In an earlier post I warned of putting all yor eggs in the Google maps basket. Not that I think optimizing for Google Places is a waste of time, I think it is a tremendous value, but to build your whole business model around selling Google Map placement can be a dangerous proposition at best.
As we saw last week, Google changed that whole model in an afternoon. Google Places just became a huge factor in Local SEO, perhabs the biggest.
Some suggest that Google just dealt the death blow to online yellow page directories. I wouldn’t go that far since you can still buy your way to the top of the directories.
I would suggest the biggest blow comes to the Map spammers and keyword stuffers. Now with the quality review algorithm, next time the spammers and stuffers change a listing it will be queued to be reviewed and goodbye listing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been playing the Google Map game for almost five years and have done every black hat, white hat and everything in between tactic to get quick and lasting placement.
I still believe the maps can be gamed for sure, I’m already seeing the patterns of what now carries heavier weight, but not sure it’s worth the trouble now that Google is actively “slapping” the gamers.
You can now play by big Gs rules and get your placement. So forget about keyword stuffing business names, etc.. It’s over. In fact, Local Internet Marketers are now in a position more than ever to help small businesses get their listings optimized, the right way. Just don’t make it your sole value proposition.
It is a great introduction to your services and one that should get y0ur foot in the door to show prospects exactly what you have to offer, but don’t let it be the cornerstone of your business, because you don’t want Google to control decide your future.
It may sound odd but some of my clients have little interest in being found on Google. It’s not on the top or even middle of the list of what they want from me. Yep, there is a lot more to “Local Internet Marketing” than SE placement.
As far as Google Places go, pay close attention over the next few weeks to see where the chips land as far as the map sitting over the adwords block on the right. You’ll see a lot of debate overt the importance of reviews, citations and keyword placement. But always have this thought in the back of your mind. “If it’s easy to game then it may not hold as much weight as it might appear”.
Let’s see where the chips fall. It will be a fun few weeks.