Here is part 3 of a post that turned into a series about the Google Places Algorithm – specifically the new Blended algorithm. (AKA Merged or O-Pack)

Part 1: Google Places Survey: How Much Does Organic SEO Control Google Places Blended Rankings?

Part 2: Tale of 2 Google Places Algorithms – Organic vs Places Ranking Factors Revealed

I promised to share a little bit about the ways I use the organic ranking comparison tools I’m about to share, to help me in my business and want to give some examples of times when these tools come in handy. But 1st wanted to give you an update about the aggregated tools page I said I should have ready today.

As promised, I finished the Google Places tools page which features some Google ‘pure’ organic search tools & lots more.

At the top of the tools page I feature my fav organic research tool which has some unique advantages. It strips out local results, numbers the ranking order AND highlights the keywords automagically. Another HUGE benefit is that I set this tool up using SSL, so all searches are PRIVATE. Your IP is not sent to Google and there is no search history or personalization to interfere with the PURE Google organic search results.

Additionally I set up a Google map search tool that sometimes pulls hidden ‘research’ treasures REGULAR G Maps does not find. (You all know how much I like hidden treasures!) And I even added a quick and easy free Google local rank checker tool. The tool page is finished, but I still need to test all the tools and just thought of a couple more I need to try to find and add. Sorry for the delay. It will be worth the wait! Should be announcing tomorrow if my phone ever stops ringing long enough to get some work done! 🙁


I primarily use these organic ranking tools the most when doing research for potential new clients that call me. But there are a variety of situations where this type of research can come in handy.

EXAMPLE – Potential new client calls asking: “WHY DON’T I RANK – I have lots of reviews and citations?” OR “WHY DID MY RANKING DROP?” If you ONLY have the current blended algo to look at, you can only GUESS. Sometimes the ‘blended’ ranking order makes sense but often does not. If you use one of the organic ranking tools I’ll share tomorrow, the picture will be much more clear. If you can find out exactly where the client ranks based on organic factors, it can give you a much clearer picture of what’s really going on in that client’s particular market.

KEYWORD RANKING PREDICTION – While I NEVER guarantee any rankings for clients and would never predict how high I can get each keyword to rank, I do try to figure this out for my own benefit and use it as a guide in many cases. Here are a couple scenarios:

EXAMPLE – Potential new client calls saying:“I’ve done SEO on my site, only want you to work on my Place page. Can you get me ranking on page 1 for keyword X, Y, Z?” Do some organic rank checking to see how high they come up organically. This will give you a much clearer picture of whether Places optimization will get it, or if you need to tell them, yes I can help BUT to get where you need to be, it will also take some more work on SEO.

Deciding WHICH keywords to optimize for in Google Places categories – I primarily do optimization for 1 market. I know all their main keywords already, however each business may have a slightly different focus or offer slightly different services. So I typically pick their top 3 categories for them, then give them a choice of 2 out of 5 other possibilities. MY personal goal is to get them ranked in the top 3 right after optimizing their Place page. (I don’t tell THEM that and don’t always hit it, but that’s MY personal goal.) So in order to hit my goal (which ultimately gives them the best exposure possible) I sometimes have to convince them the keyword they THINK they want is not a good keyword to start off with, but we can build toward that AFTER we beef up onsite SEO for that particular keyword. Being able to see for myself exactly how low they rank for that keyword organically AND being able to show them, can really help.

Reverse engineering the algo I often do this when I find odd results, but I also do it just for the fun of trying to figure it out. Additionally I often have consulting clients come to me due to the fact that their ranking dropped for no apparent reason – OR they tell me the algo in their market makes no sense. So having these pure organic ranking tools often really helps me figure out what’s going on. The power tool I’m going to share later, that does deep analysis of all the primary organic AND Places ranking factors with the push of a button, is a big plus when it comes to complicated cases too.

In case you missed it, I gave you one of the organic ranking research tools toward the bottom of this post that you can play with for now.

So that’s all for today folks. Please let me know your thoughts.

Off to finish the tools page after I get some client work done.