Google Places Marketing Experiment. First Results Are In! See What Happened to My Listing.

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Hello Fellow Offliners,

Like many of you I was taken for a loop with this latest Google Update. I had a mini freak out because I have hundreds of Google Places listings and was nervous about how this new update would affect my clients. I guess that’s what I get for offering a service dependent on the whims of a search engine

I’ve been all over the WF, blogs, trying to find out as much as I can about how this massive Google change and what the future holds for us Offliners. I’m particularly interested in seeing how this Google change will affect those of us doing Google Places Marketing. It’s been a huge money maker for me and I loved the fact that there was no traditional SEO needed in order to dominate Google Places.

I know that everyone has their own theory, but I personally think that Google Places Marketing has changed forever. I believe traditional SEO is much more of a player now and that the days of getting quick and easy Google Places rankings are gone (for the most part).

But enough theory…. The only way to really know is to do some testing. I’m going to do a real live experiment and document my progress and findings right here on this thread. I’m going to use an actual website that is currently ranking on the first page of Google. I created a Google Places listing for it today.

We’re going to find out the following:
-How long it will take for the Google Places Listing to show up on the new SERP. It used to take a new listing 2-3 weeks . Let’s see how long it’ll take now.

-If the new Google Places listing will merge with the Organic Listing.

-How the organic ranking will be affected by the Google Places Listing.

-I purposefully created a stripped down Google Places Listing. The only optimization I did was add a keyword rich company name and a picture. No videos. I want to see if once the listing is merged, if it will continue to rank well. We’ll be able to truly see how important an optimized Google Places listing is in this new environment.


Website details:
-subdomain website Sacramento Smog, Sacramento Smog Check, Sacramento Smog Test, Smog Test in Sacramento, Sacramento Smog Test Only, Smog Check in Sacramento, Sacramento CA Smog, Sacramento CA Smog Check, Sacramento CA Smog Test, Smog Test, Smog Check

-Currently ranking 3rd on Google for sacramento smog

-Site is a little over a year old

-Only did a little bit of backlinking the first month…haven’t touched it since.

Google Places Details
Google Places link: Sacramento Smog Check - Google Maps

-I used a popular Sacramento physical address and a virtual phone #

-I will not promote this listing. No citations, maps, backlinks, no reviews, or photo sharing sites.

-The listing is not 100% complete.


I’m excited to see the results. I hope you will follow along and ask questions as we go. If you have any suggestions about this experiment, please post them here.

John Sanders
#offline marketing #experiment #google #google changes #google maps #google places #google places marketing #google serp #journal #live #marketing #places #video
  • Profile picture of the author fushigi
    @leads4builders
    how can your experiment be accurate if you're listing is not 100% complete and you do no citiations, or promotions?
    • Profile picture of the author jsherloc
      Originally Posted by fushigi View Post

      @leads4builders
      how can your experiment be accurate if you're listing is not 100% complete and you do no citiations, or promotions?
      He explained in the video that he is doing this test to see if it will merge with the organic listing, and due the organic listing's SEO, age, etc...he is assuming it will make the Places page rank high as well.

      Good stuff, love seeing this type of experimenting on the WF.

      - Jim
  • Profile picture of the author fushigi
    Thanks for clarifying, got it now. Should've watched the video first!
  • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
    Let's hope nobody comes up with an idea to backlink the hell out of those listings when you're not watching!


    Thomas
    • Profile picture of the author Leads4Builders
      Originally Posted by SirThomas View Post

      Let's hope nobody comes up with an idea to backlink the hell out of those listings when you're not watching!


      Thomas
      I thought about that possibility, but I have faith that there are more people on this forum who want to learn than there are people who would waste their time and energy creating tons of backlnks in order to sabotage this kind of experiment.

      I just get tired of people talking and speculating about what they think is going to happen with this new Google update. I wanted to be as open as possible and share the results with everyone. I will be sharing these results as they happen, so I hope we can all discuss the results together and actually learn something by following a real live example.
  • Profile picture of the author 4morereferrals
    I just suggest to build links and keep creating references for your listings. and never forget Google's own tools and properties. They don't spent billions of dollars, because they're bored...
    SirT...

    do you mean references as "citations"? or ...? what is meant by the term references in the quoted paragrpah?

    thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts ...
    • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
      Originally Posted by 4morereferrals View Post

      SirT...

      do you mean references as "citations"? or ...? what is meant by the term references in the quoted paragrpah?

      thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts ...
      Yes, it's basically the same, with one difference. "Citations" usually meant the entire business info including name, address and phone. Reference means "full info" or ANY element of it.

      In other words, you don't always need full company info for Google to notice it. Those "incomplete" citations might not appear in your "more about this place" section, but they may add some invisible power to your listings :-)


      Hope it helps,

      Thomas
  • Profile picture of the author Boogaloo
    Hey John,

    I too will be following this thread closely, an interesting experiment. From the little research Ive done over the last few days it certainly appears to me that the on site optimisation is now a bigger factor for the new results.

    But I still feel a well optimised G places page will help give you a higher pin placing than without.

    Maybe that would be the next step in the test?

    Thanks for the insights

    Jules
    • Profile picture of the author Bronwyn and Keith
      Hey John

      Looking forward to seeing how the "penny" drops with the GP listings and the organic changes that Google have rolled out.

      Thanks for taking the time to share the thoughts and ideas.

      Regards

      Bronwyn and Keith
    • Profile picture of the author Leads4Builders
      I'm actually talking to another warrior right now who will be doing a fully optimized Google Place
      Listing. Stay tuned...

      Originally Posted by Boogaloo View Post

      Hey John,

      I too will be following this thread closely, an interesting experiment. From the little research Ive done over the last few days it certainly appears to me that the on site optimisation is now a bigger factor for the new results.

      But I still feel a well optimised G places page will help give you a higher pin placing than without.

      Maybe that would be the next step in the test?

      Thanks for the insights

      Jules
  • Profile picture of the author stelogo
    Originally Posted by Leads4Builders View Post


    -I used a popular Sacramento physical address and a virtual phone #
    John, what do you mean by "popular"?

    Looking forward to your findings.
    • Profile picture of the author Leads4Builders
      Originally Posted by stelogo View Post

      John, what do you mean by "popular"?

      Looking forward to your findings.
      Great question. I used the address of a popular hotel in sacramento. Picking an office building or hotel address in the city I want to rank for has worked great for me.
  • Profile picture of the author John W.G.
    You say you used a popular Sacramento physical address.

    So you're saying that you used a different address than the true physical address of the business?
    • Profile picture of the author Leads4Builders
      There is no business. I have a website ranking for sacramento smog. I had to pick an address in Sacramento (a hotel) and get a virtual phone # in order to create the Google Places page.

      Originally Posted by John W.G. View Post

      You say you used a popular Sacramento physical address.

      So you're saying that you used a different address than the true physical address of the business?
  • Profile picture of the author stelogo
    John, have you seen any evidence of businesses in the new Places listings that were previously ranked poorly in the organic results?

    Just curious as I want to offer Places service but was wondering if I would have to get the client to the equivalent of first page organic rankings in order to place in Places.
    • Profile picture of the author Leads4Builders
      That's the question we're hoping this experiment will help answer. Having said that, observing what's happening with my clients, it really depends how competitive the keywords are. Some less competitive keywords are still easy to rank for and Google still displays the 7 box. I personally think that in order to rank for competitive keywords, you'll have to have good seo and google places optimization. So overall, I think in order to get the best results you should do both.

      Originally Posted by stelogo View Post

      John, have you seen any evidence of businesses in the new Places listings that were previously ranked poorly in the organic results?

      Just curious as I want to offer Places service but was wondering if I would have to get the client to the equivalent of first page organic rankings in order to place in Places.
  • Profile picture of the author zenmack
    What I find amazing is that your site is #3 and it's not even finished or complete. How? I keep battling to rank my site:

    Sacramento Personal Trainer

    I made it to page 3 and the new google thing dropped me off and down a page.

    I see your using all Anchor test links within the pages. They seem to be keyword optimized also.

    Are you using a ton of backlinks?

    Also I will be following your video.
    • Profile picture of the author Leads4Builders
      You know what's crazy is that I created this site over a year ago and only did some backlinking the first month. I haven't touched it since. I think having a keyword rich domain and decent on page seo carries a lot more weight than some people think. I have several other sites with great organic rankings that I haven't promoted in years.

      Originally Posted by zenmack View Post

      What I find amazing is that your site is #3 and it's not even finished or complete. How? I keep battling to rank my site:

      Sacramento Personal Trainer

      I made it to page 3 and the new google thing dropped me off and down a page.

      I see your using all Anchor test links within the pages. They seem to be keyword optimized also.

      Are you using a ton of backlinks?

      Also I will be following your video.
  • Profile picture of the author humbledmarket
    Congrats on your Baby, family should always come before business. I am very interested in this though; I might try it myself if I enter the offline market

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