Do you ever wonder how search engines think? How Google decides where to rank your store/location on Google Maps? It’s a kind of “artificial intelligence” that attempts to mimic the way humans think! Search engines are designed to give the best results to the user among a dynamic digital world where things are changing at lightning speed. It is rumored that there are over 3,000 signals that go into a local ranking algorithm (i.e. Google Maps). Nobody knows the real story, but we know that listing accuracy and reviews each play a key role.
Topics: Google, Blog, business listing, chatmeter, Google Places, Local SEO, Local business listing, Local Business Listings, local search ranking, Local Search Rankings, Local SEO, Online Reviews, Reviews
As Google moves business listings from their old dashboard to their new one, some conflicts have risen for business owners. Google no longer accommodates more than one authorized owner per business location. In the past, Google allowed multiple Google user accounts to claim a single business listing. One major reason was that both large retailers and agencies could do bulk updating and claiming for multiple locations. They have changed their policy on this and now only a single user can own a location, so it’s cleanup time. Even small businesses with just a single location may get notified if some past Google user has claimed a duplicate listing of yours. The dashboard shows some businesses had listings that were claimed into more than one account or had been claimed in multiple ways. Google has been sending out emails to these businesses urging them to take action, otherwise some of their information will no longer be shown to Google users. “When people search for your business or a category your business is in, you won’t show up in the listings”…that is definitely not good news.
Google has recently updated its Place pages by removing third party online reviews. There are a variety of reasons for this, but one significant reason is likely due to an ongoing anti trust suit filed against Google. One of the issues was that Google places used reviews from Yelp, Tripadvisor, and other review sites which helped Google provide more value for the places product. But the bigger issue was when Google then started showing Google Places higher up in the rankings over these same sites they were pulling content from. In addition, the recent explosion in review generation on google directly is a contributing factor (“we don’t need your stinkin’ reviews!”). Not anymore anyway.
Topics: Google, Google Places, Local SEO, Local Business, local search ranking, Local Search Rankings, Missing Reviews, Monitoring Online Reviews, Online Reviews, Reputation Management, Reputation Monitoring, Review Management, Reviews
Google’s New Review Filter shows a need for monitoring online reviews. The new Google Places page is generating quite the buzz across the net as it has created new opportunities for businesses to reach local markets. Consequently, analyzing how Google Places compiles, filters, and displays customer reviews is a crucial step to managing a business’s online reputation and developing a strong online presence on local search.
So what do Google Places’ latest changes mean for online reputation management?
If you hadn’t heard about or noticed Google’s most recent changes to their organic search results page, then you're likely just starting to learn about Local Search Optimization. Here at chatmeter, we wanted to write specifically about the potential effects it has on SMB owners. The most predominate change that has come with the new design has an enormous impact on local searches. When Google believes the user is looking for services provided at the local level, they are now displaying a lot more local business results at the top along with their Place page information (address, reviews, etc) displacing many of the directory results (such as Superpages, MerchantCircle, Yellowpages.com, etc). The previous “7-pack” has been abandoned. Sometimes organic results and place page results are intermingled and other times, as you see in this graphic, nearly the whole first page is place page results pushing the organic website results to the bottom of the page. Old Layout New Layout Above is an example of the comparison between Google’s old and new layout formation. As you can see, the Local results are now taking up most of the initial page, which allows consumers a quicker approach to finding what they are searching for. The information presented shows the address, phone number, customer reviews and 1 click access to the Google Place Page
Google has recently made a significant change to its "places" review layout. Google is no longer displaying a mix of reviews from Google Maps users and reviews from other 3rd party online directories. Now, they are grouping all reviews from 3rd party online directories in a section called “Reviews from around the web” with just one review listed on each directory and a link to visit the directory to view more reviews about that particular business. Just below that, visitors can see reviews left specifically on Google Maps. This is a very significant change, which can affect both the consumer visiting the place page and the business owner who owns that page.
For consumers, it’s helpful because they are now showing the overall rating and number of reviews coming from, for example, Yelp, which was not included previously.
Google is doing everything they can to entice local business owner to claim their local business listings on Google Places. This week our clients starting receiving letters in the mail from Google enclosed with actual gift cards worth $100 in advertising on Google AdWords. There's no obligation or commitment and you can stop advertising on AdWords when your free trial is over.
Today Google launched a new feature in Google Places (formerly Local Business Center) that enables verified business owners with local business listings to publicly respond to customer's online reviews. Two thumps up! This is definitely a nice feature because it encourages business owners to engage in a two-way conversation with customers. By responding to online feedback, it shows your customers that you care about their opinion and are willing to go the extra mile to maintain a positive online reputation. Feedback, whether positive or negative, is always an opportunity to win new business!
Google Maps, formerly Local Business Center, is offering a free 30 day trial for its local business advertising tags. The service helps your local business listing stand out by adding an eye-catching yellow tag that can allow your potential customers to print out a coupon. This offer expires July 23rd, so act fast or you may lose out on this opportunity.