Saturday, January 7, 2012

Google Places Secrets - Mistakes People Make - Ignoring Citations

Most of the serious pundits of the craft of Google Places Optimization have insisted that Google uses over 100 "cues" to determine your placement.  I agree with this.  Each year there is a survey prepared by David Nihm that checks with a number of these pundits to see what they think is happening at Goog in terms of algorithm changes regarding Places that might effect rankings.  The combined scores of these pundits is then published to provide some idea of where to concentrate your SEM firepower.

We have seen that city centroid, NAP placement and consistency, number of reviews, keywords in description, keywords in title, and so much more were part of the equation.  But we also knew that Google was checking out our story all over the web.  Were we who we said we are?  Did anyone agree that we were "all that?"  How many folks were visiting our website or providing back links? 

Last year, there started to be a few pundit suggesting that the "back links" of Places, namely citations, were moving up in importance.  Then, like magic, Google Places stopped listing the citations the were using to "judge" a listing.  This move made it harder for SEO consultants to check out what the competition was being cited on (harder, not impossible). 

Google then stated some things that mattered.  BBB and local Chambers were specifically noted as good citations.  I can tell you that the very best citations are dealer locators from major suppliers.  (Also these are the best possible back links.)

So if backlinks matter to Goog, then surely citations do and will matter to Places.  And sometimes it is possible to get a citation and backlink in one (dealer locators.)  Being listed on every possible directory, YP, local search engine, micro local search engine, industry specific search engine, and review cite is a great place to start. 

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