Canadian SEO & Google HotPot: Lessons Learned, eh!
Okay, by now you may have already learned that Google has just three days ago, added the Google HotPot social input to their web results “big leagues!!!”
News? Yes? Does that help searchers? You be the judge! For me the jury is stilll out, eh! And here’s my backstory on my testing so far….
I know that many of you do not even know what Google HotPot is — and the basic definition from Google on launch day back in November is as follows…
“a local recommendation engine powered by you and your friends. With Hotpot, we’re making local search results for places on Google more personal, relevant and trustworthy…”
Okay, so like many others in SEO practices around the globe, I went and looked at same, studied the bits of info that were offered by searching online for more info from HotPot users…and by the first week of December, I decided to give it a try. I know what you’re thinking, tho….did I try to “game” the HotPot system and stuff in millions of reviews about my own SEO clients? Nope, I did not, at least not at the start as I didn’t want to offer up any type of variance with this testing. What I did do, was to consider anyone whose service or products that I had used in the past few months, investigate to see if they had a site, and then go and create a HotPot ID and enter a review…the same process I’m sure that millions of consumers have done in this online world. (Disclaimer, I know this company as they’ve done work for me before but I do NOT have any SEO program in place for them whatsoever!)
In October, by way of a short backstory, I left my keys in my car and went in to pickup drycleaning, and yup, I accidentially locked myself out. To call my wife and see if she could pop outta work and come and open it up would have been the answer, but she was out of town on a business trip…so I was stuck. Then I remembered The Lock Hut, a firm that I had worked with in the past as their web host, so I iPhoned them and asked and a fellow came in 25 minutes and used a skinny tool to pop open the door of my sedan. And I was on the road in 5 minutes. I was happy with that whole service and in a small suburb was impressed with their speed, their capabilities and their overall “niceness” too! So I had a candidate!
So, I went to Google HotPot, created an ID and then slowly found out how to add a review once I’d “lined up” the proper locksmith firm….and then saved my review and the date was Friday December 3rd, 2010. And then I waited…here’s a screen shot of my HotPot account to see same….
Every Friday since then, I’d go back to Google Maps (Places) and then query for “Waterdown locksmiths” or some such keyword combination and see what I got…and while that firm was not on the list for the last 7 weeks, they did show up last week with NO reviews…and then today, Friday February 4th, 2011 — a full 8 weeks after I issued that review with my review showing prominently. Here’s a screen shot of the same locksmith as of today…
As you can see, there is another review there too, that offers up more info on their quick service, an item I’d agree with too! So HotPot does work, which is a good thing. In fact, as you may have noticed that I’ve now got more than 30 reviews up and posted and I check weekly to see if they’re “up!” Ah…and there’s the real thing to consider, as many others have noticed, HotPot is not running “true” to form and able to process reviews on a regular normal basis!
Nevermind that Google reviews go missing. Nevermind that it appears that they go missing for months. Nevermind that a similar review I made in Yelp comes up nicely in Google’s web results. Nevermind that HotPot appears to be somewhat spotty in that we’ve now tested for various types of reviews in various channels and only SOME appear….others are missing in action still…nevermind any of that for now…
Because it now appears that HotPot is not accepting reviews – all properly entered and then updated by validated HotPot ID holders….for some of us. And yes, this has been reported by many many SEO practitioners over the past months. Mike Blumenthal over at “Understanding Google Maps & Local” has a recent post on just that topic here…well worth the click to see what has been noted by many SEO types, eh!
Further, Miriam Ellis of Solas Web Design, noted same and posted here on the Search Engine Guide more on same….and as others noted, this “breakdown” in the normal usage of HotPot is what’s most annoying…especially for us SEO types who try so dang hard to first understand the web app and then make use of same for ourselves and our SEO clients….
Do you have any experience using Google HotPot and if so, do you have any issues….we’d all love to know more, so please post them here or anywhere on an SEO blog that we can learn from….as Mike says and says often, Google’s comments on their lack of reviews have been MIA (missing in action) now for 84+ days….more than long enough to come up with an answer is what we think too, eh!