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Unread 30th October 2010, 10:26 PM   #1
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Default Google Places Marketing Experiment. First Results Are In! See What Happened to My Listing.


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 thatís what I get for offering a service dependent on the whims of a search engine

Iíve 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. Iím particularly interested in seeing how this Google change will affect those of us doing Google Places Marketing. Itís 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 theoryÖ. The only way to really know is to do some testing. Iím going to do a real live experiment and document my progress and findings right here on this thread. Iím 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.

Weíre 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 . Letís see how long itíll 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. Weíll 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 monthÖhavenít 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.


Iím 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


Last edited by Leads4Builders; 30th October 2010 at 11:22 PM. Reason: Put video at the top
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Unread 30th October 2010, 11:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

@leads4builders
how can your experiment be accurate if you're listing is not 100% complete and you do no citiations, or promotions?
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Unread 30th October 2010, 11:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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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

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Unread 31st October 2010, 12:06 AM   #4
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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Originally Posted by jsherloc View Post
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
Thanks Jim...that's exactly right. I believe that the Google Places Listing, regardless of how well it's optimized, will merge with the organic listing and piggy back off the organic listing's ranking. I could be wrong, but no one knows for sure, so I want to experiment to find out more.

How does the merging occur? How long does it take? What affects the ranking more...The organic ranking or how well the Google Places listing is optimized? I'm sure there are several other factors outside of what I'm doing for this experiment, but I'm hoping this example will help answer some of those questions, or at least help us understand more...I'm not claiming that this will solve the riddle.

I hope that makes sense.

This merging of Google Places and Organic placement kind of turned everything upside down. Off to bed now.

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Unread 31st October 2010, 01:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

Thanks for clarifying, got it now. Should've watched the video first!
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Unread 31st October 2010, 02:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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


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Unread 31st October 2010, 08:28 AM   #7
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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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.

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Unread 31st October 2010, 09:27 AM   #8
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

Thanks for sharing this Leads. Look forward to see what happens.
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Unread 31st October 2010, 09:30 AM   #9
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

Thanks for doing this John. I think we should learn a lot from your experiment.
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Unread 31st October 2010, 11:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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Originally Posted by Leads4Builders View Post
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.
John, I agree and appreciate your effort. I test different variants all the time and my major problems is... I test Google behavior :-)

Even Google guys don't know which elements will be important 3 months from now, so the best you can do is keep on testing. What you learn in your first experiment might have very little value in your next try.

The current version of Google search is not final. Nothing with Google search is final.

There was even a possibility that different algo is being used for different industries... for example in some industries "reviews" would have a great impact on listing's rank, but with others not so...

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...


Thomas
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Unread 31st October 2010, 11:08 AM   #11
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

Quote:
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 ...

Rank Ascend Network - High PR Links / Guaranteed Rankings Increase
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Unread 31st October 2010, 11:20 AM   #12
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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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
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Unread 31st October 2010, 12:15 PM   #13
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

Agreed! The testing can never stop. I just hope this experiment will give a small dose of what Google has in store and will let us at least see what is possible. Trust me, I know things change daily and there's no way we can know everything.

I plan on keeping this experiment open and make tweaks and changes to both the listing and website as long as there is interest. I'm donating this website and listing so we can make this thread our own Google Places laboratory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SirThomas View Post
John, I agree and appreciate your effort. I test different variants all the time and my major problems is... I test Google behavior :-)

Even Google guys don't know which elements will be important 3 months from now, so the best you can do is keep on testing. What you learn in your first experiment might have very little value in your next try.

The current version of Google search is not final. Nothing with Google search is final.

There was even a possibility that different algo is being used for different industries... for example in some industries "reviews" would have a great impact on listing's rank, but with others not so...

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...


Thomas

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Unread 1st November 2010, 06:47 AM   #14
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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
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Unread 1st November 2010, 06:55 AM   #15
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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

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Unread 1st November 2010, 07:30 AM   #16
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

I'm actually talking to another warrior right now who will be doing a fully optimized Google Place
Listing. Stay tuned...

Quote:
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

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Unread 1st November 2010, 12:15 PM   #17
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

Hey John, Thank you so much for doing this experiment! This is going to be such a help to all of us with Google Places clients who have been wondering about the same theories you will be testing. Im with you in thinking that organic SEO will likely be of much more importance now as well. This could be such a "game changer" as far as what we do to get Google Place Listings ranked, not to mention what we charge the clients. Im really excited to see what happens

Amanda
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Unread 1st November 2010, 09:41 PM   #18
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

Hey John

That would be cool as a lot of us are doing GP now and an independant case study would be awesome.

Regards

Bronwyn and Keith
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I'm actually talking to another warrior right now who will be doing a fully optimized Google Place
Listing. Stay tuned...

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Unread 2nd November 2010, 10:50 PM   #19
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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

Looking forward to your findings.

Steve Goltiao
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Unread 3rd November 2010, 09:36 AM   #20
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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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.

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Unread 3rd November 2010, 03:21 PM   #21
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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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.
Thanks for that tip John, but what do you do if Google removes the phone and SMS verification option and only offers the mail option?

I've had that happen on more than one occasion.

Thnx in anticipation.

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Unread 3rd November 2010, 05:47 PM   #22
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

As long as you use a virtual phone #, it shouldn't associate the # with the address. I've always gotten the option for phone verification doing it this way. If you ge the mail or sms verification only option, you'll have to pick another address. You shouldn't have a problem though.





Quote:
Originally Posted by KeywordMarketer View Post
Thanks for that tip John, but what do you do if Google removes the phone and SMS verification option and only offers the mail option?

I've had that happen on more than one occasion.

Thnx in anticipation.

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Unread 3rd November 2010, 09:01 PM   #23
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

Hey Everyone...Here's a powerful directory I use. It creates a klm file and it will get listed on the user content and related maps section of the Places listing. I was too lazy to type it out so here's a video with more info


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Unread 4th November 2010, 09:47 AM   #24
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

How long does it usually take Google to find these citations and maps and add them to your listing?

Quote:
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Hey Everyone...Here's a powerful directory I use. It creates a klm file and it will get listed on the user content and related maps section of the Places listing. I was too lazy to type it out so here's a video with more info

YouTube - Cmac.ws Directory Video
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Unread 4th November 2010, 11:18 AM   #25
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

If it's a brand new listing and you jus started doing citation and maps, it can take several months for you to see them on your Places page. However, I believe Google still sees them and gives you credit for them before they show up on your page

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How long does it usually take Google to find these citations and maps and add them to your listing?

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Unread 4th November 2010, 11:29 AM   #26
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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?
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Unread 4th November 2010, 11:53 AM   #27
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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.

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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?

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Unread 4th November 2010, 12:12 PM   #28
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

got ya, thank you

Quote:
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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.
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Unread 4th November 2010, 03:46 PM   #29
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

Friends, I can report a result: my first page organic listing has been combined with the places listing on Google.co.uk

I have seen the same happen with other competing websites that had a first page organic listing and didn't have their google places listing show up in the 7 box previously.

I Can Help You Go From Beginner To A Six Figure Earner. PM Me For A FREE Strategy Session - All I Want Is A Review In Return.

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Unread 4th November 2010, 09:34 PM   #30
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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Friends, I can report a result: my first page organic listing has been combined with the places listing on Google.co.uk

I have seen the same happen with other competing websites that had a first page organic listing and didn't have their google places listing show up in the 7 box previously.
Nice...that's what I'm thinking will happen with Smog site. I believe the GP listing will merge with the organic listing. I'm seeing it happen with several clients now.

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Unread 5th November 2010, 01:28 AM   #31
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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.

Steve Goltiao
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Unread 5th November 2010, 02:32 AM   #32
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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.

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Unread 5th November 2010, 03:26 AM   #33
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

Quote:
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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.
Mailbox plus addresses or any postal forwarding address work well. They are is almost every major city. Or you can just look up "virtual offices"... This is how we personally rank many of our CPA offers in GP.

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Unread 5th November 2010, 07:47 AM   #34
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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.

Quote:
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.

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Unread 5th November 2010, 07:59 AM   #35
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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.

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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.

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Unread 5th November 2010, 12:43 PM   #36
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

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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.
I understand that you'll need both a good places page in addition to SEO. Your experiment is testing whether a site with current top rankings will merge with its places page.

What I'm asking is if you already have a well optimized places page, what do you think would be the minimum organic ranking you would need to achieve top rankings in Places. Essentially it would be the opposite of what you are testing.

I've personally seen Places listings with virtually zero on/off page SEO ranking in position A-G. One of the sites is actually a parked domain.

I'm just trying to figure out if this is an anomoly or a loophole??

Steve Goltiao
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Unread 5th November 2010, 12:44 PM   #37
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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.
I agree 100%.

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Unread 5th November 2010, 01:08 PM   #38
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

It really depends on the competition of the keywords you're going after. Yes, you can still get your Google Places listings to rank very easily for suburbs or small cities without having to do seo on a website. But it you're going after a large metro area, you will have a harder time getting your places page ranked without doing seo, because most of the top listings will have a GP listing and a fairly well optimized website. I don't think there's a loophole, just more competition for certain keywords and metro areas. So why not play it safe and do both? It seems to be the way Google is headed. You can charge clients more for the additional work. That's what I'm doing

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I understand that you'll need both a good places page in addition to SEO. Your experiment is testing whether a site with current top rankings will merge with its places page.

What I'm asking is if you already have a well optimized places page, what do you think would be the minimum organic ranking you would need to achieve top rankings in Places. Essentially it would be the opposite of what you are testing.

I've personally seen Places listings with virtually zero on/off page SEO ranking in position A-G. One of the sites is actually a parked domain.

I'm just trying to figure out if this is an anomoly or a loophole??

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Unread 5th November 2010, 03:56 PM   #39
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

Hey John, will you be doing on and off site SEO with backlinks and everything for clients? Or just on page optimization with meta tags, alt text ect?
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Unread 5th November 2010, 05:53 PM   #40
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

Yes...for sure. That way you're covering all your bases and can expect the best results

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Hey John, will you be doing on and off site SEO with backlinks and everything for clients? Or just on page optimization with meta tags, alt text ect?

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Unread 10th November 2010, 08:52 PM   #41
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. Real Life Example and Video Journal of Results

Hey Everyone....I guess quick GP rankings aren't dead after all! Here's an actual client of mine that got ranked for several foreclosure keywords today. Nothing better that seeing your clients dominating Google:


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Unread 15th November 2010, 10:13 PM   #42
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. First Results Are In! See What Happened to My Listing.

Alright Everyone....the Google Places Listing got indexed. It took a little over 2 weeks for Google to display the listing. That's about par for the course. Before the big update, a brand new listing like this would've taken 2-3 weeks to show up.

A couple of really interesting things happened.. Watch the video and let me know your thoughts.


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Unread 15th November 2010, 10:47 PM   #43
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. First Results Are In! See What Happened to My Listing.

Hi John

Looks promising.

We would expect that it will slowly merge with the organics as you add the other pieces to the puzzle such as the citations and links that you spoke about.

Will be interesting to see how the experiment pans out.

Regards

Bronwyn and Keith
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Alright Everyone....the Google Places Listing got indexed. It took a little over 2 weeks for Google to display the listing. That's about par for the course. Before the big update, a brand new listing like this would've taken 2-3 weeks to show up.

A couple of really interesting things happened.. Watch the video and let me know your thoughts.

YouTube - Sacramento Smog Update 11_15

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Unread 17th January 2011, 08:21 PM   #44
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. First Results Are In! See What Happened to My Listing.

Leads,

What happened with this experiment?

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Unread 18th January 2011, 09:03 PM   #45
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Leads,

What happened with this experiment?
Hey,

Unfortunately the combination of the Holidays and having a baby got me off track. The listing still hasn't merged with the organic listing. I'm sure if I were to optimize the listing a little more and make some tweaks on the site it would probably merge.

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Unread 18th January 2011, 09:21 PM   #46
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Well...a baby will do that. Congratulations to you. Got three of kids of my own.

If you don't mind, since it seems you have experience with using places with affiliate stuff. Obviously, you use different emails for your accounts, but do you create these yourself from one IP. I always worry about multiple accounts and multiple gmail's from the same IP.

How do you go about it? Should I even worry about this?

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Unread 19th January 2011, 10:23 PM   #47
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. First Results Are In! See What Happened to My Listing.

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Well...a baby will do that. Congratulations to you. Got three of kids of my own.

If you don't mind, since it seems you have experience with using places with affiliate stuff. Obviously, you use different emails for your accounts, but do you create these yourself from one IP. I always worry about multiple accounts and multiple gmail's from the same IP.

How do you go about it? Should I even worry about this?
Yeah...we just had our 4th. It's pure craziness!

I have my guys create different google accounts using this vpn/proxy Hide My Ass! Pro VPN Tunnel - VPN servers world-wide . You can also go to fiverr or mturk and have them create accounts for you. I've done that before as well and it works great.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

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Unread 21st January 2011, 06:27 AM   #48
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. First Results Are In! See What Happened to My Listing.

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Yeah...we just had our 4th. It's pure craziness!
Congratulations! I wish you to enjoy your entire family!

Can you tell me please how could you verify your Google Places account using a virtual phone number and a physical address were you didn't have access? Thank you very much!
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Unread 22nd January 2011, 12:11 AM   #49
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Default Re: Google Places Marketing Experiment. First Results Are In! See What Happened to My Listing.

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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