Google Places Adds New Features To Its Bulk Location Management Tool

google-local-places-featured Googler Jade Wang announced yesterday Google Places is rolling out new features to its bulk location management tool. According to the announcement, the new features will include a "Status" column that lets users know if a Map location is live, unverified, has errors, data conflicts, is a duplicate, or if it is pending review. The "Conflicts" interface is being updated as well: The updated [conflicts] interface will show you details on how a location page might differ on Maps/Search results versus what’s in your dashboard. We’ll show you what is live on Google, and which field is di [...]


As Google Upgrades Google Maps Business Listings, Conflicts Happen Including Duplicate Listing Issues

google-local-places-featured Google has been automatically upgrading Google Place listings from the old system to the new Google Places dashboard. With this upgrade, there may be conflicts that prevents the upgrade from completing. The latest conflict is that there are duplicate listing issues and Google needs you to step in, fix the issue and then complete the upgrade process. Google has recently began sending out notices of the duplicate place listings conflict via email to those impacted by this issue. The email reads: We'd like to inform you that Google Places no longer accommodates more than one authorized owner [...]


Time For SMBs To Tackle – Or Be Tackled By – Online Reviews

reviews-240px So much of search focuses on being found. But being found doesn’t do much good unless you’re also chosen. The only thing worse than not being found is being found and rejected from consideration. There’s no doubt that online reviews play an increasingly central role in the consumer path to purchase. Research consistently shows that the vast majority of consumers -- as high as 9 in 10 consumers, in one survey -- say they are being influenced by both positive and negative reviews during their decision process. Yet, despite this clear trend in consumer shopping behavior, a surprising [...]


Google Places Quality Guidelines Updated

google-local-places-featured Google quietly announced within the Google Help forums that they have made a clarification update to their Place quality guidelines to help business owners know what they can name their business within Google Local and what they can not. In short, Google is allowing a single descriptor within the business name, if and only if that descriptor is location information or describes your business offers. Here are the revised guidelines: Your title should reflect your business's real-world title. In addition to your business's real-world title, you may include a single descriptor that help [...]


Google Requiring Some Business To Reverify Their Listings Or Be Removed From Google Maps

google-local-places-featured Some business owners are receiving emails from Google requiring them to reverify their listings within three-weeks or their listings will be removed from Google Maps and Google+ Local. The emails contain the subject, "Action Required: You have 3 weeks to save your Google Places Listing." It is unclear how many businesses have received this notification and how many businesses this may have impacted. Google's Jade Wang said in a help thread that these emails are indeed from Google and should be taken seriously. The email reads: Due to changes in Google Maps, we’d like to inform you [...]


5 Tips To Kill The Competition In Local Search

local-search-map-featured If your business has a local presence -- anywhere -- you must take advantage of Google+ Local. Creating and optimizing Google+ Local profiles is a critical marketing practice for local small businesses, multi-location enterprises, national franchises and companies with a single physical location. It will help you reach the 97% of consumers who search for local businesses online. Google+ Local not only helps web searchers find and share local business information, it can also help your business get displayed near the top of Google SERPs. When a search is made with local intent, Google typi [...]


Google Places International Adds Over 1,000 New Categories For Business Listings

google-local-places-featured Google's Business community manager, Jade Wang, announced in a Google discussion forum thread that they have vastly increased the number of business categories available to businesses outside of the United States. Jade said they now have added "over 1,000 new categories in the new Places dashboard" for businesses around the world. The new categories are available in the new Places dashboard "globally and translated to every language Google supports," said Jade. Previously, only U.S. businesses had a vast number of categories to choose from. Why? Jade said there were a lot of complexities [...]


Google Places Listings Get Integrated Into Android’s Phone App — And They’re Terrible

android-featured A big change in Android 4.4 is: those using Google's new mobile operating system, nicknamed "KitKat," can search for businesses right from within the Phone app. How's it work? For me, it's awful. Google+ Invades The Android 4.4 “KitKat” Phone App: What It Means For Businesses & People is our separate article that explores the integration in general. In this article, I'll share some examples of how business search works -- and fails -- in Android 4.4. The Disappointing Local Results First up, I want to find a nearby restaurant. Using the Phone app, I type in "restaurants" into the [...]


Google Intros Android App For Managing Google Places Listings

google-places-icon Local business owners have a new tool for managing their Google Places For Business Listing. Mike Blumenthal got the scoop on the new Android app that lets SMBs update their business information, post update and photos to their Google+ Local Page, respond to comments on Google+ and more. It also offers very basic analytics data such as "impressions" and "actions." Google says that any changes made inside the app will show up across Google properties -- in search results, Google Maps, Google+ Local and Google's mobile search. The app, however, doesn't let business owners respond to c [...]


You’re Dead… If You Don’t Integrate Social Media & PR Into Your Local SEO Strategy

The peppered moth (Biston betularia), once white with black spots, faced a strange challenge in London during the Industrial Revolution. Buildings and trees, stained with soot, turned black. The light colored moths could no longer hide against this backdrop, and were eaten up by birds. But some peppered moths survived -- by turning black themselves! To survive, you must adapt and change with your environment. Otherwise, you're dead. That's the powerful lesson business owners, marketers and entrepreneurs can learn from a humble moth. The Times, They Are A-Changin' A major shift has tak [...]


5 Ways To Rank Outside Of Your Physical Location In Google Places

One of the more desperate requests I get from clients interested in Local Search is wanting to rank well in Google for local queries when they don't have a physical location in the searched city. The challenge is that Google appears to not want to show businesses that are not physically located in the searched city if they can avoid it. And, in their guidelines, they are fairly explicit about trying to game the listings, particularly with easily faked addresses like P.O. Boxes: "Do not create a listing or place your pin marker at a location where the business does not physically exist. P.O [...]


Google Places For Business Gets Its Own iPhone App For Managing Listings [Update: Google Removed App]

google-places-icon Local business owners have a new tool for managing their Google Places For Business listing: a dedicated app that works on the iPhone and iPod Touch. There's no official announcement that I can find about the app, and as best I can tell, the iClarified blog was first to report on it. The Google For Places Business app is a free download in the iTunes app store. I haven't tried it yet (and may not be able to given the ongoing mess as Google merges the Places dashboard with Google+ Local), but here's how Google describes the app's capabilities: Business owners can use the app to: - Verif [...]


10 Things SEOs & SMBs Should Know About New Google Places Dashboard

google-cities-featured Recently, Google announced some significant changes to their Google Places dashboard. The wires have been humming ever since, and the reaction has ranged from fall-off-seat excitement to 'humph, is that it!?' [caption id="attachment_154764" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Dashboard images: Local Search Forum[/caption] Whatever the opinion, the truth is that these changes signify a big development in the way Google handles 'Local.' Google has been talking up the importance of local for an age, and the increased real estate given to local results in SERPs backs this up. They have also upd [...]


Google Adds Publisher Opt-Out Tool For Shopping, Flights, Hotels & Local Search

stop-signs-featured Don't want your content to be included in many of Google's vertical search services, such as Google Shopping or Google+ Local? Google's got a new tool for that, a result of its agreement earlier this year with the US Federal Trade Commission over anti-trust charges. Announced on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, the new tool is located within Google Webmaster Central and allows publishers to keep their content out of: Google Shopping Google+ Local Google Flights Google Hotels Google Advisor (financial product search) Oddly, several of these services only allow you to be inc [...]


Google Starts Shutting Down Its City Pages, Shifts To Google+ Local

google-city-pages Google is in the process of shutting down its collection of city pages -- a change that follows the shift from Google Places to Google+ Local, and a change that may be reflective of a larger shift in direction for Google's local efforts. Mike Blumenthal noticed yesterday that the Portland city page had gone missing. The page used to be accessible at www.google.com/portland/ (which redirected to www.google.com/city/portland/), but that URL now produces a 404 error. The same thing happens with some other city page URLs, like google.com/sandiego and google.com/madison. Those pages were laun [...]


WSJ: Google Prepares “Business Builder” For Small Business Marketers

The Wall Street Journal reported this weekend that Google is planning to combine a number of its products (internally developed and acquired) into a suite of tools and services aimed at small business marketers: Google plans to have its newest small-business service—which at one point it was calling Business Builder—up and running as early as July, said a person familiar with the matter. The project combines several products and services aimed at small businesses under a single banner. It is based on a mix of internally developed software and recently acquired technologies that the compa [...]


Google Places Launches New Bulk Listing Management Tool

google-places-logo-square Google Places has announced changes and new features to its bulk listing management tool that it hopes will make it easier for business owners with multiple locations (and local search marketers who manage multiple locations). The changes affect both the upload and management processes. Here are the primary bullet points from Google's blog post: Edit one or more of your listings' data at once Search through your listings, filtering by specific information or for listings with errors Upload new listings using a data file or by adding them individually within the interface Tell us how [...]


Google Places Ranking Factors – The PhD Version

Bizible, a start-up that makes local marketing software for SMBs, approached me recently* to preview the results of a Google Places Ranking Factors study they had conducted and I was intrigued enough by their findings to share some of them here. Bizible's team is made up of former Bing AdCenter guys and counts a PhD and a stats expert on their staff, so their study is a more scientific attempt to figure out what's going on with Google Places than your typical "here's what some SEOs think" kind of thing. For methodology, they studied 30 potential ranking factors by querying approximately [...]


The History Of Google Places, All On One Page

google-places-history-mihm Maybe it's my bias as a longtime fan/practitioner of local search and SEO. Or maybe it's because I'm mentioned as one of the sources/contributors. But more likely it's just that this is an important search reference document, and that's why I think that anyone interested or involved in local search should know about it. David Mihm has published A Brief History of Google Places -- an excellent historical document that covers back to 2004 when Google launched what was then called "Google Local," all the way through the "Google Maps" days and now up to the current Google Places era. Imp [...]


Is Google+ Beginning To Integrate Into Google Places?

google-places-logo-square Today Mike Blumenthal of Blumenthals.com posted about what appears to be a new addition to Google's local results.  A specific query for "transmission servicing lexington ky" displayed the normal Google Places listings, with one exception: The grey icon is displayed next to a specific places results.  However, when clicked, the user is taken to the following Google+ only results page: The surprising thing about the above listing is that the link goes directly to a personal account, not an actual Google+ page.  We had extreme difficulty replicating this on any other queries in d [...]


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