Google Places/Maps: Breaking SEO News….
Well, I suppose it had to happen…that Google would decide to “clean-up” it’s Places/Maps pages and so far, this new change is somewhat disturbing to those of us in the SEO channel. We’re the ones who work hard at the fulfillment of all of the various factors that are needed to move a client’s site up and up in the rankings for Google Places/Maps so that if someone looks for say “lawyers in Hamilton” — the client site comes up nice and high in the left hand sidebar with a link to the full client page.
This is a part of what any SEO practitioner does and it takes some “doing” to know exactly all the ins and outs to both get that ranking and to keep it too!
The changes that they’ve made are somewhat transparent, at least if you read the notice here on the offical Google LatLong site —
“Based on careful thought about the future direction of Place pages, and feedback we’ve heard over the past few months, review snippets from other web sources have now been removed from Place pages. Rating and review counts reflect only those that’ve been written by fellow Google users, and as part of our continued commitment to helping you find what you want on the web, we’re continuing to provide links to other review sites so you can get a comprehensive view of locations across the globe…”
Okay…so, did you catch that? Before, rankings were based on review snippets from other web sources, like Yelp or TripAdvisor or any of the many online review sites. No more!
And did you note that from now on, only ratings and review counts would be used that are written by Google users….and that means that what used to be shown, the citations from other web pages that referenced the business, will no longer count!
And this changes how Local SEO works. Big time! Yipe!
From what I see now, after spending the last few hours going over our SEO client roster, the new changes have affected only one client – in the Insurance channel. That said, I’m not sure that these changes are as yet “complete” i.e. is Google done with the changes to their Places/Maps index algo or only part-way done or are there still server farm updates in the offing….
And Google states further that, yup….there’s more coming. Personalization is in the offing as are more ways to help Google “rate, discover and share” your experiences…sigh…just when I thought I might have a weekend off, eh! Oh well…back to our Canadian SEO practice…and while I do that, you might want to check out some of the expert Local SEO practitioners here who have also blogged about same —Google