2012 Google Places Optimization Blog Archives

Why Did my Google Local Ranking Drop? The Answer

The Local search algo is like a giant complicated puzzle. You can add some pieces (new citations) but then other factors can happen at around the same time, like getting dinged on the organic side for links OR competitors adding MORE new puzzle pieces than you did. Then when you add in the time delay between action and reaction, it can make it really hard to know exactly what’s causing ranking drops OR increases for that matter. Read on for more insights and the answer…

Mindblowing Google Maps Data – Inside Look at Ground Truth

An exclusive look inside Ground Truth, the secretive program to build the world’s best accurate maps. Maybe, like me, you are so focused on G+ Local business data that you never stop to think with wonder about the Google base map and how amazingly complex it must be for Google’s to organize all the world’s information on a map. fter reading this article I have new respect for Google maps and am kind of in awe really.

Dynamite Google Review Funnel Strategy – Video

I’ve known about a REALLY smart strategy my friend Matthew Hunt uses for awhile and wanted to share, but wasn’t sure it was public knowledge. He just blogged it and did a video so wanted to be sure you all see this. It’s a really slick way of funneling or trying to screen out negative reviews so they aren’t as likely to hit Google. AND this system gets that negative feedback directly to you, tied to the customers name & email, so you can fix your customer service problem AND make it right with the customer. BUT if the customers feedback is POSITIVE, then you funnel them to the reviews sites of your choosing on a really nice review page, that includes a video about HOW TO POST A REVIEW on whichever review site they select.

Local Search Roundup – FTC Complaints re Google Reviews, Places Category Bug, Local SEO Game, Lots More

Between end of summer vacations and back to school craziness, I’m thinking some of you, may have missed important posts from the Local Search Forum. So here is a roundup of some of the latest hot topics and helpful updates. I’ve been posting all new content at the new Local Search Forum because it’s so much easier to have discussions, organize content and build community on a forum platform instead of a blog. BUT I apologize to my blog readers for not doing a better job of communicating things here as well. So following, in no particular order, are some important recent Google+ Local and Local SEO links you may have missed.

New Reputation Management Software includes Google Review Backups, Alerts – See Sceenshots and Video

With all these features I believe this is the most advanced and capable reputation management software on the market. PLUS it has 2 features I specifically recommended for Google Places/Google+ Local reviews that are sorely needed; Google review backups (especially now with all the review problems) and Google review alerts for ALL new reviews, not just negative ones, in case business owner wants to reply. Plus it does local rank tracking, citation finding and more.

Can You Risk NOT Hiding your Address on Google? For Service Area and Home Based Businesses

If you have a service area business and your office is in your home and/or you only go out to customers, YES it is absolutely mandatory that you hide your address! THOUSANDS of small business listings have been removed for violating this fairly recent guideline and some have been down for a couple months. BUT this post is targeted at a slightly different scenario. We get SMBs on the forum that say

Video – How to Merge your Google+ Business and G+ Local Pages – Detailed Instructions

Matthew Hunt from Small Business Online Coach created a GREAT step-by-step video detailing how to set up and merge your Google+ Business page with your Google Places AKA G+ Local page. Since many of us are visual learners, I think it’s really helpful to watch the process instead of just reading how to do it. So great job Matthew and thank you for sharing!

Valiant Effort to Help Solve Google+ Local Review Problems

Most of you are aware of a myriad of problems surrounding Google Places AKA Google+ Local reviews. The Google and your Business forum ALWAYS has multiple posts from frustrated business owners with complaints. But lately the forum has been literally flooded with SMBs who are either missing reviews or can’t get reviews to show up […]

BREAKING News! Google+ Business and Google Places Merge – Just Launched Phase 1

EXCITING NEWS! Google just announced the 1st iteration and beginning step for merging your Google+ Local (Google Places page) with your Google+ Business Page. Click to find out about the change and how to get your merge started.

Vote for Your Leading Local Search Influencer Today

I went through and found all the Local Search Pros that have been nominated – the ones I know anyway. (So sorry if I missed anyone.) These are all great guys that all do lots of good things for our industry. But my vote goes to Mike Blumenthal, because I don’t think anyone does more to help SMBs and the industry with Google+ Local problems than Mike does. He doesn’t have many votes so far, so go give him YOUR vote of confidence and appreciation for all he does!

New Google+ Local Photo Guidelines – No Logos and No Ugly Mugs

Yesterday, helping someone on the Google forum I stumbled across new Photo guidelines for Google Local+. Most made sense but a couple made me scratch my head and think “this is going to be a problem”. Then my friend Miriam Ellis blogged it this AM and it turns out she has some of the same concerns/questions I did. See the new guidelines, my thoughts, Miriam’s post and comments over at the new Local Search Forum.

NEW Local Search Forum Launches – Tons of Resources for Local SEO Consultants

The Local Search Forum was developed due to popular demand by Catalyst blog readers and all of my Advanced Google Places Training and LOCAL SEO Training clients. The public forum includes several sections and tons of great content already. There is a forum for all the most important Google Places updates/bugs/alerts and a Google Places help/troubleshooting forum for business owners as well as consultants to post questions and problems in. There is also a Private Local Search PROs Forum that’s only available to Advanced Places Training clients. Check us out! Join the community!

Discover How to Track Some of the Most Important Google Places Forum Posts – New Resources for You

TOP 7 PEOPLE TO FOLLOW ON THE GOOGLE & YOUR BUSINESS FORUM. Discover a great way to get the best and latest news and tips from the Google Places Forum. Also see special VIP bonus tip below that section and a special pre-launch announcement for my new Local Search Forum.

Invisible Businesses with Hidden Map Markers Due to Google Places Hide Your Address Rule

A new Google Places rule is causing lots of small business listings to be deleted. I call it the hide your ass (address) or lose your Place page rule. Aside from the obvious issues around the hide your address guideline, there is another problem you should be aware of that I have not seen anyone mention – Hidden map markers due to what I call a Google Maps StackUp. See screenshot and explanation below.

Google Places Forum Roundup – Hottest Recent Threads you May have Missed

Here is Jade’s latest forum wrapup video. Also below is Linda’s roundup of important threadslike updates on the Small Business Take Down AKA Do Not Support Location problem and LOTS more. Plus giving you a head’s up that my new “Local Search Forum” is finally almost ready to launch.

Google Places and Local SEO Podcasts and Videos – Listen While you Work (Or Workout)

Just listened to a good interview with David Mihm and thought I’d share. While I’m at it I’ll share a few other good podcasts and videos from other local pros. So listen while you work OR workout this weekend – to a recent selection of Google Places, Google+ Local and Local SEO Podcasts, interviews and videos.

Missing Google+ Local AKA Google Places Images? Check for Dual Ownership or Hidden Merged Suspended Listing

Important new troubleshooting step pros need to know about. See screen shots so you understand what the problem is. Important new troubleshooting step pros need to know about. See screen shots so you understand what the problem is. BUT THEN THE BIGGEST ISSUE OF ALL IS – if by chance there ARE multiple owned listings, or what I call a hidden merged dupe, then as Jade suggests above, that other invisible listing in another account you didn’t even know existed COULD be suspended and that could be causing a variety of problems on the listing you are trying to optimize.

Google Halts Google Places Troubleshooter Temporarily to Catch up on Backlog of Support Requests

This will be inconvenient to users that need help with new issues, but will help all the folks that have been stuck in the support Q for too long. My personal opinion is the backlog was created due to the horrendous way they handled the massive deletion of what I believe to be thousands of service area businesses due to the new hide your address rule. But on top of that there are of course several other tech issues that are creating support requests right now. Below is a list of current Google Places – Google+ Local bugs and problems to be aware of.

UBL Advises How to Circumvent the Google Places No PO Box Rule – Bad Move

UBL is a primary data provider and as such I don’t believe they should be giving “tips” about how to circumvent Google Places guidelines. They recently sent what I consider to be very questionable advice to agencies, resellers and partners and the link also went out via Twitter and the doc is public, so some business owners and spammers likely saw it as well. I would suggest to UBL that usually when industry leaders provide best practice advice it involves following Google’s quality guidelines, not sharing alternative ways to break the rules.

Give your Google Place Page a Good Poke – a Poke FAQ

This post will be remedial for some of the full-time Places pros that read this blog. But I’m amazed at how many companies I do ADVANCED Places training for that don’t know about this trick. In training I refer to a POKE as your new 2nd best friend in the Google Places game. 65% of my training clients don’t know what a Poke is, why you need to do it and how often and most of my training clients are pretty serious professionals, so that tells me lots of my other readers especially business owners, likely don’t know what a poke is either.