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Local SEO is getting even more serious

November 2nd, 2010 | | Local SEO

It’s the beginning of November and I’m a happy guy. Google Place Search is out and I couldn’t be more excited.  Back when I mentioned the hints of this approaching, it was in the back of my mind but found it creeping out as I talked with my clients “in the 4th quarter, Google’s going to change.”

I should qualify this blog post first by saying that I mostly work in Local SEO with small businesses. Google Place Search is poising one of my clients into one of the most beneficial spots at the most beneficial time in its 2 year campaign. They are approaching their busy season while ranking number 1 for most of their top keywords.
Yes, I’m excited about this new layout.

Before:
All SEO and competitive research left you ranking high organically, but being below the map and all that below PPC results.  Pay-per-click didn’t bother me, but the map did. My clients bring services TO their clients. Clients don’t come to their office. Because of that, it was a skewed view of what was a qualifying service provider regardless of the ability to reach a client in need quickly.

Illusion: “Well, Plumber D is all the way across town, I’m not choosing them, they’ll never get over here.”
Reality: “Because of GPS, dispatch and two-way radio, we’ll get one of our vans to you under 30 minutes.”

Of course, you can’t use SEO to account for that unless their are human SEO rankers who watch for such things. You really need to rely on your marketing to get that point across in your top-of-mind marketing if it is that much of a need to convey.

After:
Map is moved to the right, Pay-per-click is now below it leaving the map results at the top followed by organic. I can’t help but notice that the map algorithm might be reworked a little as well because some problem keywords weren’t placing me high on the map, but now I am. I’m not complaining, of course. I’m just pondering all that changed and wonders who else is keeping tabs.

There is one thing in all of this that keeps haunting me though – where does this place 3rd party directories?  I’ve written about my annoyance of 3rd Party companies, but there are some that Google is treating with favor above others – superpages, at least. Do a search for local services and see which 3rd party directories still show up.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out as the quarter finishes out, but in the mean time:
1. Fill out your Google Place Page
2. Put descriptive local terms in your website
3. Keep content relevant with videos, images and links.

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