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

Profile picture of the author Leads4Builders by Leads4Builders Posted: 10/31/2010

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
#experiment #google #google changes #google maps #google places #google places marketing #google serp #journal #live #marketing #places #video

  • Profile picture of the author fushigi
    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
    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 Leads4Builders
    Leads4Builders
    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.
  • Profile picture of the author fushigi
    fushigi
    Thanks for clarifying, got it now. Should've watched the video first!
  • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
    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
    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 PaulintheSticks
    PaulintheSticks
    Thanks for sharing this Leads. Look forward to see what happens.
  • Profile picture of the author WandaW
    WandaW
    Thanks for doing this John. I think we should learn a lot from your experiment.
  • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
    SirThomas
    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
  • Profile picture of the author 4morereferrals
    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
    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 Leads4Builders
    Leads4Builders
    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.

    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
  • Profile picture of the author Boogaloo
    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
    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
    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 adriver38
    adriver38
    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
  • Profile picture of the author Bronwyn and Keith
    Bronwyn and Keith
    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
    Originally Posted by Leads4Builders View Post

    I'm actually talking to another warrior right now who will be doing a fully optimized Google Place
    Listing. Stay tuned...
  • Profile picture of the author stelogo
    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
    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 KeywordMarketer
    KeywordMarketer
    Originally Posted by Leads4Builders View Post

    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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