheless a change worth noting. The introduction of Google Hotpot has help boost the amount of direct citations Google receives, allowing users to directly review a business from within their Google Account.
The number of searches that includes the Google Places map marker is now around 20% of total search volume. Not only that, this figure is constantly increasing highlighting a growing importance for SME’s to optimise their listing for local search. Here are a number of pointers to consider when completing your listing.
Previously only tailored to the US, there is now an UK beta version. (http://uk.getlisted.org/) Although currently fairly limited, it does give you a clear overview of what’s required to gain full listings on some of the top sources for local citations.
There’s no doubt that reviews are one of the best ways to boost your local search rankings, but getting genuine reviews naturally is not something that happens all that easy. Offering incentives is deemed inappropriate by Google, and if found out may result in your page being deleted. Here are a few things you can do to help build them up legitimately.
Google has made no secret that it wants to tap into the discount voucher market, it was only a few months ago that it tried to take control (http://www.businessinsider.com/why-groupon-said-no-to-google-2010-12) of group buying giant Groupon for $6 billion. You can imagine the motivation it now has for superseding them with their own voucher selling system – Google Offers. Although very much in development, Google has pushed this big time in America to get as many companies to register their interest as possible. Our guess is that this will take off massively and could influence the search results yet again. I mean if Google has a vested interest in your company selling vouchers through them, it wouldn’t be unreal to think they’ll push you up the listings to help you achieve this would it?
Thanks for reading, Team Breaktheseal
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