Tag Archive | "Google Maps"

Google Places Phased Out: What this Means for Local Businesses

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Google Places Phased Out: What this Means for Local Businesses


During the last year, when Google announced that its social networking service, Google + would be usable by businesses, there was a lot of speculations about how this would affect Google’s main product: the search results. We all know how the Google search engine works, at least the basics. First, you have the “natural” search results, where the page rank is based on Google’s algorithm in determining how high a website would rank in search results. Then, we have the paid search ads, or Google’s Adwords service.

Google has, however, made changes to how local businesses show up in search results. First, they altered the way search results are displayed, so that businesses that are local to the user would have their websites appear higher in search results when the searcher was from their local area. Then there is Google Places, which is a kind of directory for local businesses. It worked relatively well and had one major advantage: listings were completely free.

But on May 31st, all the Google Places listings have been replaced instead by Google + local pages. This change is automatic and has affected 80 million pages on Google Places.

There are also a few other changes that were made related to this: a “local” tab now appears in the main Google + interface, allowing users to instantly find local businesses while they’re browsing the social network. Google has taken over Zagat and integrated their local business reviews in the Google + Local service. While Google Places had reviews and ratings of businesses, they weren’t nearly as complete as they should have been. In fact, even some relatively popular businesses just had a dozen or so reviews, even though they have thousands of customers each month. The traditional search results aren’t the only place where Google has integrated Google + local pages. In fact, they will appear in search results on Google Mobile Search and in Google Maps as well.

There are a few reasons that could be cited for this change in the way Google operates when it comes to local business search. It has been said that Google hoped to make their Places platform a complete interactive service where local merchants and customers would interact and communicate with each other. However, this didn’t fully happen as they had planned. A big reason was the limitations of the Google Places platform, that wasn’t as “social” as it should have been. Google + Local Pages gives merchants the ability to present a more complete picture of their business and also allows their customers to have more social interaction. When a user is logged into Google +, for example, they will see the reviews and recommendations made by friends before seeing other information. This encourages users to create more content on the platform, by interacting with merchants such as when they ask questions or write a review of the products and services they’ve received from them.

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How to Do SEO for Local Businesses

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How to Do SEO for Local Businesses


If you own a local small business, then you are probably looking for ways to increase your business visibility in the online world. Well, there are various ways that this can be accomplished. For example, you can use social media or pay per click ad solutions. But let’s not forget that SEO is important too. However, many small business owners neglect to pay any attention to SEO, because they believe that there is way too much competition and that they will not be able to advance anywhere in the rankings.

But recently, Google has made some changes to the way search results are ranked when it comes to local keyword. The search engine uses geo location to determine the area where the user is located in and then displays search results which are relevant both to the user’s area and the keywords they were looking for.

How do you take advantage of this recent change to go up in the rankings? It is actually relatively easy, there are just a few things to do:

First, optimize your pages for both your main keyword and the area in which you do business. So for example if your main keyword is “plumbing” and you do business in Miami, then you would optimize your pages for the keywords “plumbing Miami” and “Miami plumbing”. Also, be sure that every one of your pages has a reference to your location on it. This can be easily done simply by putting your address and phone number in the footer of every page. Not only does this allow customers to see your contact info on each page, but will also let Google determine your location more easily.

If your business is not listed on Google Maps, then you should make sure that it is. Simply request a listing and it will appear in the results in the next few weeks. Local business listings appear on Google Maps together with web sites, so it will make it very easy for your customers to find you.

To optimize your website for “local SEO”, it is also a good idea to list your business in as many online business directories as possible. Not only will this potentially give you traffic coming from the directory itself, but it will also give you some very valuable backlinks as well. Backlinks that are coming from other sites that are related to your area, such as local business associations, chambers of commerce, etc. are also very helpful in this scenario.

While doing SEO may seem complicated, in reality it is not. You just need to have the proper information and take time to do the right actions. Remember that SEO is not meant to replace, but rather to work together with other types of online advertising that your business uses, so you can still keep using Adwords or social media ads in addition to deploying efforts to get your site to rise through the rankings.

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New Google SERPS Means More Traffic For Your Website

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New Google SERPS Means More Traffic For Your Website


Some of you may of noticed Googles new results page and have you wondered how this might affect your websites search engine results position ?

Google has for the last year have been slowly changing the way their search works, for example the search results are more tailored to the individual using the computer.  The new design is very similar to bing and yahoo.  But Google still dominate the search engine niche with last month being one of their best months in terms of users using Google compared to other search engines.

The new SERPs may make SEO webmasters a little worried as to how users will now start to use the new tools that Google provides users and how results will be displayed.  I can say that my traffic stats to my website haven’t changed much since the new Google changes have been introduced but my enquiries and sales have dropped a little which makes me think if this is a result of the recent Google changes, but i doubt very much as my bounce rate is still the same so im just guessing its a seasonal issue.

The options in the left panel of the new look Google pull from “everything” – classic Google results (universal, organic, paid, etc.), blogs from Google Blog Search, Books from Google Books (which includes magazines), Images from Google Image Search, News from Google News, Maps from Google Maps, Shopping from Google Product Search, Videos from Google Video (which includes videos from YouTube and other sources), and Updates from Google’s real-time search.

You will also notice that at the end of the search results page it will show live results from Twitter and match any keywords from a live feed directly from Twitter.  Google is moving more towards giving you live results as its constantly improving the way it gives the end user results.

I recently ran an experiment using Twitter as a way to get traffic from using the live twitter service on Google by using a plugin on my wordpress blog that updated my twitter account every 15 mins with new articles and this brought in alot of traffic as Google was picking up my keywords in my tweets and giving them tops spot on the results of Google helping direct organic traffic straight to my blog.  The only drawback on this was the plugin i was using crashed my server as it was using alot of bandwidth as it was an autoblog adding 7 new articles every minute, so you can image what this did to my server.  However at the time i was getting around 500 clicks, many from very competitive keywords on Google via the Twitter live feed.

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