Local Search landscape updates
October 27th, 2010 is a significant day for local search. That day Google released their updated local results calling it Google Place Search. This was a hot topic of discussion in the PubCon session “How do you optimize for Universal & Personal Search.” Brian Combs and Greg Boser had plenty of thoughts and insights into the change. This is what is known for sure:
- Organic & Local results have now merged.
- Results are being heavily weighed by hyperlocal information
- Only one listing per site is being shown
- Reviews are much more prominent (I’ll come back to this in a minute)
- Results are limited by location: Listings in suburbs will have an even harder time ranking for a major nearby city.
- New results will affect businesses that do not have one physical location. (One way to try and combat this issue is to include links to destination pages on your site via the listing. However, this probably won’t help with that local ranking.)
That being said, nobody has answers on the sole best way to keep your ranking with all of the changes Google has implemented. Reviews are being displayed in a much more prominent way than before. Businesses need to keep an eye on two things: amount of reviews & quality of reviews. I’m sure that Google would want to display listings with fresh current reviews rather than outdated profiles that nobody is talking about. Businesses should encourage their customers to review their services/products online. Since reviews are now more accessible, reputation management is key. Keep an eye on your reviews and respond to all of those that need attention.
Again, overall, nobody has the secret key to unlocking all local search mysteries. However, if you had a strong on page strategy as well as a strong local strategy in place before this Google Place Search change, chances are that you haven’t lost your footing.
Andrew Beckman, President, Location 3 Media
Greg Boser, President, 3 Dog Media
Brian Combs, Principal, ionadas local
Contributed by: Zulema Romero, Milestone Internet Marketing